Comparative analysis of educational opportunities in the U.S. and Korean educational systems
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The purpose of this study is to comprehensively assess the guarantee levels of equal opportunities in the U.S. and Korean educational systems. This study uses the school finance equity framework of Berne and Stiefel; however, it assumes equal opportunity as a superordinate concept of horizontal and vertical equity principles. Furthermore, this study expands the perspective on the guarantee of equal opportunity by including outcome aspects. Thus, outcome equity analysis is concomitantly conducted with resource equity analysis to examine equal opportunities in both countries. In addition to outcome equity analysis, adequacy analysis is chosen for estimating the cost of adequate education with educational outcomes taken into consideration. Utilizing the data quantitative /qualitative resources and academic/non-academic outcomes from the ELS:2002 restricted-use and KELS:2005 datasets, this study arrived at the following findings through each analysis. Regarding the guarantee level of equal resource opportunities in both countries, the U.S. public high schools and Korean middle schools are not guaranteed equal opportunities in terms of qualitative resource aspects. Specifically, qualitative resources such as peer effects and school culture are not recognized as targets of distributional equity in high special education student percentage schools. Additionally, school level SES influentially operates to determine the distribution conditions of educational resources in both countries’ educational systems. Regarding the guarantee level of equal outcome opportunities in both countries, the academic outcome of special education students is less equitably distributed than that of counterpart students. Given the findings of resource equity, the result of outcome equity might be a possible indication that there is a significant relationship between the inequitable distribution of qualitative resources and academic outcome. In particular, this study shows that the U.S. high minority student percentage public highs schools and Korean metropolitan middle schools are not guaranteed equal opportunities in terms of both academic and non-academic outcomes. Finally, this study indicates that schools that have secured the cost of adequacy do not always exhibit equal outcome opportunities. In other words, the spending levels of adequate education estimated without consideration of qualitative resources and the conditions of equal opportunity summarized with regard to only monetary resources are not enough to achieve the fulfillment of equal opportunities.