Spring 2015


Reconciling Educational Adequacy and Equity Arguments Through a Rawlsian Lens

By: John Pijanowski

A theory of educational opportunity that combines adequacy and equity arguments is informed by examining two popular philosophies of resource distribution. Amy Gutmann's democratic threshold theory provides an adequacy argument that mirrors in several ways arguments that have held favor in educational policy. Similarly, the distributive justice theories of John Rawls parallel the logic opined in several key school finance cases. The Rawlsian influence is particularly strong in developing connections between educational opportunities and the expression or enjoyment of basic liberties.

Oklahoma and Texas Completion Policies for Community Colleges

By: David A. Rankin, Joyce A. Scott, and JoHyun Kim

This study measured the effectiveness of and differences between Oklahoma’s Brain Gain and Texas’ Closing the Gaps policies to enhance degree completion of students at community colleges. Descriptive statistics and independent-samples t tests were conducted utilizing data from community colleges’ 3-year graduation rates from the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems database for benchmark year 2002 and years 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012. The results showed that both states’ total, black, and white community college 3-year graduation rates decreased from 2002 to 2012. Only Oklahoma’s Hispanic graduation rate increased while Texas’ Hispanic graduation rate decreased during the same period. No statistically significant differences were found between total, Black, Hispanic, and White community college graduation rates in Oklahoma and Texas. Findings revealed that the policies implemented in Oklahoma and Texas did not cause the desired impact at their states’ community colleges. Recommendations for policy and future research are provided.

The Argument is Not Compulsory Law, But How Attendance is Recorded

By: Michael Watson and Lynn Hemmer

 This paper examines attendance accounting policies and practices for students enrolled in public schools in Texas and in alternative schools of choice (ASC) in particular. Technology advancement allows students to complete their coursework virtually anywhere they have internet access; however, conventional state attendance policies still require students to be in physical attendance unless enrolled in a Texas approved virtual school setting. Our preliminary findings suggest that ASCs and the students who attend them could benefit from more flexible attendance accounting procedures. Policy recommendations are presented and discussed.