Sociology Education Policy in the United States
by
Lindsey Young, Justina Judy Spicer, Barbara Schneider
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 July 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 May 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0098

Introduction

Examining educational policy through a sociological lens allows for a deeper understanding of the educational process—both of the individual and of the organization. Sociologists study the provision of education, including policies created at various levels of government, the implementation of these policies, and the outcomes for the individual and organization. Policies in education affect a broad range of the population, spanning from birth to adult learning. Educational policy is influenced by the historical context in which the policy is shaped; the social forces and consequences that extend beyond the walls of schools; and the political setting of reform. Although educational policymaking in the United States has historically been relegated to local and state entities, since the 1960s the federal role in education has been increasing, changing the conditions in which the education system functions and how it is studied. Specifically, the federal government has greatly emphasized increased accountability through testing, teacher evaluation, and school rankings. Policies in this vein have been fluid and bipartisan; recently, accountability measures increased through the No Child Left Behind Act, and continued through the Every Student Succeeds Act. While the focus of this article is on educational policy in the United States, sources that feature other nations and regions are included to allow opportunities for a comparative analysis and to provide a global context to policies worldwide.

Classic Works

These selected works demonstrate a foundation for understanding motivations behind educational policy and come from a diverse range of disciplines, but they by no means represent an exhaustive list. Although a vast quantity of text has been written, these pieces reflect significant contributions to the field and their influence on educational policy in the United States. John Dewey was one of the early voices to explore the role of the school as well as the learner in his book, The School and Society. The release of Equality of Educational Opportunity (commonly referred to as the “Coleman Report”) in 1966 fundamentally challenged what was understood about equality of education and how educational outcomes were studied. Twenty years later, Hallinan 1988 revisited inequality and reviewed the then-current body of research on this issue. Bourdieu 1973 and Bowles and Gintis 2011 provide frameworks for understanding the relationship between schools and society. Findings from Edmonds 1979 reinforce the importance of institutional factors for improving student performance. National Commission on Excellence in Education 1983 highlights problems with the US education system and offers recommendations for new curricular standards, instruction, and assessments. Coleman and Hoffer 1987 analyzes data from public and private high schools to understand the role of community factors and access to social capital for enhancing educational outcomes. Elmore 2004 provides a critique of accountability and high-stakes testing policies from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1973. Cultural reproduction and social reproduction. In Knowledge, education and cultural change: Papers in the sociology of education. Edited by Richard Brown, 71–112. Explorations in Sociology 2. London: Tavistock.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this chapter, Bourdieu extends the idea of capital to include social and cultural capital as a framework for understanding behavior. He argues that those who are richest in cultural capital are more likely to invest in their children’s education.

    Find this resource:

  • Bowles, Samuel, and Herbert Gintis. 2011. Schooling in capitalist America: Educational reform and the contradictions of economic life. Chicago: Haymarket.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Originally published in 1976 (New York: Basic Books). Bowles and Gintis argue in this book that the education system in America is geared toward producing laborers for a capitalist workforce. They assert that schools function not to teach content but rather to shape the aspirations, behaviors, and values of students according to their social and economic class.

    Find this resource:

  • Coleman, James S., Ernest Q. Campbell, Carol J. Hobson, et al. 1966. Equality of educational opportunity. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The “Coleman Report” was commissioned by the US government to evaluate the equality of education across elementary and secondary schools in the United States. The analysis included more than 150,000 students and measured the equality of educational outcomes for students across different schools.

    Find this resource:

  • Coleman, James S., and Thomas Hoffer. 1987. Public and private high schools: The impact of communities. New York: Basic Books.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book reports findings from a large-scale comparison of sophomores and seniors in public, Catholic, and other private schools. The authors argue that students in private schools showed higher academic performance, were less likely to drop out, and were more likely to enroll in college compared to students in public schools.

    Find this resource:

  • Dewey, John. 1900. The school and society. 3d ed. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The text of this book comes from three lectures that Dewey delivered on the rationale behind the University Elementary School, and where he also introduced his pedagogic approach to education.

    Find this resource:

  • Edmonds, Ronald. 1979. Effective schools for the urban poor. Educational Leadership 37.1: 15–24.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, the author argues that children in low-achieving schools should have the same opportunities for achievement in reading as children in high-achieving schools. The findings from this study reinforce the influence of institutional leadership, expectations, and atmosphere for student performance.

    Find this resource:

  • Elmore, Richard. 2004. School reform from the inside out: Policy, practice, and performance. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book provides a critique of the accountability and high-stakes testing policies that are part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Elmore argues that successful school reform begins from “the inside out,” suggesting that change should begin with the teachers, administrators, and school staff as opposed to external mandates and policies.

    Find this resource:

  • Hallinan, Maureen T. 1988. Equality of educational opportunity. Annual Review of Sociology 14:249–268.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.so.14.080188.001341Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses the relationship between the field of sociology of education and the persistent subject of the equality of educational opportunity.

    Find this resource:

  • National Commission on Excellence in Education. 1983. A nation at risk: The imperative for educational reform. Washington, DC: US Department of Education.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Written at a time when there were serious questions about the competitiveness of US students compared to students in other countries, this report called for a series of reforms to the educational system. These reforms included a more rigorous curriculum, improvements to instruction and assessments, and other structural changes as a way of maintaining global economic competitiveness for the United States.

    Find this resource:

Textbooks and General Overviews

Several texts provide an overview of the research in sociology of education. Select samples of these texts are listed in this section. Hallinan 2006 includes contributions that provide a foundation of theoretical approaches and analyses of previous research in the sociology of education. Ballantine and Spade 2011 and Sadovnik 2011 include a wide range of topics and relevant research in the sociology of education. Midgley and Livermore 2009 provides a comprehensive policy view of education, focusing on the relationship between social policy and social services. Kirst and Wirt 2009 provides a framework for organizing the politics of American education. Buchmann 2011 offers a comparative perspective of educational policy in the United States and the study of international sociology of education. Finally, Schneider and Saw 2018 investigates the relationship between the individual and the social systems they operate within, such as schools.

  • Ballantine, Jeanne H., and Joan Z. Spade, eds. 2011. Schools and society: A sociological approach to education. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This fourth edition includes original work and article excerpts from leading contributors in the area of sociology of education. Ballantine and Spade include discussions of theory and methodology, as well as classical and early-21st-century issues of educational systems.

    Find this resource:

  • Buchmann, Claudia. 2011. Frontiers in comparative and international sociology of education: American distinctiveness and global diversity. In Frontiers in sociology of education. Edited by Maureen T. Hallinan, 35–51. Frontiers in Sociology and Social Research 1. New York: Springer.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1576-9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this chapter, Buchmann discusses the role of international sociological research and advocates for a greater integration of more comparative streams of research on issues central to the sociology of education.

    Find this resource:

  • Hallinan, Maureen T., ed. 2006. Handbook of the sociology of education. Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research. New York: Springer.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This handbook includes several contributions that present research and analyses on a range of educational issues, including the social processes that involve schooling, the role of schools, and the impact of education on society. This book is organized based on themes such as the theoretical background of education, development and expansion of education, access to schooling, schools as organizations, educational policy, and research.

    Find this resource:

  • Kirst, Michael W., and Frederick M. Wirt. 2009. The political dynamics of American education. 4th ed. Richmond, CA: McCutchan.

    DOI: 10.12698/cpre.2009.PoliticalDynamics.KirstBkSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This politics of education textbook creates an original conceptual framework to organize the politics of American education, focusing on school choice, the 2008 presidential election, and the politics of charter schools and No Child Left Behind.

    Find this resource:

  • Midgley, James, and Michelle Livermore, eds. 2009. The handbook of social policy. 2d ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this handbook, Midgley and Livermore attempt to document a body of knowledge about government social policies. The areas of focus include the nature, history, and political economy of social policy; the relationship between social policy and social services; and the future implications of social policy.

    Find this resource:

  • Sadovnik, Alan, ed. 2011. Sociology of education: A critical reader. 2d ed. New York: Routledge.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This reader provides examples of both research and theory in the fields of sociology and education. The editor includes classic and early-21st-century scholarship that represents a diverse selection of research. Topics include international education, higher education, and inequality in education.

    Find this resource:

  • Schneider, Barbara, and Guan Saw, eds. 2018. Handbook of sociology of education in the 21st century. New York: Springer.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This handbook investigates the relationship between the individual and the social systems the individual interacts with and through, while also examining how social systems are shaped by their environment. Topics in this volume include families and schools, the social organization of school and learning opportunities, the demographics of social inequality, the transition into adulthood, and sociological perspectives on accountability and evaluation.

    Find this resource:

Journals

As education policy is multidisciplinary in its nature, research can be found in a variety of general and specialty journals throughout education and the social sciences. Several journals specifically focus on education policy. The American Educational Research Association sponsors the flagship education policy journal—Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis—as well as the American Educational Research Journal, the Educational Researcher, and the Review of Educational Research. The Harvard Educational Review promotes dialogue between education scholars and educators. The American Journal of Sociology is the oldest academic journal of sociology in the United States, contributing to national understanding of sociological theory and methods. The American Sociological Association (ASA) sponsors the American Sociological Review as well as Sociology of Education, which include articles on education policy, although their missions are more diverse. The Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness covers a range of topics that apply to classrooms and schools. Policy work can also be found in the Social Science Quarterly, which includes research across a broad range of social sciences, including sociology, political science, and economics. The Review of Educational Research reviews education-related articles from a variety of fields, such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Sociological Forum is a journal representing innovative sociological research, Sociological Perspectives includes research regarding social processes related to issues such as economics and politics, and the British Journal of Sociology represents mainstream sociological research.

