Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance

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Overview

While the achievement gap has dominated policy discussions over the past two decades, relatively little attention has been paid to a gap even more at odds with American ideals: the opportunity gap. Opportunity and achievement, while inextricably connected, are very different goals. Every American will not go to college, but every American should be given a fair chance to be prepared for college. In communities across the U.S., children lack the crucial resources and opportunities, inside and outside of schools ...

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Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance

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Overview

While the achievement gap has dominated policy discussions over the past two decades, relatively little attention has been paid to a gap even more at odds with American ideals: the opportunity gap. Opportunity and achievement, while inextricably connected, are very different goals. Every American will not go to college, but every American should be given a fair chance to be prepared for college. In communities across the U.S., children lack the crucial resources and opportunities, inside and outside of schools that they need if they are to reach their potential.

Closing the Opportunity Gap offers accessible, research-based essays written by top experts who highlight the discrepancies that exist in our public schools, focusing on how policy decisions and life circumstances conspire to create the "opportunity gap" that leads inexorably to stark achievement gaps. They also describe sensible policies grounded in evidence that can restore and enhance opportunities. Moving beyond conventional academic discourse, Closing the Opportunity Gap will spark vital new conversations about what schools, parents, educators, and policymakers can and should do to give all children a fair chance to thrive.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Schooling, at its best, is about creating new futures for our children. Closing the Opportunity Gap describes education as it is and provides a vision of education as it should be. The book provides a powerful critique of the educational and social policies and practices that exacerbate the widening economic disparity between rich and poor and the growing opportunity gap for too many of our nation's youth. The authors' analyses of educational inequity and their focus on opportunity to learn offer a much needed blueprint and a new social imagination about schooling in the U.S." -Kris D. Gutiérrez, Inaugural Provost's Chair and Professor of Learning Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder.

"As policymakers and education leaders seek to pick up the pieces of a public education system tattered by No-Child-Left-Behind style reform, Carter and Welner's book brings clear-eyed analyses of failure and of future possibilities. In one highly readable volume, the nation's leading scholars provide evidence-based accounts of the root causes, everyday realities, and long-term consequences of the nation's weightiest educational problem-profound inequality in and out of school. And, most important, they offer comprehensive, insightful, and useful remedies. Those seeking new concepts and strategies for creating the public schools our diverse nation desperately needs and deserves need look no further than this astonishing book."-Jeannie Oakes, Director of Education and Scholarship, Ford Foundation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199982998
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 301,528
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Prudence L. Carter is Associate Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Sociology at Stanford University.

Kevin G. Welner is Professor of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
List of Contributors

Chapter 1. Achievement Gaps Arise from Opportunity Gaps, Kevin G. Welner & Prudence L. Carter
Chapter 2. Lack of Achievement or Loss of Opportunity?, Gloria Ladson-Billings

Part One: Overcoming the Obstacles We Create for Children
Chapter 3. Educationalizing the Welfare State and Privatizing Education: The Irony of Recent School Reform, Harvey Kantor & Robert Lowe
Chapter 4. Going to the Roots: Race, Housing, and School Inequality Costs and Possible Solutions, Gary Orfield
Chapter 5. Why Children from Lower Socioeconomic Classes, on Average, Have Lower Academic Achievement than Middle-Class Children, Richard Rothstein

Part Two: Overcoming the Obstacles We Create for Schools
Chapter 6. Inequality and School Resources: What it Will Take to Close the Opportunity Gap?, Linda Darling-Hammond
Chapter 7. Achievement Gaps Start Early: Preschool Can Help, W. Steven Barnett & Cynthia E. Lamy
Chapter 8. How Common Standards and Standardized Testing Widen the Opportunity Gap, Yong Zhao & Christopher Tienken
Chapter 9. A More Perfect Union: Reconciling School Choice Policy with Equality of Opportunity Goals, Janelle Scott & Amy Stuart Wells

Part Three: Overcoming the Obstacles We Create for Teachers
Chapter 10. Student and School Cultures & the Opportunity Gap: Paying Attention and Engaging Better, Prudence L. Carter
Chapter 11. Meeting the Needs of Language Minorities, Patricia Gándara
Chapter 12. Tracking, Segregation, and the Opportunity Gap: What We Know and Why It Matters, Karolyn Tyson
Chapter 13. Good Schools and Teachers for All Students: Dispelling Myths, Facing Evidence, and Pursuing the Right Strategies, Barnett Berry

Part Four: Solutions/Conclusion
Chapter 14. The Cumulative Costs of the Opportunity Gap, Clive Belfield & Hank Levin
Chapter 15. Enhancing a Nation's Democracy through Equitable Schools, Michele Moses & John Rogers
Chapter 16. Building Opportunities to Achieve, Prudence L. Carter & Kevin G. Welner

Notes
References
Index

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    Posted March 22, 2013

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