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How should we respond to the continuing failure of compensatory education?

By Sally A. R. Power


All education systems, to a greater or lesser extent, are marked by educational inequalities. Nearly all education systems, again to a greater or lesser extent, have \ud put in place a variety of ‘compensatory’ strategies to help reduce these educational inequalities. These strategies have gone through different phases and enjoyed different degrees of support, but have generally been as much a part of the education system as the inequalities they are designed to address. This paper explores the continuing reinvention and failure of compensatory education strategies. It looks, in particular, at the emergence and limits of recent moves to implement a ‘politics of recognition’ for schools in disadvantaged areas. It argues that children in disadvantaged schools need a ‘politics of redistribution’, but that the \ud mechanisms of distribution and the nature of what it is that is to be redistributed are problematic. Drawing on theory and empirical research, the paper concludes by arguing that, until we have a clearer idea of what it is that we are compensating, compensatory education policies will be doomed to fail

Topics: H1, HM
Publisher: Charles University, Prague
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:
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