Data Sources

Researchers in the field of education have access to a variety of cross-sectional and longitudinal data sets that include several different sampling designs and methods of data collection. This is not a complete list, but these sources include data on educational characteristics of individuals, student achievement, educational and occupational attainment, demographic trends, and other topics. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal agency responsible for collecting and analyzing these data in the United States. From the NCES website, several national longitudinal studies (such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress) can be accessed and publicly available data can be downloaded. Two additional surveys listed below study American students’ transition into adulthood: the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which investigates the experiences related to adolescent development, and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, which collects data on enrollment in postsecondary institutions. Data collected by the United States Census Bureau and the American Community Survey can be used to examine demographic information nationally, as it relates to educational and occupational attainment, and can also be linked to the data collected by NCES. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics obtains data on education trends internationally. The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study is an international data set, which includes the United States, that collects information on math and science achievement. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development publishes data that compares the academic achievement of its member countries (most notably, the Programme for International Student Assessment). Finally, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study collects information on reading achievement across several participating countries. It should also be noted that many states in the United States are developing their own databases of information that are not listed below but can be located through the Department of Education of individual states.

History

The works listed below explore various historical dimensions of education, but they largely focus on the development of education in the United States. Rury 2013 begins at the time of the common school era in the United States and analyzes this policy history through the No Child Left Behind era. A four-part documentary, Mondale and Patton 2004 chronicles the history of education in the United States with contributions from several scholars in the field. Ravitch 2000 and Ravitch 2011 offer contrasting analyses of educational policies in the United States. Vinovskis 2009 focuses on the last thirty years in education policy, allowing a more detailed analysis of history leading up to the early-21st-century policies and criticisms of education in the United States. Providing a broader view, Reese 2005 traces educational reforms from the 19th century through the 21st century. Cremin 1990 discusses the history of education and how the United States uses educational policy as a vehicle for social change. Hess 2010 describes the features of the American education system that have remained constant since its conception. Lastly, Boli, et al. 1985 explores the rise and spread of mass education throughout the globe.

  • Boli, John, Francisco O. Ramirez, and John W. Meyer. 1985. Explaining the origins and expansion of mass education. Comparative Education Review 29.2: 145–170.

    DOI: 10.1086/446504Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In the first part of this article, the authors discuss explanations of the creation and rise of mass education. The second part analyzes the general themes of mass education, and, based on these analyses, the third part presents the hypotheses that the expansion of mass education in both developed and developing countries is characterized by traditional social organization, social inequality, and lack of autonomy.

    Find this resource:

  • Cremin, Lawrence A. 1990. Popular education and its discontents. New York: Harper & Row.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Organized into three essays—“Popularization,” “Multitudinousness,” and “Politicization”—Cremin explores achievements and problems of educational policy. This book begins with a discussion of rising dissatisfaction during the 1800s and continues through educational reforms of the post–World War II years, concluding with an examination of how US citizens tend to remedy certain social issues indirectly through education policy.

    Find this resource:

  • Hess, Fredrick M. 2010. The same thing over and over: How school reformers get stuck in yesterday’s ideas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this book, the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) provides an overview of major school reform debates, highlighting the features of the American education system that have remained constant over time. Hess argues for a change in the structure of the current system’s taken-for-granted structure to meet the needs of the 21st century.

    Find this resource:

  • Mondale, Sarah, dir. and prod., and Sarah Patton, prod. 2004. School: The story of American public education. DVD. Princeton, NJ: Films for the Humanities & Sciences.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This four-part documentary originally aired on PBS in 2001 follows the development of US public education beginning in the late 1770s up to the 21st century. It details the romanticism of early public education proponents and examines the challenges that have influenced educational reform over time. See companion website.

    Find this resource:

  • Ravitch, Diane. 2000. Left back: A century of failed school reforms. New York: Simon & Schuster.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Educational historian Diane Ravitch explores commonly held myths about how the educational system in the United States developed. Ravitch argues for a more liberal education and that progressive education has undermined not only the intellectual development of students, but also the democratic principles of American society.

    Find this resource:

  • Ravitch, Diane. 2011. The death and life of the great American school system: How testing and choice are undermining education. New York: Basic Books.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this revised and expanded edition of the book first published in 2010, Ravitch reveals the radical change of heart she experienced as she examines her career and contributions in education reform through previously published works. This work draws on Ravitch’s forty years of experience in education.

    Find this resource:

  • Reese, William. 2005. America’s public schools: From the common school to “No Child Left Behind.” Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    William J. Reese, professor of educational policy studies, examines the practices and theories that have impacted and transformed US public schools from the 19th century onward. This book is framed as a means to observe the ways education reforms society and explores reform within schools, highlighting pedagogical, race, and academic standard reforms.

    Find this resource:

  • Rury, John L. 2013. Education and social change: Themes in the history of American schooling. 4th ed. New York: Routledge.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book provides a brief and interpretive history of schooling, focusing on the relationship between education and social change. Rury discusses the influence of important historical movements, such as industrialization, urbanization, and immigration. The book also explores how schools have contributed to the history of social change.

    Find this resource:

  • Vinovskis, Maris A. 2009. From A Nation at Risk to No Child Left Behind: National education goals and the creation of federal education policy. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Vinovskis discusses late-20th- and early-21st-century policies beginning with the National Education Goals, America 2000, Goals 2000, and finally No Child Left Behind. He also highlights key policy debates and addresses the practical considerations of policy implementation and evaluation.

    Find this resource:

Policy and Practice

As educational reforms are developed and implemented, they do not occur in a vacuum. Policies are shaped from their original forms to schools and classrooms in which current reforms and policies already exist. The works below discuss policymaking, governance as it relates to education reform, and changes in education policy over time, and they provide recommendations for collaborative partnerships between policymakers and educators. Cooper, et al. 2004 documents the process of policymaking, providing a framework for policy development. Manna and McGuinn 2013 analyzes governance structures and provides recommendations for improving student educational outcomes. Penuel and Gallagher 2017 contributes suggestions for policymakers as they work to collaborate with educators. Finally, Mitchell, et al. 2018 documents changes in education policy from the mid-20th century to today.

  • Cooper, Bruce S., Lance D. Fusarelli, and E. Vance Randall. 2004. Better policies, better schools: Theories and applications. Boston: Pearson.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book provides a general overview of the theories of policymaking, the policymaking process, and examples of how the theories apply to school improvement policies. Key components include discussion of policy definition, agenda setting, policy formulation, and implementation.

    Find this resource:

  • Manna, Paul, and Patrick McGuinn, eds. 2013. Education governance for the twenty-first century: Overcoming the structural barriers to school reform. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book, containing contributions from education scholars, analysts, and practitioners, provides analysis of education governance structures, and suggests how governing structures may be changed to improve educational outcomes for students.

    Find this resource:

  • Mitchell, Douglas E., Dorothy Shipps, and Robert L. Crowson, eds. 2018. Shaping education policy: Power and process. 2d ed. New York: Routledge.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book is sponsored by the Politics of Education Association. Chapters within this book examine changes in education policy from 1950 to today, and they cover topics that have influenced education, such as the civil rights movement, the accountability movement, family choice, and globalization.

    Find this resource:

  • Penuel, William R., and Daniel Gallagher. 2017. Creating research-practice partnerships in education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book aims to serve as a resource for researchers and educators to use as they pursue working relationships with one another. The authors describe the purposes of such partnerships, strategies for problem-solving conflicts, and tools for collaboration.

    Find this resource:

Pedagogical Reform

Cuban 1993 and Lortie 2002 provide a portrait of the teacher profession, including the various demands placed on teachers by reforms. Coburn 2001 examines the relationship between policy and practice through a model of sense-making theory. Lipsky 2010 explores the role of teachers as “street-level bureaucrats” who face multiple demands and ambiguous goals in the classroom, possibly influencing the implementation of policy.

  • Coburn, Cynthia E. 2001. Collective sensemaking about reading: How teachers mediate reading policy in their professional communities. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 23.2: 145–170.

    DOI: 10.3102/01623737023002145Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using an in-depth case study, Coburn examines the processes of teachers as they construct their understanding of a new reading policy and the role of collective sense making in this process. Sense making, the act of simultaneously shaping and reacting to policy reforms, suggests that teachers interpret, adapt, and change policies as they put them into practice.

    Find this resource:

  • Cuban, Larry. 1993. How teachers taught: Constancy and change in American classrooms, 1890–1990. 2d ed. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this updated text, Larry Cuban, professor of education at Stanford University, furthers his previous research into the history of teaching practice in the United States, highlighting teaching practices in segments of ten to twenty years and concluding his volume by offering recommendations for policymakers.

    Find this resource:

  • Lipsky, Michael. 2010. Street-level bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the individual in public services. Updated ed. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this expanded edition of his text originally published in 1980, Lipsky argues that policy is best understood through the daily encounters of those closest to the ground—teachers, in the educational context. He argues that these “street-level bureaucrats” carry out policies by establishing routines and devices to cope with the uncertainties and increasing pressures of their jobs.

    Find this resource:

  • Lortie, Dan C. 2002. Schoolteacher: A sociological study. 2d ed. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book discusses how teachers manage mandated reforms in their classrooms, with a focus on how teachers’ individual practices may influence policy implementation. Lortie’s in-depth study examines the behaviors of teachers and the various ways in which they respond to educational reforms.

    Find this resource:

School System–Wide Reforms

Weiss 1995 provides a framework for understanding the relationship among teachers, administrators, and reforms. Tyack and Cuban 1995 discusses the relationship between schools and reforms, drawing on a century of changes in education in the United States. Additional resources on school system–wide reforms include Borman, et al. 1996; Sadovnik, et al. 2007; Hubbard, et al. 2006; Downey, et al. 2008; Zavadsky 2009; Chenoweth 2009; Smerdon and Borman 2009; O’Day, et al. 2011; Grant 2011; and Cuban 2010.

  • Borman, Kathryn, Peter Cookson Jr., Alan Sadovnik, and Joan Spade, eds. 1996. Implementing educational reform: Sociological perspectives on educational policy. Social and Policy Issues in Education. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using a sociological perspective, the contributors describe and analyze the Goals 2000 legislation, intended to improve equality and increase achievement in the US school system. The book summarizes the standards and assessments; expectations for schools, parents, students, and community members; instructional support and professional development; and implications of this reform.

    Find this resource:

  • Chenoweth, Karin. 2009. How it’s being done: Urgent lessons from unexpected schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Building on earlier work, Chenoweth provides educators information on how some schools with high-poverty and high-minority populations have improved student outcomes and closed achievement gaps. Analyzing data from eight schools, the author argues that teachers and schools can implement policies that support effective instruction and reduce ineffective practices.

