School Choice and the Empowerment Imperative
Janelle Scott. Peabody Journal of Education (2013). 88:1, 60-73
Drawing from historical, sociological, and policy literatures, as well as legislative activity, this article traces the intellectual and political evolution of educational equity, beginning with progressive models of redistribution and remedy to more recent neoliberal forms, which privilege parental empowerment through the expansion of school choice. At the legislative and regulatory levels, policymakers have redefined equity in schooling to mean providing parents with sufficient school choices to “buy” education for their children. This framework recasts the role of the state as a broadening agent for educational markets. Although parental empowerment is seemingly a central goal of the legislation, the laws also facilitate the entry of private sector actors into the educational marketplace. The resulting choice options depart from redistributive forms of equity, advantage some parents over others, and also empower for-profit and nonprofit intermediaries and private providers seeking to gain a share of the educational marketplace.
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