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Pedagogical Inquiry and Praxis, n2 Sep 2001

This article describes affirmative development, a concept designed to complement colloquial notions of affirmative action, which emphasizes the creation and enhancement of competence in addition to the more traditional emphasis on the equitable reward of competence. In 1903 and 1958, W.E.B. DuBois examined whether 20th century problems related to color or socioeconomic status. More recent writings have validated his prediction that inequalities in distribution of income and wealth would emerge as more critical than color. Although color and other sources of cultural identity continue to be the basis for social divisions, it appears to be the unequal distribution of resources and perceived threat of loss of those resources that enable cultural, gender, racial, and religious bias to flourish. After defining wealth and capital, the paper discusses affirmative action and proposes adjustments that target larger and more diverse groups (those that are low on wealth and wealth-derived capital resources). It describes an affirmative development policy within education that would emphasize deliberate or affirmative development of academic ability in a broad range of students who have historically been deprived of resources and who are under-represented among academically high achieving students. It also emphasizes the need to develop students' intellectual competence. (SM)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Access to Education, Affirmative Action, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Intellectual Development, Minority Group Children, Racial Bias, Racial Discrimination, Socioeconomic Status

Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, Box 75, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3780.

Autor: Gordon, Edmund W.


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