    Find this resource:

  • Cuban, Larry. 2010. As good as it gets: What school reform brought to Austin. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Cuban explores whether school policies and practices can equalize student achievement and if schools can overcome differences in achievement associated with race and the socioeconomic status of students. Analyzing data from Austin, Texas, Cuban argues that despite overall improvement in the district, schools with high-poverty and high-minority student populations continued to struggle while predominantly affluent schools improve.

    Find this resource:

  • Downey, Douglas, Paul von Hippel, and Melanie Hughes. 2008. Are “failing” schools really failing? Using seasonal comparison to evaluate school effectiveness. Sociology of Education 81.3: 242–270.

    DOI: 10.1177/003804070808100302Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study evaluates whether impact-based evaluation methods alter the identification of failing schools using the data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study of 1998–1999. The authors argue that for schools that are labeled as “failing” in terms of achievement levels, less than half are actually failing with respect to learning or impact.

    Find this resource:

  • Grant, Gerald. 2011. Hope and despair in the American city: Why there are no bad schools in Raleigh. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book examines two US cities—Raleigh, North Carolina, and Syracuse, New York—to understand how educational reforms and inequalities have evolved over the last few decades. Grant demonstrates that these two reform contexts offer a window into the challenges and the potential opportunities faced by urban districts that confront growing racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps.

    Find this resource:

  • Hubbard, Lea, Hugh Mehan, and Mary Kay Stein. 2006. Reform as learning: School reform, organizational culture, and community politics in San Diego. New York: Routledge.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors use four years of ethnographic data from San Diego to understand how teachers, administrators, and district staff were influenced by a systematic school reform initiative. This study uses a sociological perspective to examine the challenges to reform implementation and provides insights into why this reform failed to achieve its purposes.

    Find this resource:

  • O’Day, Jennifer, Catherine Bitter, and Louis Gomez, eds. 2011. Education reform in New York City: Ambitious change in the nation’s most complex school system. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited volume provides analyses of several different reforms in the largest school district in the United States—New York City. The analyses of reforms include those targeting governance, community engagement, finance, accountability, and instruction. The contributors describe the scope of educational reform while highlighting interrelated factors, challenges in implementation, and how these reforms target improved outcomes for all students.

    Find this resource:

  • Sadovnik, Alan, Jennifer O’Day, George Bohrnstedt, and Kathryn Borman, eds. 2007. No Child Left Behind and the reduction of the achievement gap: Sociological perspectives on federal educational policy. New York: Routledge.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using a sociological lens, and similar to Borman, et al. 1996 on Goals 2000, this book analyzes the effects of No Child Left Behind on children, teachers, parents, and schools. The contributors examine the implications of this policy for schools and subgroups of students, and they explore the possibilities for decreasing achievement gaps in education.

    Find this resource:

  • Smerdon, Becky, and Kathryn Borman. 2009. Saving America’s high schools. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examine multiple reforms across several cities to look at how US high schools can be improved. Smerdon and Borman outline steps teachers and administrators, faced with more diverse student populations and increased standards, can do to improve schools, including the use of formative and summative student assessments and the increase of administrator support for good teachers.

    Find this resource:

  • Tyack, David, and Larry Cuban. 1995. Tinkering toward utopia: A century of public school reform. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book details the history of public school reform in the United States and posits that reforms are never implemented as they were originally envisioned. Tyack and Cuban also discuss how teachers and reforms act upon each other as reforms become assimilated into the school environment.

    Find this resource:

  • Weiss, Carol H. 1995. The four “I’s” of school reform: How interests, ideology, information, and institution affect teachers and principals. Harvard Educational Review 65.4: 571–592.

    DOI: 10.17763/haer.65.4.05530845t676w50hSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Weiss examines how teachers and principals respond to a school reform with a case study focused on shared decision making. Using the “4-I” analysis, the author explains how interests, ideology, information, and the institution shape actors’ responses to and implementation of school reform.

    Find this resource:

  • Zavadsky, Heather. 2009. Bringing school reform to scale: Five award-winning urban districts. Educational Innovations. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book provides a detailed analysis of five high-performing urban districts’ efforts to improve teaching and learning, align district goals with instructional practices, and narrow gaps in student achievement. Zavadsky explores the divergent approaches these districts took and argues that diverse perspectives can contribute to understanding how reforms influence improved outcomes.

    Find this resource:

Politics of Education

Education in the United States is a shared process among all citizens, influencing their own socialization and learning as well as schooling experiences of their family, community, and nation. Because education is an integral part of all individuals’ development, educational attainment, occupational outcome, and future economic status—educational policy is subject to significant political action. Hess 1999 and Payne 2008 explore the politics surrounding urban school reform. Berliner and Biddle 1996 discusses the politics of reform and the role media plays in perpetuating misguided information about the successes and failures of education reform. Apple 2006 takes a closer look at the evolving conservative shift in education. Feigenbaum, et al. 1999 comparatively analyzes data from three countries to understand the influence of privatization in education on the state and economy. Henig 2013 documents the increased involvement of the US federal government in local education. Maryl 2016 examines how political structures have shaped religious education in the United States and Australia.

  • Apple, Michael. 2006. Educating the “right” way: Markets, standards, God, and inequality. 2d ed. New York: Routledge.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author examines the early-21st-century conservative shift in US education with reforms such as voucher policies, charter schools, and standardized testing. Apple argues that a coalition of strange bedfellows has pushed for these policies and discusses how educators and policymakers can respond by creating a more democratic school system.

    Find this resource:

  • Berliner, David, and Bruce Biddle. 1996. The manufactured crisis: Myths, fraud, and the attack on America’s public schools. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Berliner and Biddle use comprehensive evidence from ACT scores, educational reports, and achievement results to dispute the commonly held myth that American schools are failing. The authors demonstrate how educational data and information have been misunderstood and misused, arguing that many of the problems students and schools face are based on societal and economic conditions.

    Find this resource:

  • Feigenbaum, Harvey, Jeffrey R. Henig, and Chris Hamnett. 1999. Shrinking the state: The political underpinnings of privatization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book describes how privatization in education across many countries has reshaped the balance between the state and the market. Utilizing a comparative political analysis in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, the authors argue that these policies benefit some students and adversely affect others.

    Find this resource:

  • Henig, Jeffery R. 2013. The end of exceptionalism in American education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book discusses the transfer of American education system decision-making power from the level of local and state school board control to that of higher levels of government.

    Find this resource:

  • Hess, Frederick. 1999. Spinning wheels: The politics of urban school reform. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this book, Hess argues that many of the problems in urban education are the result of fragmented reform—or reforms that continually cycle through school systems, often with different incentives for various stakeholders. To combat this policy churn, Hess recommends institutional changes that allow schools to develop expertise in specific instructional approaches.

    Find this resource:

  • Maryl, Damon. 2016. Secular conversion: Political institutions and religious education in the United States and Australia, 1800–2000. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781316217368Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this book, Maryl investigates how the institutional structure of the state shapes secularization. Maryl analyzes the United States and Australia to explain how political structures have shaped religious education, specifically through their administrative structures, electoral systems, and legal procedures.

    Find this resource:

  • Payne, Charles. 2008. So much reform, so little change: The persistence of failure in urban schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Payne argues that the majority of policy discussions are disconnected from what occurs in most urban neighborhoods and that neither the Democratic nor the Republican parties have improved educational reform. Both of these parties exhaust their resources pursuing educational reforms that are not practical for urban districts. This book includes an examination of successes and failures of urban school reforms.

    Find this resource:

Institutions

School organization varies widely across settings and institutions. The institution can play an important role in the educational experiences and outcomes of students. The works included here offer a broad insight into the predominant educational institutions (for a discussion of private schools and homeschooling, see School Choice). Bidwell 1965 provides a conceptual foundation for analyzing schools as a unique type of formal organization that influences the education process. In Ramirez and Boli 1987, the authors provide an exploration of the construction of mass schooling in Europe and worldwide. Baker and LeTedre 2005 discusses the similarities and differences between schooling in the United States and in other countries. Bryk and Schneider 2002 looks within the schools and articulates the role of trust relationships in school institutions. Baker 2014 argues that the US education system is a primary institution that greatly influences the economy, politics, religion, and other aspects of society. See also Bryk, et al. 2010 and Bulkley, et al. 2010.

  • Baker, David. 2014. The schooled society: The educational transformation of global culture. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this book, Baker argues that education is a primary institution that has transformed, influenced, and defined society. Baker argues the effects of school on aspects of society, such as the economy, politics, and religion.

    Find this resource:

  • Baker, David, and Gerald K. LeTedre. 2005. National differences, global similarities: World culture and the future of schooling. Stanford, CA: Stanford Social Sciences.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book uses US schools as a reference point for providing a description of school as a global institution. Drawing on a four-year investigation in forty-seven countries, Baker and LeTedre show the implications of current trends in student achievement, school curriculum, and teaching practice.

    Find this resource:

  • Bidwell, Charles E. 1965. The school as a formal organization. In Handbook of organizations. Edited by James G. March, 972–1022. Rand McNally Sociology Series. Chicago: Rand McNally.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this essay, Bidwell argues that teaching practice is resistant to new organizational routines, largely because teaching is idiosyncratic and highly autonomous. Although most schools have a set curriculum and other formal structures, Bidwell argues that schools are more likely to have relatively weak organizational ties between teachers and classrooms.

    Find this resource:

  • Bryk, Anthony S., and Barbara Schneider. 2002. Trust in schools: A core resource for improvement. Rose Series in Sociology. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Bryk and Schneider examine the role of relational trust in schools using quantitative and qualitative longitudinal data. They argue that the extent of trust and effective social relationships among teachers, principals, and parents are an important influence on the dynamics of school improvement.

    Find this resource:

  • Bryk, Anthony S., Penny Bender Sebring, Elaine Allensworth, Stuart Luppescu, and John Q. Easton. 2010. Organizing schools for improvement: Lessons from Chicago. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzing seven years of comprehensive data from elementary schools in the Chicago Public Schools, the authors identify effective practices and conditions necessary for school improvement. These factors include school leadership, professional capacity of faculty and staff, and a student-centered learning climate.

