Putting Educational Equality in its Place

Brighouse, H. & Swift, A (2008)

Education, in its broadest sense, mediates between the wider society and our individual prospects. How well a child will do, even what sort of person she will become, in any given society, will be significantly shaped by the kind of education she receives. That education is, in its turn, profoundly influenced by the character of the social order. Whether or not the government makes schooling compulsory and free at the point of delivery makes a difference to everyone’s prospects. If it uses schooling to indoctrinate children in a favoured religious view, they will live very different lives from those they would live if it used schooling to promote personal autonomy, or to promote an ethic of hedonistic enjoyment. So the issues of how to distribute education and what kind of education to distribute are pressing to the theorist of justice. We shall put aside the issue of what kind of education to distribute, and concentrate on the distributive rule