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ERIC Number: EJ1092964
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
What Matters for Student Achievement: Updating Coleman on the Influence of Families and Schools
Hanushek, Eric A.
Education Next, v16 n2 p18-26 Spr 2016
The Coleman report, "Equality of Educational Opportunity," is the fountainhead for those committed to evidence-based education policy. Remarkably, this 737-page tome, prepared 50 years ago by seven authors under the leadership of James S. Coleman, still gets a steady 600 Google Scholar citations per year. But since its publication, views of what the report says have diverged, and conclusions about its policy implications have differed even more sharply. Therefore--from the Olympian vantage point a half century provides--author Eric Hanushek not only assesses the Coleman findings and conclusions but also considers how and where they have directed the policy conversation. The article begins by describing the historical context in which the report was mandated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and goes on to examine one of Coleman's principal findings--often overlooked in the focus on the role of families, schools, and desegregation--the shocking achievement disparities across races and regions within the United States. Due to flaws in Coleman's analysis, Hanushek views the reports conclusions as hypotheses, that he then compares with current evidence focusing on how the following factors impact student achievement: family background, contribution of schools, per-pupil expenditure, and the largest impact of the Coleman Report--the linkage of education research to education policy. He concludes with the jarring fact that the central goal of the report--the development of an education system that provides equal educational opportunity for all groups, and especially for racial minorities--has not been attained. Achievement gaps remain nearly as large as they were when Coleman and his team put pen to paper, even when better research has suggested ways to close them and even when policies have been promulgated that supposedly are explicitly designed to eliminate them. [This article is part of a new "Education Next" series commemorating the 50th anniversary of James S. Coleman's groundbreaking report, "Equality of Educational Opportunity." The full series appears in the Spring 2016 issue of "Education Next."]
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A