    Find this resource:

  • Bulkley, Katrina E., Jeffrey R. Henig, and Henry M. Levin. 2010. Between public and private: Politics, governance, and the new portfolio models for urban school reform. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examine the utilization of a “portfolio management model” in school district reform, wherein a central office oversees disparate organizational and curricular structures within a district, such as traditional schools and charter schools. The authors discuss the strengths and limitations of this type of reform.

    Find this resource:

  • Ramirez, Francisco O., and John Boli. 1987. The political construction of mass schooling: European origins and worldwide institutionalization. Sociology of Education 60.1: 2–17.

    DOI: 10.2307/2112615Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article explores the origins of large-scale educational systems in Europe and the subsequent institutionalization of mass education around the world. Ramirez and Boli argue that the political, economic, and cultural development of Europe in the 19th century led to a highly institutionalized society and educative process.

    Find this resource:

Early Childhood Education

Historically, education in the United States has focused on primary and secondary education. Since the 1970s, however, there has been an increased focus on the role of early childhood education (prior to the age of seven) for student success. Early childhood policies are often targeted as a means to improve educational equality. Magnuson and Waldfogel 2005 explores the gaps in school readiness among children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds in the United States. Vinovskis 2005 traces the history of early childhood programs in the United States, from the first program to early-21st-century policy, and discusses the implications of early childhood policies. Barnett 1995 examines several early childhood care and educational programs—highlighting their positive influence on child outcomes and future policy considerations. Hart and Risley 2003 offers data on the development of a child’s vocabulary and the inequality of development in children from different family backgrounds.

  • Barnett, W. Steven. 1995. Long-term effects of early childhood programs on cognitive and school outcomes. The Future of Children 5.3: 25–50.

    DOI: 10.2307/1602366Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reviews thirty-six studies that examine the effects of model projects and public programs for children from low-income families. The findings suggest that early childhood programs can provide considerable short-term benefits in addition to long-term advantages, concluding with policy recommendations.

    Find this resource:

  • Hart, Betty, and Todd R. Risley. 2003. The early catastrophe: The 30 million word gap by age 3. American Educator 27.1: 4–9.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This longitudinal study of forty-two families found different rates of vocabulary development for children of varying socioeconomic backgrounds. By age three, children from advantaged families have heard, on average, thirty million more words than children from disadvantaged families. Exposure to high-quality language was predictive of children’s vocabulary and reading performance in elementary school.

    Find this resource:

  • Magnuson, Katherine A., and Jane Waldfogel. 2005. Early childhood care and education: Effects on ethnic and racial gaps in school readiness. The Future of Children 15.1: 169–196.

    DOI: 10.1353/foc.2005.0005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines differences among the experiences of children of various racial and ethnic backgrounds regarding early childhood care and education. Magnuson and Waldfogel argue that incremental changes in enrollment or quality of care and education will do little to narrow school readiness gaps. However, they argue that policies should focus on improving the experiences of black, Hispanic, racial and ethnic heritage, and low-income children.

    Find this resource:

  • Vinovskis, Maris A. 2005. The birth of head start: Preschool education policies in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226856735.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book provides a historical perspective of early childhood policies, beginning with Project Head Start in 1964. Since the creation of this policy, a number of programs have appeared that support the development of young children. Vinovskis discusses the political implications and future of this policy area.

    Find this resource:

Elementary and Secondary Education

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act passed in 1965, a part of the “War on Poverty,” creating a national formal organization for primary and secondary schools in the United States. The early-21st-century reauthorization of the law is called the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which was the eighth such reauthorization. Its ninth revision was the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, maintaining the high accountability standards of No Child Left Behind while offering more control to states. Although primary and secondary school is universally offered in the United States, this is not necessarily the case internationally; Heyneman and Loxley 1983 and Alexander 2001 describe and examine the importance of primary education in the United States and internationally. Lucas 1999 explores how high schools can produce inequality of education through differential access to curriculum and student tracking. Frank, et al. 2008 studies social contexts of high school students using their math course–taking behavior and how student’s “local positions,” or the clusters of students within the high school, influence social norms and academic effort. Crosnoe 2011 examines how adolescents navigate the complex social dynamics of American high schools. See also Oakes 2005, Oakes and Saunders 2008, and Rumberger 2011.

  • Alexander, Robin J. 2001. Culture and pedagogy: International comparisons in primary education. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book provides a comparison of primary and secondary elementary schooling in England, France, India, Russia, and the United States. Alexander explores how the teacher, school values and organization, local pressures, national policy, and political tension shape teaching and learning.

    Find this resource:

  • Crosnoe, Robert. 2011. Fitting in, standing out: Navigating the social challenges of high school to get an education. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511793264Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Crosnoe explores the complex environment of American high schools from a sociological perspective. Drawing on national statistics, interviews, and observations within a single school, this book examines how teenagers navigate the social dynamics of high school while transitioning into adulthood.

    Find this resource:

  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Pub. L. No. 889–10, 79 Stat. 27 (1965).

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This legislation, signed in 1965 as a foundation of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” provided funding for primary and secondary education in an attempt to create equal access to quality education, promoting high standards for academic achievement and accountability. This act has been renewed, with modifications, every five years after its adoption, under various names such as the No Child Left Behind Act and the Every Student Succeeds Act.

    Find this resource:

  • Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, Pub. L. No. 114–95, 114 Stat. 1177 (2015–2016).

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The Every Student Succeeds Act replaced the No Child Left Behind Act by shifting public education from national to local and state control. Accountability measures resulting from this act expanded from test scores to include needs assessments for schools and learning communities, plans for federal funding, program implementation, and monitoring protocols.

    Find this resource:

  • Frank, Kenneth A., Chandra Muller, Kathryn S. Schiller, et al. 2008. The social dynamics of mathematics coursetaking in high school. American Journal of Sociology 113.6: 1645–1696.

    DOI: 10.1086/587153Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using data from the Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement Study, Frank and his colleagues examine how peers within a similar social network contribute to differences in academic effort. The authors argue that adolescents’ social contexts are defined, in part, by clusters of students, and females are highly responsive to the norms of these student clusters.

    Find this resource:

  • Heyneman, Stephen P., and William A. Loxley. 1983. The effect of primary-school quality on academic achievement across twenty-nine high- and low-income countries. American Journal of Sociology 88.6: 1162–1194.

    DOI: 10.1086/227799Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Heyneman and Loxley challenge the belief that student and family background characteristics are the biggest contributors to student achievement. Using student achievement data from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, the authors assert that school and teacher quality are more salient, particularly for students in low-income countries.

    Find this resource:

  • Lucas, Samuel Roundfield. 1999. Tracking inequality: Stratification and mobility in American high schools. Sociology of Education Series. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this book, Lucas explores formal academic tracking in US high schools. Using nationally representative data, he examines the curriculum structure, the location of students within this structure, and the consequences of tracking for an individual’s postsecondary and career path.

    Find this resource:

  • Mittleman, Joel, and Jennifer L. Jennings. 2018. Accountability, achievement, and inequality in American public schools: A review of the literature. In Handbook of the sociology of education in the 21st century. Edited by Barbara Schneider and Guan Saw, 510–529. New York: Springer.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this chapter, Mittleman and Jennings review accountability systems in US schools by reviewing the social science literature. The authors document the history of accountability in schools and review the impacts of the systems in terms of instruction, student outcomes, and policy feedback.

    Find this resource:

  • No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-110, 115 Stat. 1425 (2002).

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This legislation is a standards-based education reform that significantly increased the accountability of schools. These federal statutes included guidelines for states to create rigorous curriculum standards and benchmarks for their students, in addition to standardized ways of measuring student achievement.

    Find this resource:

  • Oakes, Jeannie. 2005. Keeping track: How schools structure inequality. 2d ed. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Oakes examines the role schools play in reproducing inequalities through the sorting of students into different academic tracks. This second edition includes an updated discussion of the “tracking wars” in schools and provides an examination of the assumptions and implications of continued tracking practices in secondary schools.

    Find this resource:

  • Oakes, Jeannie, and Marisa Saunders. 2008. Beyond tracking: Multiple pathways to college, career, and civic participation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Continuing the discussion of tracking in high school, Oakes and coauthor Saunders offer an innovative alternative to tracking—a multiple pathways approach. This approach is built on the notion that American high schools should provide both academic and real-world foundations for all students. The four main components of the multiple pathways system include college-preparatory core, professional/technical core, field-based learning and realistic workplace simulations, and additional support services.

    Find this resource:

  • Rumberger, Russell W. 2011. Dropping out: Why students drop out of high school and what can be done about it. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.4159/harvard.9780674063167Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book asks the straightforward yet critical questions: Who drops out? Why? And what happens after they drop out? Vulnerable students can often be targeted early in their school careers and Rumberger argues for interventions that can keep students in school and away from a potential future of poverty, crime, and increased health problems.

    Find this resource:

Higher Education

Literature on higher education includes the structure and policies of varying higher education institutions as well as examines the influence of higher education on outcomes later in life. MacLeod 2009 provides an ethnographic study of how teenagers from a housing project in the United States develop and attain their future aspirations. Schneider and Stevenson 1999 studies the educational and occupational ambitions of adolescents and argues that many lack support in planning and reaching their desired goals. Armstrong and Hamilton 2015 investigates how young women’s college experiences lead to their academic outcomes, social lives, and labor-market opportunities. Karabel 2005 explores how an administrative regime evolved in three leading organizations (e.g., Harvard, Princeton, and Yale) in one field. Espenshade and Radford 2009 explores persistent inequality in education at colleges and universities in the United States. Arum and Roksa 2011 investigates what students are learning in college and argues that a sizable number of students are not learning essential knowledge and skills. Arum, et al. 2018 examines the college experiences of students from different socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. Finally, Rosenbaum 2001 describes the relationships between employers and high school, and preparing students for careers. See also Bowen, et al. 2009 and Attewell and Lavin 2007.

