Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



We in America have never made peace with the concept of pluralism. As a nation, we are fundamentally committed to the ideal of "equal opportunity"; yet, despite our presumably concomitant dedication to the principle that society should accommodate diverse values and goals,we have not conceptualized any means of determining whether equality of opportunity exists except by measuring people on the same scale. We have an appropriate rhetoric for describing equal opportunity--self-actualization, through which each person develops to the fullest extent in those directions that he or she wishes--but we have no institutionalized standards for determining whether realization of potential has been accomplished more or less evenly across diverse groups. A basic consideration underlying any approach to this problem is whether two peoples, living under the same government, valuing different objects, and enjoying different ventures, can find any bases for comparing their opportunities to express and pursue those distinctive matters most desirable to them? Indeed, can it ever be said that equal opportunity exists between peoples not pursuing the same goals? The purpose of this Article is to offer comment on the nature of equal educational opportunity and the problem of realizing it in the contemporary United States.

Included in

Education Law Commons