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JLeslie's avatar

What do you think about the wording every child is entitled to an adequate education?

Asked by JLeslie (54508points) February 11th, 2014

I was speaking to a Conneticut (USA) teacher last week and she said in her state, or maybe it was her school district, every student is entitled to an adequate education. That’s how the law is worded, it is not worded that every student is entitled to an equal education.

What do you think about that?

I’m interested in both your opinions and any factual information that aids in understanding why this specific wording was used. I am also curious if this is the wording most school districts use.

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19 Answers

PhiNotPi's avatar

I actually perfer the “adequate” wording over “equal.” This is because “equal” does not say anything about the quality of the education. I feel that inadequate generally implies unequal, but equal does not imply adequate.

filmfann's avatar

Adequate to what? These days, you need a college degree. Are they guaranteeing that?

livelaughlove21's avatar

What does an “equal” education mean? All kids shouldn’t have the same type of education, because all children are different. “Equal” sounds as if we should throw the kids to the wolves, whether they can keep up or not. What’s adequate for one child may not be adequate for another. So, I agree with @PhiNotPi; I prefer “adequate” over “equal.” However, I’m not in love with that word either. It seems nearly as vague as “equal.” But I can’t really think of anything better.

JLeslie's avatar

Equal to me is a word from the days of separate but equal. Basically, trying to guarantee all children have a right to the same education regardless of race, and today would be expanded to other things like gender, religion, etc. Of course today separate but equal is outlawed, but trying to acheive equality is still a goal. I wonder if southern state use the word equal? Or, if there is some federal law with some sort of wording about adequate?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@JLeslie You’d think I’d know what South Carolina’s law says on the subject, considering I work for education attorneys, but I don’t. I’m trying to find it now.

EDIT: No luck. Maybe I’ll ask the attorney I support later this week.

Cruiser's avatar

AFAICT, this wording came about from a case of a deaf child who needed special assistance to be successful within the requirements of her schools curriculum. This prompted many state level mandates that defined adequate education and laws were enacted that required state school systems to define, price and fund educational programs that ensured all students receive “adequate” education again from where most of this is addressed online seems to pertain to handicapped and special needs children with disabilities.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cruiser Interesting. During the conversation we were talking about poor areas and areas that are mostly populated by minorities. I had not thought about the handicap angle.

ragingloli's avatar

Adequate means to me mediocre. Just good enough to not be useless. It does not even reach the level of “good”.

JLeslie's avatar

@ragingloli When I first heard it I felt it was synonomous with minimal. Entitled to a minimal education.

zenvelo's avatar

An issue that arises from “equal” education is that no district or school can excel. My town has repeatedly approved parcel taxes for the school district, which has kept our schools rated highly and helped offer diverse programs for kids. The district adjoining ours has not approved a parcel tax for schools in the last fifteen years. Their schools are terrible.

And the people in my town recognize it is a great investment both in our children and also in property values. Two similar houses a block apart but in different districts may be $100,000 or more apart in value.

A state saying each child is entitled to an adequate education is actually a good statement because the state is requiring the districts to perform. That is not always the case.

Cruiser's avatar

@JLeslie Look up articles on FAPE

stanleybmanly's avatar

“Adequate” is one of those weasel words responsible for the oily image of the law as a profession. The word is deliberately vague to duck accountability, particularly on the part of plaintiffs against the district.

josie's avatar

It implies that education is a gift, instead of a personal accomplishment . It is like saying every child is entitled to get a medal in the Olympics

talljasperman's avatar

@josie Maybe they can have participation medals in the Olympics?

talljasperman's avatar

@josie I asked it on social.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I believe the wording of the law is inadequate in that it lacks specificity.

PhiNotPi's avatar

Are you sure this was an actual law, or just a “mission statement”? Mission statements aren’t really meant to be interpreted this rigorously.

Paradox25's avatar

It sounds like she simply means that every child is entitled to a decent education, and this sounds sensible to me. She’s not saying that children are entitled to good grades, but the chance to accomplish this. I can’t understand how any rational or decent person could oppose the premise of that simple statement.

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