The Past, Present and Future of Equal Educational Opportunity: A Call for a New Theory of Education Federalism
Equal educational opportunity remains elusive within the United States. The nation’s education landscape reveals that too often students’ backgrounds and where they live determine the quality of educational opportunities that they receive. Although most within the United States profess a strong commitment to equal opportunity and to providing everyone access to an excellent education, substantial and influential disparities in school quality are commonplace. Our nation is home to many substandard schools attended disproportionately by poor and minority schoolchildren and these schools offer students inferior educational, career, and postsecondary opportunities when compared to the opportunities provided to students in many affluent and majority white schools. Many schoolchildren receive educational opportunities that do not prepare them to succeed in postsecondary education or work. Many students are more likely to attend school than with those from different racial or ethnic backgrounds and thus leave school without the tools that they will need to engage effectively in the diverse world in which they will live.