Elusive Equity documents South Africa’s efforts to create a racially equitable state education system from the ashes of apartheid education. Edward Fiske and Helen Ladd describe and evaluate the strategies that South African policy makers have pursued in their quest for equity. They draw on previously unpublished data, interviews with key officials, and visits to dozens of schools to describe the changes made to school financing, teacher allocation, governance, curriculum, and other areas.
They conclude that the country has made remarkable progress toward equity in the sense of treating persons of all races equally. For several reasons, however, the system has been far less successful in promoting equal access for all and equity, in terms of the provision of quality, has remained elusive.
The book combines the perceptive observations of an experienced education journalist with the analytical skills of an academic policy expert. Richly textured descriptions of how South Africa’s education reforms have affected schools at grassroots level are combined with careful analysis of enrolment, governance, and budget data at school, provincial, and national levels. The result is a compelling and comprehensive study of the first decade of education reform in the post-apartheid period.
A co-publication with the Brookings Institution Press, Washington.