Redefining Equality Through Incentive-Based Policies

  • Christopher LubienskiEmail author
Part of the Education Policy & Social Inequality book series (EPSI, volume 1)


This analysis considers shifting conceptions of equality in education, highlighting the movement from equality of treatment, access, and educational and social opportunity to a focus on the equal right to choose a quality school. The paper explores recent reform policies that harness organizational and individual incentives to improve education outcomes, especially for disadvantaged children. Drawing on the advocacy efforts of a prominent philanthropy active in education reform in the United States, I note that the current focus is on an equal right to choose a quality school, rather than an equal right to a quality school. But advocates for such reforms embrace a rhetoric of equality from the American civil rights movement, even though their policies, and perhaps motivations as well, are not closely linked to equitable educational opportunities. Indeed, the efforts to advocate for an equal right to choose a school represent a subtly yet significantly altered conception of equality in education. The concluding discussion considers implications of this shift for research and policy.


Quality Education Education Reform Charter School Quality School School Choice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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