  • Armstrong, Elizabeth, and Laura Hamilton. 2015. Paying for the party: How college maintains inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors investigate how young women’s college experience lead to their academics, social lives, and labor-market participation. This book provides a longitudinal qualitative study that includes extensive ethnographic observation and interviews. The authors also question current policymakers on whether our higher education provides a path to social mobility for all who wish for such mobility.

    Find this resource:

  • Arum, Richard, and Josipa Roksa. 2011. Academically adrift: Limited learning on college campuses. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Arum and Roksa investigate students’ learning in college. Using data from more than twenty-three hundred undergraduates at twenty-four institutions, the authors found differences in academic learning, time on studies, and social activities among the students at different types of universities.

    Find this resource:

  • Arum, Richard, Josipa Roksa, Jacqueline Cruz, and Blake Silver. 2018. Student experiences in college. In Handbook of sociology of education in the 21st century. Edited by Barbara Schneider and Guan Saw, 421–441. New York: Springer.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this book chapter, Arum and colleagues argue for a broader view of college student academic and social experiences—one couched in historical and institutional contexts. These authors focus on the various college experiences of students from different demographic backgrounds, such as socioeconomic and racial groups.

    Find this resource:

  • Attewell, Paul, and David E. Lavin. 2007. Passing the torch: Does higher education for the disadvantaged pay off across the generations? Rose Series in Sociology. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examining evidence from multiple cohorts of women who enrolled at the City University of New York after the start of the university’s “open admissions” policy, Attewell and Lavin examine the idea that education can support upward social mobility. Following these women over thirty years, this study analyzes the impact of higher educational attainment on the achievement of the women’s children.

    Find this resource:

  • Bowen, William, Matthew Chingos, and Michael McPherson. 2009. Crossing the finish line: Completing college at America’s public universities. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book attempts to understand the college dropout crisis in the United States. Using data from twenty-one state universities and four statewide higher education systems, the authors identify challenges that low-income and minority students face regarding the costs of college, lower graduation rates, and longer time-to-degree, and they describe several reforms that policymakers could adopt to improve these outcomes.

    Find this resource:

  • Espenshade, Thomas J., and Alexandria Walton Radford. 2009. No longer separate, not yet equal: Race and class in elite college admission and campus life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book raises the research question: are US elite colleges admitting and successfully educating a diverse student body? Using data from more than nine thousand students who applied to selective institutions, the authors investigate admission advantages for minorities as well as race- and class-related gaps in academic achievements, tuition costs, and satisfaction with college experiences.

    Find this resource:

  • Karabel, Jerome. 2005. The chosen: The hidden history of admission and exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author studies the history of college admissions at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton from 1900 to 2005 and provides both a view of institutional power and of the evolution of gatekeeping tools across organizations. This book also reveals the changing dynamics of power and privilege in America over the past century.

    Find this resource:

  • MacLeod, Jay. 2009. Ain’t no makin’ it: Aspirations and attainment in a low-income neighborhood. 3d ed. Boulder, CO: Westview.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This urban ethnography follows a group of low-income teenagers through school and into adulthood, exploring how social inequality is reproduced from one generation to the next. MacLeod uses this study to argue how inequality is created, sustained, and legitimized in the United States.

    Find this resource:

  • Rosenbaum, James E. 2001. Beyond college for all: Career paths for the forgotten half. Rose Series in Sociology. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book focuses on this crisis in the American labor market. Rosenbaum describes findings from survey and interview data and argues that alignment in the perception and actions between students, educators, and employers is absent. In contrast to countries such as Germany and Japan, misinformation, student disengagement, and lack of trust between schools and employers poses challenges to young adults in the United States.

    Find this resource:

  • Schneider, Barbara, and David Stevenson. 1999. The ambitious generation: America’s teenagers, motivated but directionless. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Schneider and Stevenson argue that American teenagers have ambitious educational and occupational expectations, yet often lack the ability to achieve their goals. The study includes seven thousand teenagers and offers specific guidance based on their findings for how parents and teachers can better support adolescents in their efforts to achieve their ambitions.

    Find this resource:

School Choice

School choice policy is largely built on the economic theory of choice and free markets, where individuals choose their educational institution. A classic essay, Friedman 2002 proposes choice theory in education and discusses a free market system for schools. Hirschman 1970 further explores choice theory and the responses individuals have to their choices. Chubb and Moe 1990 argues for increased school choice and competition as a means to increase student achievement. McEwan and Carnoy 2000 evaluates the use of voucher systems in Chile. Bryk, et al. 1993 analyzes the effect of attending Catholic schools compared to public schools. Carnoy, et al. 2005 uses student gain scores to more accurately compare charter and public school effectiveness. Bettinger 2005 evaluates the effects of charter schools, both on within-school student achievement and on the achievement of neighboring public schools. Cooper and Sureau 2007 discusses the politics of homeschooling in the United States, an increasingly popular educational choice for families. Lubienski and Lubienski 2013 uses demographic information to claim public schools as more effective than private schools for creating gains in student achievement. See also Lubienski and Weitzel 2010 and Fabricant and Fine 2012.

  • Bettinger, Eric P. 2005. The effect of charter schools on charter students and public schools. Economics of Education Review 24.2: 133–147.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2004.04.009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article evaluates the changes in test scores of students attending charter schools as well as the effects of charter schools on students at neighboring public schools. Bettinger argues that there were no significant effects on test scores for neighboring public schools when charters were introduced.

    Find this resource:

  • Bryk, Anthony, Valerie Lee, and Peter Holland. 1993. Catholic schools and the common good. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book examines US Catholic high schools to understand if students are better educated there or in public schools. The authors argue that Catholic schools have a positive effect on student achievement, particularly in reducing disparities between disadvantaged students and their privileged counterparts. They cite Catholic schools’ moral imperative as a key factor in driving educational quality.

    Find this resource:

  • Carnoy, Martin, Rebecca Jacobsen, Lawrence Mishel, and Richard Rothstein. 2005. The charter school dust-up: Examining the evidence on enrollment and achievement. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Carnoy and colleagues employ student achievement data to compare charter schools with traditional public schools. Using achievement gains, as opposed to static test scores, the authors determine that contrary to much public discourse, charter schools in New York City performed worse than comparable public schools.

    Find this resource:

  • Chubb, John, and Terry Moe. 1990. Politics, markets, and America’s schools. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chubb and Moe, in this book, argue that reforms for educational change in the 1980s did not address the core of the problem they aimed to solve. Chubb and Moe recommend a dramatic change; that school choice and competition should be the basis for school improvement and increased student achievement.

    Find this resource:

  • Cooper, Bruce S., and John Sureau. 2007. The politics of homeschooling: New developments, new challenges. Educational Policy 21.1: 110–131.

    DOI: 10.1177/0895904806296856Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, Cooper and Sureau describe the rapid growth of the homeschooling movement in the United States. They describe how homeschooling families are organized and the families’ relationships with public institutions.

    Find this resource:

  • Fabricant, Michael, and Michelle Fine. 2012. Charter schools and the corporate makeover of public education: What’s at stake? New York: Teachers College Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors analyze empirical data to determine whether charter schools are an authentic alternative to public schools. Fabricant and Fine discuss the history, politics, and economic motivation behind the charter school movement and its effects on student outcomes.

    Find this resource:

  • Friedman, Milton. 2002. Capitalism and freedom. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226264189.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this classic economics text, Friedman argues that competitive capitalism serves as a mechanism for economic choice and as a necessary condition for political freedom. He outlines a free market system for schools, using vouchers as a means to exercise choice and competition with the primary goal of enhancing school quality. Originally published in 1962.

    Find this resource:

  • Hirschman, Albert O. 1970. Exit, voice, and loyalty: Responses to decline in firms, organizations, and states. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Hirschman describes several ways dissatisfaction is expressed in firms—through exit (leaving the organization) and voice (exerting influence for change from within the organization). This argument can be applied to school choice, where schools are firms and students and their families represent members.

    Find this resource:

  • Lubienski, Christopher, and Sarah Lubienski. 2013. The public school advantage: Why public school outperform private schools. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226089072.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Influenced by recent debates regarding market-based school solutions such as school choice and increased privatization of schools, Lubienski and Lubienski argue against the belief that private schools are superior to public schools, offering evidence that public schools are better-performing. These authors argue that superior performance by private school students is attributable to demographics, and they correct for demographic measures to show that gains in student achievement are higher in public schools.

    Find this resource:

  • Lubienski, Christopher, and Peter Weitzel. 2010. The charter school experiment: Expectations, evidence, and implications. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book examines the unintended impacts of charter schools over the last twenty years. In this comprehensive exploration, the authors discuss how the purpose of charter schools evolved from their original goals of introducing competition into the education system to encouraging innovation and providing more equitable access to quality education.

    Find this resource:

  • McEwan, Patrick J., and Martin Carnoy. 2000. The effectiveness and efficiency of private schools in Chile’s voucher system. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 22.3: 213–239.

    DOI: 10.3102/01623737022003213Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article evaluates the comparative effectiveness and efficiency of private and public schools in Chile. Findings show that nonreligious voucher schools are marginally less effective than public schools in the fourth grade. When assessing student achievement, Catholic voucher schools are somewhat more effective than public ones.

    Find this resource:

International Perspectives

Educational reform presents similar challenges in the United States as in many developed and developing countries. A comparative perspective in educational research highlights shared patterns and diverse solutions, and can lead to an enhanced understanding of how to improve education. Carnoy 2000 introduces the relationship between globalization and education, examining how globalization influences the quality and financing of education, in addition to labor market outcomes. In Levin and Lockheed 2012, the authors analyze case studies from eight different countries to inform strategies that can improve education for children in low-income communities. McPherson and Willms 1987 examines the effects of a comprehensive reorganization initiative on reducing social class inequalities in Scotland. Comparing the Finnish educational system to other developed countries, Sahlberg 2011 provides a detailed description of the success of educational reform in Finland. The authors of Schmidt, et al. 1997 use a comparative analysis of fifty different countries to reveal the splintered nature of curriculum and instruction in the United States. Torney-Purta, et al. 1999 examines case studies from twenty-four countries to understand how different educational policies and practices influence civic education and knowledge. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2011 provides synopses of country profiles, recommending improvements to the US education system based on features of high-scoring countries’ systems. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 2015 highlights success and challenges of the international effort to provide education for all.

