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Goals of Education - Essay Example

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This paper specifically analyses the first change whereby student attending private universities will now be granted smaller scholarships than they were given before. The analysis is carried out in the perspective of Labaree’s goals for education and the losses or profits which will be accrued as a result of means-targeted scholarship that the Cal Grant program has adopted.
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Goals of Education INTRODUCTION The Cal Grant program has changed its grant allocation policies. This change particularly affects students who are enrolled in private universities, and in universities with low graduation rates and poor repayment records. This paper specifically analyses the first change whereby student attending private universities will now be granted smaller scholarships than they were given before. The analysis is carried out in the perspective of Labaree’s goals for education and the losses or profits which will be accrued as a result of means-targeted scholarship that the Cal Grant program has adopted. ANALYSIS Labaree (1997) argues that higher education has three goals namely “democratic equality, social efficiency, and social mobility” (p. 41). The Cal Grant program’s funding policy change will affect these goals in interesting ways. Democratic Equality Education makes it possible to have an informed citizenry who can then make informed decisions on matters affecting the nation – this is the core of democracy. Informed citizenry is very significant because a society is often run on a collective judgment basis thus ensuring that a significant portion of the citizens is competent is the way to democracy (Labaree, 1997, p. 42). In order for this to be realized, there has to be “citizenship training, equal treatment, and equal access as pertain to education” (Labaree, 1997, p. 44). Using this insight, the Cal Grant program’s change in policy to a means-target scholarship in favor of public university students will obviously have a negative effect on the efforts of building an informed citizenry. This is because a portion of the citizens who will wish to attend private universities might not be able to do so and if they are ineligible for public universities their dream for higher education might have to wait longer. In this manner, according to the democratic equality goal, the societal competence is lowered and depending on the statistics involved, this will affect the kind of decisions that a society will make. The policy change by the Cal Grant program will therefore lead to reduced levels of citizenship training, propagates unequal treatment, and unequal access to education. On the other hand, sponsoring undocumented students can arguably be said to be a move towards achieving the democratic equality goal because there are higher chances that these students will eventually be incorporated into the US citizenship. Social Efficiency Schooling should enable students to be useful economically to the society by ensuring that they “fill structurally necessary market roles” (Labaree, 1997, p. 42). Labaree (1997) suggests that voluntary sponsoring should not be allowed to solely fund this goal. This is because some individuals may take advantage of this and engage in a form of education that will maximally benefit them. This will not create socially efficiency as the market will experience some kind of imbalance in availability of skills whereby some skills will be in excess while others will be in shortage. This seems to be a call for partial sponsorship. In the context of the Cal Grant program, the new means-target sponsoring may be said to be in line with Laboree’s (1997) view. This is because, if students enrolling in private universities are heavily sponsored, they will only tend to engage in forms of education that would bring them maximum benefits. This will not be ‘filling structurally necessary market roles’ as Labaree (1997) puts it. Reducing the funding to private universities will therefore channel students to other areas or just limit them to lower levels of education thus enabling them to effectively fill the market gaps that need their levels of education hence creating social efficiency. On the other hand, funding of undocumented students does help in creating social efficiency. This is because the undocumented students form or will later form part of society’s workforce, and therefore funding them to gain skills will help them to make a positive economic contribution to the society by fitting into some market roles in the society. Social Mobility Education is viewed as a private good in the eyes of the students. To the students, education is a means of being competitive in the market and therefore a way of achieving desirable social positions in the society (Labaree, 1997). Private universities give a chance to students to achieve this competitive advantage. Some courses in public universities are overly competitive and private universities come in to fill this gap. It is therefore clear that reducing the level of funding to private university students will in essence be undermining social mobility goal of education. In this essence, freedom of choice for students will be lost and the social mobility goal of education will be defeated. Funding undocumented students will definitely help them in gaining social mobility. CONCLUSION As the author has pointed out severally in the article, the three goals of education are contradictory. While each has a set of positive effects, the benefit accrued from each of the goal is purely dependent on the line of perspective. The Cal Grant program’s change in policy is therefore beneficial and harmful depending on which goal of education is examined. Reference Labaree, D.F. (1997). Public Goods, Private Goods: The American Struggle over Educational Goals. American Educational Research Journal, 34(1), 39-81. Read More
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