Essays in Human Rights and Education: Accommodating Vulnerable Minorities
Kosko, Stacy Jeanne
Crocker, David A.
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Numerous questions arise in the effort adequately to accommodate and serve minority students in public education, not the least of which are questions concerning how education decisions are made, by individuals, groups, or the state itself. This dissertation begins with the broadest, most far-reaching kinds of decisions, those made by groups (or representatives of groups) during the process of education policy formation. It then moves closer to home (and school), to the narrower kinds of decisions made by individual parents, school officials, and school-age children. The first essay engages in a broad theoretical discussion, applicable beyond education policy, and then applies this perspective to indigenous education. It asks: How might we evaluate the degree of self-determination that indigenous peoples exercise in decisions that affect them? In order to answer this question, this chapter suggests a theoretical framework for evaluating public participation and applies it to Sámi education policy-making in Norway. The second essay engages in a similarly broad theoretical discussion, though in this case it is motivated by an education policy problem. It asks: What ought to be the role of parental consent in education decisions that affect their children? It takes as its jumping-off point three European Court of Human Rights cases of educational discrimination against members of the Roma population, Europe's largest, poorest, and fastest-growing minority group. The final, and most applied, essay proceeds in the reverse order, beginning with an empirical question, and concluding with a discussion of the theoretical implications of the results. This essay uses quantitative methods to test whether Roma students do, in fact, have a higher drop-out rate than similarly situated non-Roma students and, finding that they do, asks why. This chapter goes on to investigate the labor market for Roma and subsequently to delve into the role of adaptive preference formation in schooling decisions (Do Roma really not "value" education, as is so often suggested?). The work closes with a short discussion of areas for future research.