Fairness in education - a normative analysis of OECD policy documents
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Department of Education 
Educational policy depends on assumptions about fairness in education, whether they are made explicit or kept implicit. Without a view of fairness, one would be in the dark as to what should be done about the reproduction of social inequality through education, or whether or not anything should be done at all. The aim of this paper is to uncover the view of fairness in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) education policy. It is based on an analysis of the normative argumentation concerning educational fairness in a set of policy documents from the last seven years, with special emphasis on the association between social background and educational achievement. The main result of the analysis is that the OECD explicitly operate with a loose idea of equal opportunity, compatible with even a merely formal equality, but implicitly with a meritocratic variant of fair equality of opportunity. In the final section, I argue that the OECD approach to fairness suffers from a limitation in that it considers educational justice in isolation from social justice in general.