As inequality runs much deeper through society than just education, simultaneously interacting and reinforcing educational inequality, tackling educational inequality needs to go much further than a one-pronged approach. Tackling educational inequality can only be achieved though addressing societal inequality while changing the education system as a whole. Education is inevitably tied to so many other social issues, with a large amount of learning and development taking place outside of school, to fully address educational inequality then governments needs to take these factors into account.
Some countries need to go much further than simply addressing education systems in the fight against educational inequality, while others need systemic change in education to address the needs of more children. Finland should be the world's example for education, as it has achieved such high levels in so many fields relating education. Finland enjoys the world's highest reading level, a 93% high school graduation level (17.5% higher than the US), with the highest rate of students entering higher education in the EU (66%), however Finland spends around 30% less per student than the US.
Finland has achieved this through both systematic educational reform, and numerous social reforms that address wider inequality in society, while reinforcing equality of access to education, and a well rounded learning environment both at home and at school. Finland achieved educational reform first and foremost by making all schools publicly funded, eliminating the large funding issues that can be seen in countries like the US. Through abolishing standardised testing, ranking, comparisons, or competitions between student, schools, or regions, the Finns has taken a lot of pressure out of the school system, from both students and teachers, giving teachers more hours to plan and less time in class or filing paperwork. Likewise students spend less time in classrooms, more time playing outside, less time doing homework, and experience less stress - starting school later, and learning more efficiently in a low stress environment.
These schooling reforms alone would not have solved educational inequality on their own however, but they are highly indicative of the Finn's high performance in education as a whole. Finland addressed the other side of educational inequality through societal reforms, using a cohesive social safety-net to ensure no child is homeless or hungry when they come to school, with schools providing food, free medical care, counselling and transport. The state also subsidises parents with around €150/month for every child until the age of 17, doing their best to level out anything that could negatively impact a child's education. In addition Finland provide three-years of maternity leave, while subsidising day care to working parents, and providing preschool for all 5 year olds, ensuring a gentle and stable start to all children's education - 97% of children are enrolled in public preschool by 6 years old.
Current educational models fail many children and schools need to offer a diverse range fixes to address all children that fall through the gaps. For kids with difficulties it can be the rigid model of education holding them back rather than the lack of opportunity or adequate parenting. Education ministers should be focussed on the latest studies and successful examples internationally when forming national education policy. Focussing on equitable education for all children, trying to iron-out social inequality, while catering for children with special needs in a more holistic approach to the education system is the only way to achieve lasting higher-levels of equality in education. Educational inequality stems from inequality in schools and at home, removing all obstacles to learning both at school and in the home is the only way to cohesively address this issue.