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No More Failures

Ten Steps to Equity in Education

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No More Failures challenges the assumption that there will always be failures and dropouts, those who can’t or won’t make it in school. In fact, initiatives in many countries demonstrate that it is possible to successfully tackle school failure and dropout rates – and to reduce the huge social cost of adults without basic skills. This book offers a valuable comparative perspective on how different countries have handled equity in education. Among the issues it explores are tracking, streaming and academic selection;  school choice; secondary education structures and second chance programmes; grade repetition; links between school and home; early childhood education; resource allocation; targets for equity; and the special needs of migrants and minorities. The book identifies three key areas for delivering equity in education (the design of education systems, classroom practices and resourcing) and proposes ten concrete policy measures, backed by evidence, on how to reduce school failure and dropout rates.

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Introduction: Setting the Agenda

This chapter introduces the issue of equity in education and describes the methods of this study and the scope of this report. It addresses issues such as equity in compulsory education, early school leaving and the impact of different education pathways on equity, and argues that although these are very common problems, they can be, and have been, successfully tackled. The chapter refers to the philosophical discussion on equity and offers a simple definition of two main dimensions of equity in education: fairness (that social background should be no barrier to outcomes) and inclusion (a basic minimum standard of education for all). It then looks at the broader public policy context within which equity objectives are pursued and the evidence of trends in inequalities of income. The final section argues that equity in education is a fundamental policy objective.

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