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Lecture 4

SOCI 3017 Lecture 4: Educational Inequality

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SOCI 3017

Educational Inequality • Educational Achievement o Disparities in investment re: children—time or money—have consequences for children’s success. o The “income achievement gap”—role wealth plays in attainment—has increased over the past 50 yrs. o Test results of kids from families at the 90th income %ile vs. those from the 10 th %ile: gap btw them has grown by 40% over the past thirty years. o Test scores of low-income students have shown modest gains over the past few decades, while those of high-income students have shown large increases. • Apartheid Schooling (K. Wright) o 2010 Study: White students no longer a demographic majority. “Census Bureau estimates our national demographics will defy majority/minority groupings altogether by 2042, when whites will account for about 46 percent of the population, down from 66 percent in 2008.” o And yet, as Kai Wright and J. Kozol point out, there is still an opportunity gap along across racial lines. o In 2007, the South became the first region to have a majority of its public school students poor enough to qualify for the free lunch program. o Nearly a quarter of black and Latino Americans lived in poverty as of 2008; that same year, more than a quarter of black families struggled to pay for food. o Massive job loss during the Recession (2009)nearly a quarter of each group is out of work or getting by with part-time jobs. o Poor nutrition = poor school performance and behavioral problems. o As Mississippi commissioner of higher education, Hank Bounds, put it (to the NYT): “An affluent 5-year-old has about the same vocabulary as an adult living in poverty.” • Apartheid Schooling (Kozol) o Born 1936 in Boston o Non-fiction writer, educator, and activist o Works primarily on public education in the United States o BA Harvard (1958) English Lit. o Rhodes Scholar (went to Paris midway) o Tutored in Mass., then taught in Boston public schools. Fired for teaching Langston Hughes poem, then became involved in civil rights movement o 2 Guggenheim Fellowships; Rockefeller Foundation fellow; Ford Foundation fellow o Books: o Death at an Early Age (1967, 1968 National Book Award) o Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America (Robert F. Kennedy Book Award 1989) o Savage Inequalities (New England Book Award, 1992) o Amazing Grace (on South Bronx) – Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, 1996 (King won this) o Shame of the Nation (2005) – NYT Bestseller during first week of release. Critique of school voucher system; effects of neocon policy on poor children, segregation, unequal amounts of money spent per child, mania of high-stakes testing. o Shame: Based on research visiting 60 public schools in 30 different districts in 11 states. Finding: Children more racially segregated than before Brown v. Board of Education. o SHAME OF THE NATION? o Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) – landmark decision of the US Supreme Court. Overturned earlier court rulings going back to Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). The Brown decision declared that state laws that established separate public schools for black and white students de
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