Human diversity, pedagogy, and educational equity

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Abstract

The nation defines “equal educational opportunity” as insuring for all the same access to educational resources provided through public funds. It is contended that this definition does not adequately reflect the implicit commitment to equity appropriate to a democratic, pluralistic, and humane society. In the interest of distributive equality, group indicators such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language, sex, and geographic variables have been relied on in distributing educational resources. However, these may be irrelevant as functional indicators of need for purposes of planning learning experiences. Concern with the pedagogical relevance of human diversity focuses on differences in human characteristics that may guide educational and developmental intervention. Concern for social justice goes beyond distributive equality to concern for distributive sufficiency. Giving attention to concepts of human diversity and social justice might be more appropriate in honoring the commitment to equality of educational opportunity. It is possible for current knowledge to inform policy and practice through its wise and compassionate transformation if the teaching and learning transaction is viewed as a continuous process of inquiry. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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