  • Carnoy, Martin. 2000. Globalization and educational reform. In Globalization and education: Integration and contestation across cultures. Edited by Nelly P. Stromquist and Karen Monkman, 43–61. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Carnoy discusses how globalization influences education, in particular globalization’s impact on the financing of education, labor market outcomes, and the quality of national education systems. This chapter also highlights the role of comparative research that uses international assessments (e.g., Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) in understanding the differences among countries.

    Find this resource:

  • Levin, Henry, and Marlaine E. Lockheed, eds. 2012. Effective schools in developing countries. Routledge Library Editions: Education 8. New York: Routledge.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This volume contains eight case studies describing educational initiatives for children in poverty in nations including Brazil, Burundi, Colombia, Ghana, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the United States. These independent initiatives can collectively inform the future development of effective strategies for children in low-income communities.

    Find this resource:

  • McPherson, Andrew, and J. Douglas Willms. 1987. Equalisation and improvement: Some effects of comprehensive reorganisation in Scotland. Sociology 21.4: 509–539.

    DOI: 10.1177/0038038587021004003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    McPherson and Willms examine a policy initiative that required schools to transition from a two- or three-tier selective system—whereby pupils were channeled into grammar, technical, or secondary modern schools—to a “comprehensive” system that served all pupils. Results show that this comprehensive reorganization had a small positive effect on students’ attainment and reduced social class inequalities in attainment.

    Find this resource:

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 2011. Lessons from PISA for the United States. Paris: OECD.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This report on student performance on the Programme for International Student Assessment has been greatly influential for curriculum reform in science, serving to analyze US PISA results while describing practices of the highest-scoring education systems.

    Find this resource:

  • Sahlberg, Pasi. 2011. Finnish lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? Series on School Reform. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chronicling the changes in the Finnish educational system over the past three decades, Sahlberg traces how educational reform evolved in Finland. Contrasting the Finnish system to the United States and other developed countries, this book provides a detailed account of education in Finland—a system focused on the professionalization of teachers, effective instructional leadership, and enhanced trust in schools.

    Find this resource:

  • Schmidt, William H., Curtis McKnight, and Senta Raizen. 1997. A splintered vision: An investigation of U.S. science and mathematics education. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study analyzes data from curriculum guides and textbooks from about fifty countries to examine differences in curricula, instructional practices, school factors, and social conditions. Schmidt and colleagues argue that the mathematics and science curriculum in the United States is splintered because there is no unified vision of how to educate students. Because of this splintered vision, the curricula, textbooks, and teaching in the United States are often overly broad in topic but lack depth in content.

    Find this resource:

  • Torney-Purta, Judith, John Schwille, and Jo-Ann Amadeo, eds. 1999. Civic education across countries: Twenty-four national case studies from the IEA Civic Education Project. Amsterdam: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This volume reports the results from qualitative case studies in twenty-four countries examining the circumstances, contents, and processes of civic education. Each chapter within this volume provides a thorough summary of these national case studies, highlighting important issues or themes within civic education.

    Find this resource:

  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 2015. EFA Global Monitoring Report – Education for All 2000–2015: Achievements and Challenges. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This influential report analyzed the progress of over 160 governments to reach the Dakar Framework goal of providing education for all individuals and provided recommendations for the 2015 global sustainable development agenda. The report takes stock of countries’ successes and challenges in meeting this goal, while identifying remaining concerns with regards to gender and racial disparity, the effect of income inequality on schooling, and the poor quality of learning at a primary level.

    Find this resource:

Social Resources

Access to resources outside of school can influence the educational experiences and outcomes of students, both domestically and globally. Stevenson and Baker 1992 and Baker, et al. 2001 explore the phenomenon of shadow education internationally. Cheng and Powell 2007 examines the transmission of resources across generations in biracial families. Fuller and Clarke 1994 considers the role of culture in understanding the effects of school. Putnam 2015 offers policy solutions to improve the outcomes of low-income students who are subject to the educational opportunity gap.

  • Baker, David P., Motoko Akiba, Gerald K. LeTendre, and Alexander W. Wiseman. 2001. Worldwide shadow education: Outside-school learning, institutional quality of schooling, and cross-national mathematics achievement. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 23.1: 1–17.

    DOI: 10.3102/01623737023001001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this study, the phenomenon of shadow education is explored using cross-national data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. The authors argue that institutional factors of education, including limited access and lower levels of funding, drive the use of shadow education.

    Find this resource:

  • Cheng, Simon, and Brian Powell. 2007. Under and beyond constraints: Resource allocation to young children from biracial families. American Journal of Sociology 112.4: 1044–1094.

    DOI: 10.1086/508793Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study to examine the differences in biracial families and monoracial families in the transmission of resources to young children in the United States. Cheng and Powell demonstrate the utility of using refined measures of biracial families (e.g., white father/Asian mother) to examine stratification practices in school.

    Find this resource:

  • Fuller, Bruce, and Prema Clarke. 1994. Raising school effects while ignoring culture? Local conditions and the influence of classroom tools, rules, and pedagogy. Review of Educational Research 64.1: 119–157.

    DOI: 10.3102/00346543064001119Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, Fuller and Clarke review how research on the effects of schooling is informed by research in developing countries. The authors discuss the aggregate effect of the school, review findings from developing countries on school inputs, and argue the importance for policy to consider cultural conditions in education.

    Find this resource:

  • Putnam, Robert. 2015. Our kids: The American dream in crisis. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this book, Putnam argues the presence of an opportunity gap preventing students from obtaining upward mobility. Putnam discusses differential outcomes for students with varying incomes, family backgrounds, and communities, arguing for policy solutions that benefit the disadvantaged.

    Find this resource:

  • Stevenson, David L., and David P. Baker. 1992. Shadow education and allocation in formal schooling: Transition to university in Japan. American Journal of Sociology 97.6: 1639–1657.

    DOI: 10.1086/229942Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article describes “shadow education,” which is described as educational activities that occur outside of formal schooling but enhance a student’s education. Stevenson and Baker explore how shadow education and social advantages of students in Japan are transferred from one generation to the next.

    Find this resource:

School Funding and Finance

Variation in school funding can introduce additional inequalities in education. Odden and Picus 2008 provides an overview of school finance and the implications for policy. Levin 1998 examines the cost of voucher programs and their effects on socioeconomic and racial segregation. Rebell 2009 and Yaffe 2007 describe the judicial influence and political debate over educational equity.

  • Levin, Henry. 1998. Educational vouchers: Effectiveness, choice, and costs. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 17.3: 373–392.

    DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6688(199822)17:3%3C373::AID-PAM1%3E3.0.CO;2-DSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article analyzes a substantial body of empirical data and demonstrates that private schools offer only a small advantage over public schools, particularly for graduation and postsecondary matriculation. In addition, school choice leads to greater socioeconomic and racial segregation of students. Relative costs of a voucher system appear to exceed those of the present system.

    Find this resource:

  • Odden, Allan, and Lawrence Picus. 2008. School finance: A policy perspective. 4th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book offers a comprehensive discussion of the history, law, and role of research in school finance, resource allocation, site-based management, and teacher compensation. Odden and Picus offer practical implications of how these different factors may impact the funding of schools in the United States.

    Find this resource:

  • Rebell, Michael A. 2009. Courts and kids: Pursuing educational equity through the state courts. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226706184.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rebell analyzes how and why state courts advocate for school desegregation and discusses the success of their efforts. He argues that courts have the authority and responsibility to pursue the goal of educational equity and offers recommendations for how courts can collaborate with policymakers to reach this goal.

    Find this resource:

  • Yaffe, Deborah. 2007. Other people’s children: The battle for justice and equality in New Jersey’s schools. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chronicling decades of funding debates in New Jersey, this book examines the legal and political battle for equitable school financing for all students. Yaffe discusses the responsibility that the United States has for its poor and the implications for the role of public schools in providing equal opportunities for students of all backgrounds.

    Find this resource:

Family and Community

Research on this topic considers the effects of the family and neighborhood on educational outcomes. Astone and McLanahan 1991 explores the effects of family structure and parenting on high school completion. Duncan and Brooks-Gunn 1997 includes research on children growing up in low socioeconomic environments. In Tate 2012, contributors explore the relationships among health, geography, and human development in education. Buchmann and DiPrete 2006 explores the impact of parental resources on gender gaps between female and male students in higher education. Schneider and Waite 2005 examines dual-career families to evaluate their approaches to work-life balance.

  • Astone, Nan Marie, and Sara S. McLanahan. 1991. Family structure, parental practices and high school completion. American Sociological Review 56.3: 309–320.

    DOI: 10.2307/2096106Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study uses data from the High School and Beyond study in the United States to examine the relationship between family structure and academic achievement. Astone and McLanahan’s work demonstrates that the effects of parental involvement on achievement and engagement vary by single-parent households, step-parent households, and biological-parent households.

    Find this resource:

  • Buchmann, Claudia, and Thomas A. DiPrete. 2006. The growing female advantage in college completion: The role of family background and academic achievement. American Sociological Review 71.4: 515–541.

    DOI: 10.1177/000312240607100401Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines the causes related to the growing female advantage in college completion. Buchmann and DiPrete argue that parental education levels, presence of a father at home, academic performance, and declining gender discrimination influence female-favorable patterns in college completion.

    Find this resource:

  • Duncan, Greg, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, eds. 1997. Consequences of growing up poor. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This interdisciplinary text includes contributions from social scientists that examine the influence of economic deprivation on child development. Through the consideration of heterogeneous life experiences within low-income settings, the contributors posited several solutions. These policy considerations focus on child welfare, income supplements, and childcare subsidies.

    Find this resource:

  • Schneider, Barbara, and Linda J. Waite, eds. 2005. Being together, working apart: Dual-career families and the work-life balance. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book, targeted toward academics, policymakers, and working parents, examines how families attempt to attain work-life balance by examining 500 dual-career families in eight communities across the United States.

