book, 210 pages, 6" x 9" (paper), 2004
At the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the stubborn achievement gap between black and white students is a key measure of our country’s failure to achieve true equality. Federal and state officials are currently pursuing tougher accountability and other reforms at the school level to address this problem. In making schools their sole focus, however, these policy makers are neglecting an area that is vital to narrowing the achievement gap: social class differences that affect learning. The new book Class and Schools — co-published by the Economic Policy Institute and Teachers College, Columbia University — shows that social class differences in health care quality and access, nutrition, childrearing styles, housing quality and stability, parental occupation and aspirations, and even exposure to environmental toxins, play a significant part in how well children learn and ultimately succeed.