    Find this resource:

  • Tate, William F., ed. 2012. Research on schools, neighborhoods, and communities: Toward civic responsibility. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book includes empirical and theoretical contributions from a diverse set of scholars who consider structural effects on schools. More specifically, the authors emphasize the relationship between geography and location on the social contexts of schools and the potential issues that students face, such as racial segregation, immigration, and college readiness.

    Find this resource:

Teachers

At the frontline of education, teachers are a critical component in the educative process. As such, they have been the focal point of education research and policy. Cochran-Smith, et al. 2008 addresses big questions in teacher education, such as the purposes of teacher education. Goldstein 2014 documents the history of the teaching profession. Darling-Hammond 2000 provides a review of teacher policies in the United States and encourages investment in policies that improve teacher quality. Rivkin, et al. 2005 examines the impact of teacher quality on student achievement. Lankford, et al. 2002 explores the distribution of teacher quality across schools over time and finds that low-income and low-achieving schools often have the least-qualified teachers. Konstantopoulos and Chung 2011 examines the persistence of teacher effects and argues that cumulative effects of teaching are an important consideration in developing teacher policy. McKenzie and Santiago 2005 comparatively analyzes international data, documents the importance of teachers in education, and provides positive examples of teacher policy across different countries. Ingersoll 2001 reveals that, contrary to the notion, there is a shortage of qualified teachers and that teacher turnover and retention are due to an excess quantity of teachers. See also Ingersoll 2003 and the Carnegie Knowledge Network.

  • Carnegie Knowledge Network.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This website brings together statistical research and information on improving teacher quality through value-added systems. Its mission is to funnel and translate the research that is being conducted and to provide a community where these findings can be incorporated into policies and teacher evaluation systems that can improve student learning.

    Find this resource:

  • Cochran-Smith, Marilyn, Sharon Feiman-Nemser, D. John McIntyre, and Kelly E. Demers., eds. 2008. Handbook of research on teacher education: Enduring questions in changing contexts. 3d ed. New York: Routledge.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This handbook features texts that address the purposes of teacher education, what teachers should be taught, how teachers learn to teach effectively, and other questions prominent in the scope of teacher education and teacher training. This handbook is composed of framing chapters, commentaries, and artifacts, such as essays, speeches, and articles.

    Find this resource:

  • Darling-Hammond, Linda. 2000. Teacher quality and student achievement: A review of state policy evidence. Education Policy Analysis Archives 8.1: 1–44.

    DOI: 10.14507/epaa.v8n1.2000Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines how teacher qualifications and other school inputs are associated with student achievement in the United States. Using the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), the National Assessment of Education Progress, a state survey of policies, and case studies, the author obtains findings that suggest that policy investments in teacher quality may improve student performance.

    Find this resource:

  • Goldstein, Dana. 2014. The teacher wars: A history of America’s most embattled profession. New York: Penguin Random House.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Covering 175 years of American education, Goldstein traces the progression of the teaching profession from the 19th century onward. Goldstein’s work begins with the Common School Movement and ends with the data-driven approach of the new Millennium, highlighting policies that include the feminization of the teaching force, the rise of unions, and increased teacher accountability.

    Find this resource:

  • Ingersoll, Richard. 2001. Teacher turnover and teacher shortages: An organizational analysis. American Educational Research Journal 38.3: 499–534.

    DOI: 10.3102/00028312038003499Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Ingersoll analyzes data from the SASS to understand factors related to the supply and retention of qualified teachers. Results show that staffing problems in schools are not related to a shortage of teachers. Data reveal that the demand for new teachers is driven by an excess of teachers leaving the profession, but not for retirement—creating a “revolving door” in and out of the classroom.

    Find this resource:

  • Ingersoll, Richard. 2003. Who controls teachers’ work? Power and accountability in America’s schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book describes the profession of teaching, examining if teachers are more similar to professionals or to factory workers in their autonomy, and if this influences their work. Ingersoll demonstrates that because of the nested nature of classrooms within schools, this influences the decision-making powers of the administration, district, and state—allowing teachers a certain degree of autonomy, but new federal and state policies could limit this autonomy.

    Find this resource:

  • Konstantopoulos, Spyros, and Vicki Chung. 2011. The persistence of teacher effects in elementary grades. American Educational Research Journal 48.2: 361–386.

    DOI: 10.3102/0002831210382888Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors use data from Project STAR (Project Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio) to understand the persistence of teacher effects in elementary schools in the United States. The authors find that the effects of a teacher persist through sixth grade in mathematics, reading, and science. This suggests that cumulative effects of teachers may seriously impact student achievement.

    Find this resource:

  • Lankford, Hamilton, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff. 2002. Teacher sorting and the plight of urban schools: A descriptive analysis. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 24.1: 37–62.

    DOI: 10.3102/01623737024001037Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using New York State data, the authors first examine the variation in the average attributes of teachers across schools, identify schools with the least-qualified teachers, and assess the teacher distribution changes over time. The authors find that low-income, low-achieving New York City schools with high populations of nonwhite students often have the least-skilled teachers.

    Find this resource:

  • McKenzie, Phillip, and Paulo Santiago. 2005. Teachers matter: Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers. Education and Training Policy. Paris: OECD.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This report was conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2002–2004 and examines the role of teachers across twenty-five countries. The project illuminates concerns about teachers, teaching, and teacher policy. It also highlights positive policy examples that were shown to make a difference. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

    Find this resource:

  • Rivkin, Steven G., Eric A. Hanushek, and John F. Kain. 2005. Teachers, schools, and academic achievement. Econometrica 73.2: 417–458.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0262.2005.00584.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using multiple measurements over time, the authors explore the impact of schools and teachers on student achievement in the United States. They argue that a higher-quality teacher can have a greater influence on achievement as opposed to a significant reduction in class size, underscoring the importance of teacher effectiveness.

    Find this resource:

Equity and Equality

The ideals of equity and equality in education are often the aim of social policies and educational reforms—providing access to a quality education for all students in the United States. However, gaps in educational achievement and attainment persist, particularly for children of color and for students from low-income families. To understand the struggles over the structure and effectiveness of the educational system in the United States, Labaree 1997 discusses the tensions surrounding the competing goals of the American education system. Rothstein 2004 explores the various causes of the achievement gaps in education. Duncan and Murnane 2011 investigates a range of research and policies in the United States that contribute to inequalities in education. Buchmann and Hannum 2001 reviews the literature on stratification in education in developing countries. Jencks 1972 examines the social composition of schools in America and argues that the social composition of a school is associated with student achievement. Grubb and Lazerson 2007 discusses how social forces and policies produce advantages and privileges that contribute to growing inequalities in the workforce. Darling-Hammond 2010 argues that academic gaps are the result of opportunity gaps experienced by low-income and minority students. DiPrete and Buchmann 2013 discusses the gender gap in higher education. See also the Education Trust and The Equality of Opportunity Project.

  • Buchmann, Claudia, and Emily Hannum. 2001. Education and stratification in developing countries: A review of theories and research. Annual Review of Sociology 27:77–102.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.27.1.77Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article is a review of the research on inequality in education in developing regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Through their examination of cross-national studies, Buchmann and Hannum discuss the use of new data sources in research and the opportunities for researchers to collaborate on similar studies across fields.

    Find this resource:

  • Darling-Hammond, Linda. 2010. The flat world and education: How America’s commitment to equity will determine our future. Multicultural Education Series. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    With increasingly diverse student populations in the United States, schools are challenged to educate growing numbers of ethnic minorities and immigrants. This book describes how academic gaps are influenced by growing inequalities, particularly opportunity gaps experienced by low-income and minority students. Darling-Hammond discusses policy implications and reforms aimed at providing all students a more equitable education.

    Find this resource:

  • DiPrete, Thomas A., and Claudia Buchmann. 2013. The rise of women: The growing gender gap in education and what it means for American schools. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors provide useful explanations of changes in the school environment to understand the causes and the extent of the gender gap in higher education.

    Find this resource:

  • Duncan, Greg J., and Richard J. Murnane, eds. 2011. Whither opportunity? Rising inequality, schools, and children’s life chances. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this edited volume, a team of researchers from multiple disciplines examines the factors related to inequality in education in the United States, including family resources, neighborhoods, and school conditions—from birth to primary and secondary school experiences through college completion. The contributors suggest that rising inequality may compromise how schools function in America.

    Find this resource:

  • Education Trust.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The mission of this organization is to “ensure students of color and low-income students, pre-K through college, have an equitable chance at a good education.” The organization’s website contains research summaries and policy reports on reforms for all age groups. The organization’s core values support effectively using student data, improving teaching practices, drafting policy recommendations, and improving access and persistence in higher education.

    Find this resource:

  • The Equality of Opportunity Project.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This project, led by a group of economists and other social scientists, aims to find the most effective ways to address chronic poverty through data analysis. Specifically, this project aims to address declining upward income mobility, and improve the ability of children to have a higher standard to living than their parents.

    Find this resource:

  • Grubb, W. Norton, and Marvin Lazerson. 2007. The education gospel: The economic power of schooling. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Grubb and Lazerson challenge the notion that more schooling for more people is the solution to our social and economic problems. The book describes a mismatch between academic preparation provided in schools and the skills required for the workforce, suggesting that reforms should be targeted at providing more meaningful alignment between high school and postsecondary goals.

    Find this resource:

  • Jencks, Christopher. 1972. Inequality: A reassessment of the effect of family and schooling in America. New York: Basic Books.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book examines the impact that schools have on reducing inequality among students. Multiple analyses of a myriad of factors related to academic achievement suggest that educational reform is limited in its capacity to address these larger social issues. Jencks argues that fundamental economic reform is necessary to address social inequality.

    Find this resource:

  • Labaree, David F. 1997. Public goods, private goods: The American struggle over educational goals. American Educational Research Journal 34.1: 39–81.

    DOI: 10.3102/00028312034001039Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, the author presents three ideals of the American education system that have been the source of educational conflicts: democratic equality, social efficiency, and social mobility. Labaree posits that because there is no consensus among these competing goals of education, the structure and effectiveness of the education system has been adversely affected.

    Find this resource:

  • Rothstein, Richard. 2004. Class and schools: Using social, economic, and educational reform to close the black-white achievement gap. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this book, Rothstein analyzes various causes of the achievement gap, examining a broad range of research and literature on equality in education. This volume explores school factors as well as the impacts of health care, nutrition, parents, home, and community. The author also expands his arguments by including cognitive and soft skills (e.g., behavior) in his analysis.

    Find this resource:

Race and Ethnicity

The study of racial and ethnic diversity in education life focuses on understanding demographic trends for students and the experiences of the individual student. Carter 2013 argues that the cultural mismatch between teachers and students increases the achievement gap between majority and minority groups. Alexander, et al. 2011 examines the racial composition of schools and what happens to students over winter and summer breaks from school. The Brown v. Board of Education ruling declared separate but equal education unconstitutional. Cronin 2011 examines Boston Public Schools, with implications for urban school reform. Pattillo-McCoy 1999 explores the experiences of black middle-class families and how the black and white middle classes remain separate but unequal. Rumbaut and Portes 2001, Gonzales 2016, and Callahan and Muller 2013 describe the experiences and educational trajectories of the children of immigrants in the United States. Lastly, Kao and Tienda 1995 analyzes achievement differences between immigrant and native students in the United States and finds behavioral differences in parents that may explain variations in student achievement. See also Ferguson 2007, Tyson 2011, and Cronin 2011.

  • Alexander, Karl, Entwisle, Doris, and Olson, Linda. 2011. The long shadow family background, disadvantaged urban youth, and the transition to adulthood. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using a longitudinal sample of elementary students in Baltimore, Maryland, the researchers examine reading comprehension growth during winter (in school) and summer (out of school) for black and white students across segregated and mixed-race schools. They find that white and black students across all schools make less than expected growth during the school year. In the summer, however, black students in segregated schools made significantly less reading growth during the summer compared to their counterparts in mixed-race schools, thus compounding during-school gaps in reading comprehension.

    Find this resource:

  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This landmark US Supreme Court case overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 to declare segregation, the separate schooling of black and white students, unconstitutional. The decision declared separate educational facilities as “inherently unequal,” but it did not set a protocol in place for the desegregation of schools.

    Find this resource:

  • Callahan, Rebecca, and Chandra Muller. 2013. Coming of political age: American schools and the civic development of immigrant youth. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this book, Callahan and Muller examine how high schools play a role in integrating immigrant students’ civic participation using two large national surveys of adolescents and interviews data with social science teachers. The authors also expand their concerns to the high school civics curriculum and social science preparation of immigrant youth.

    Find this resource:

  • Carter, Prudence. 2013. Closing the opportunity gap: What America must do to give all children an even chance. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982981.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Prudence Carter discusses how schools’ sociocultural environments and practices matter to student engagement and achievement. Carter posits that the cultural mismatch between students and educators hinders educators’ capacity to engage students’ effective learning, which increases the achievement gap between majority group and other minority groups (e.g., black, Latino, and Native American).

    Find this resource:

  • Cronin, Joseph. 2011. Reforming Boston schools, 1930 to the present: Overcoming corruption and racial segregation. Palgrave Studies in Urban Education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230340978Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book provides a comprehensive history of reforms, politics, protests, and racial conflict in the Boston Public Schools. Examining segregation, busing, and white flight, Cronin explores what compels some parents to keep their students in their schools while others choose to leave. This analysis provides implications for the future of urban school reform.

    Find this resource:

  • Ferguson, Ronald F. 2007. Toward excellence with equity: An emerging vision for closing the achievement gap. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book summarizes fifteen years of research on the black-white achievement gap, looking at multiple factors and policies impacting racial disparities. Ferguson argues for a comprehensive, holistic approach, involving parents as key stakeholders in educational reforms to narrow gaps between black and white students.

    Find this resource:

  • Gonzales, Roberto G. 2016. Lives in limbo: Undocumented and coming of age in America. Oakland: Univ. of California Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation of 150 immigrants between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one, Gonzales investigates undocumented youths and their families in the K-12 system, as well as their job market participation. Gonzales also uncovers the aspirational differences between “college-goers” and “early exiters.” While different educational opportunities and aspirations were evident, ultimately, documentation status still determines younger people’s life chances from adolescence to adulthood.

    Find this resource:

  • Kao, Grace, and Marta Tienda. 1995. Optimism and achievement: The educational performance of immigrant youth. Social Science Quarterly 76.1: 1–19.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study uses the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 to examine the impact of generational status on achievement and college aspirations of eighth graders. Kao and Tienda find that behavioral differences between native and immigrant parents help to explain variations in academic performance between these student groups.

    Find this resource:

  • Pattillo-McCoy, Mary. 1999. Black picket fences: Privilege and peril among the black middle class. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book explores the black middle class in the United States, examining the advantages and boundaries that exist for this group, drawing on a three-year ethnographic study in a Southside Chicago neighborhood. Pattillo-McCoy demonstrates how the black and white middle classes remain separate and unequal.

    Find this resource:

  • Rosenbaum, J. E. 2001. Beyond college-for-all: Career paths for the forgotten half. ASA Rose Monograph Series. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book focuses on this crisis in the American labor market. Rosenbaum describes findings from survey and interview data and argues that the absence of alignment in the perception and actions among students, educators, and employers is a problem in the United States. In contrast to countries such as Germany and Japan, misinformation, student disengagement, and lack of trust between schools and employers pose challenges to young adults in the society.

    Find this resource:

  • Rumbaut, Rubén G., and Alejandro Portes, eds. 2001. Ethnicities: Children of immigrants in America. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This volume includes contributions by leading scholars of immigration and ethnicity who examine the lives and trajectories of the children of immigrants. The authors explore the rising second generation of immigrants growing up in the United States by focusing on youth of diverse national origins.

    Find this resource:

  • Tyson, Karolyn. 2011. Integration interrupted: Tracking, black students, and acting white after Brown. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736447.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book draws on ten years of ethnographic data to explore the role of the school in creating the oppositional culture observed among black students in their efforts to avoid “acting white.” The author argues that school practices since desegregation, particularly regarding within-school curriculum tracking among black students, have served to perpetuate anti-academic behavior among black students.

    Find this resource:

Social Class

Research on class-based variation in education examines how the social constraints of students and the structural opportunities available in education are related to the educational experiences and outcomes. One classic text that explores social class in education is Lareau 2000, in which the author uses ethnographic data to understand social class differences in parenting in the United States. The author of Anyon 1981 uses several case studies to examine differences in social class across school settings. Reardon 2011 describes increasing income inequalities and how this growing gap contributes to differences in educational outcomes. Lastly, Baker, et al. 2002 explores differences in socioeconomic status, school quality, and economic development across developing countries.

  • Anyon, Jean. 1981. Social class and school knowledge. Curriculum Inquiry 11.1: 3–42.

    DOI: 10.2307/1179509Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, Anyon analyzes data collected from case studies in five elementary schools in New Jersey and examines different social class settings. He argues that although the curriculum and materials were similar among the schools, their data suggest the social stratification of knowledge.

    Find this resource:

  • Baker, David P., Gerald K. LeTendre, and Brian Goesling. 2002. Socioeconomic status, school quality, and national economic development: A cross-national analysis of the “Heyneman-Loxley effect” on mathematics and science achievement. Comparative Education Review 46.3: 291–312.

    DOI: 10.1086/341159Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using 1990s Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study data, the authors examine the “Heyneman-Loxley (HL) effect” that suggested that school factors were more important than family socioeconomic status in determining student achievement in developing countries. This reassessment found the association between student achievement and family background to be similar across countries in the study, regardless of national income, which suggests that the HL effect has been reduced as access to schooling has increased.

    Find this resource:

  • Lareau, Annette. 2000. Home advantage: Social class and parental intervention in elementary education. 2d ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book discusses an ethnographic study that compares two elementary schools—one considered a working-class school and the other an upper-middle-class school, both in California. Lareau argues that parents from the working class are just as interested in their children’s education when compared to their counterparts; however, working-class parents are more likely to yield to the advice of teachers, guidance counselors, and other school professionals, who they regard as having special skills and insights.

    Find this resource:

  • Reardon, Sean F. 2011. The widening academic achievement gap between the rich and the poor: New evidence and possible explanations. In Whither opportunity? Rising inequality, schools, and children’s life chances. Edited by Greg J. Duncan and Richard J. Murnane, 91–116. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this chapter, Reardon explores the achievement gap among students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. This study investigates several explanations for this widening gap among students from varying income levels by analyzing several different national longitudinal data sources.

    Find this resource:

Special Education

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 established that students requiring special education are exposed to the least restrictive educational environment in US schools. Osgood 2008 chronicles over 120 years of the history of special education. Lastly, Carroll and Muller 2018 discusses the history and outcomes of formal and informal curricular differentiation.

  • Carroll, Jamie, and Chandra Muller. 2018. Curricular differentiation and its impact on different status groups including immigrants and students with disabilities. In Handbook of sociology of education in the 21st century. Edited by Barbara Schneider and Guan Saw, 285–309. New York: Springer.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter discusses the history of formal and informal curricular differentiation in US schools, highlighting the school outcomes (such as skill development and educational expectations) and non-school outcomes (such as health outcomes). Specifically, the chapter reports key findings on course-taking by race/ethnicity, gender, disability status, and immigrant status.

    Find this resource:

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, Pub. L. No. 101-476, 104 Stat. 1142 (2004).

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This legislation ensures that students with a disability are provided with the least restrictive environment that meets their needs, determining how states and agencies provide early education, and special education services. IDEA includes procedures for determining who receives special education services, parental rights, and individualized education programs (IEPs).

    Find this resource:

  • Osgood, Robert. 2008. The history of special education: A struggle for equality in American public schools. Westport, CT: Praeger.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this book, Robert L. Osgood documents the history of formal and informal special education settings in US public education by defining and characterizing special education, tracing the emergence of special education as a distinct department of public education, and discussing the status of children with disabilities as compared to their nondisabled peers.

    Find this resource:

back to top

Article

Up

Down