Societal Context

Inequality Matters: Framing a Strategic Inequality Research Agenda

Young people in America today are growing up in an era of striking, and in some cases, unprecedented, social inequalities. Economic inequality is at a record high. Today 22% of all income in the US goes to top 1% of earners, while 50 years ago only 10% of total income went to the top 1%. This economic inequality is mirrored in the large educational, health, and political disparities between the children of the rich and the poor.

Residential Segregation by Income, 1970-2009

Every city or metropolitan area in the U.S. has higher- and lower-income neighborhoods. The extent to which these neighborhoods differ in their average socioeconomic status, however, varies considerably. Moreover, this socioeconomic residential sorting has grown substantially in the last 40 years (Reardon and Bischoff 2011a; Reardon and Bischoff 2011b; Watson 2009); the bulk of that growth occurred in the 1980s and in the 2000s.

60 Years After Brown: Trends and Consequences of School Segregation

Since the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, researchers and policymakers have paid close attention to trends in school segregation. While Brown focused on black-white segregation, we review the evidence regarding trends and consequences of both racial and economic school segregation. In general, the evidence regarding trends in racial segregation suggests that the most significant declines in black-white school segregation occurred at the end of the 1960s and the start of the 1970s.

Patterns and Trends in Racial Academic Achievement Gaps Among States, 1999-2011

In this paper we combine National Assessment of Educational Progress and state accountability test data to examine variation among states in achievement gap levels and trends. Although national trends in gaps have been well studied, little research has examined variation in gaps across states or the extent to which differences in state demographics or policies account for these differences.

Do Countries Paying Teachers Higher Relative Salaries Have Higher Student Mathematics Achievement?

Educators have long claimed that good teaching is the key to higher student achievement, as well as to other positive student outcomes, such as moral values and tolerance. Economists also have bought into this argument (Clotfelter, Ladd, & Vigdor, 2007; Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005; Wright, Horn, & Sanders, 1997).

Patterns of literacy among U.S. students

How well do U.S. students read? In this article, Sean Reardon, Rachel Valentino, and Kenneth Shores rely on studies using data from national and international literacy assessments to answer this question. In part, the answer depends on the specific literacy skills assessed. The authors show that almost all U.S. students can "read" by third grade, if reading is defined as proficiency in basic procedural word-reading skills.

The widening academic achievement gap between the rich and the poor

Almost fifty years ago, in 1966, the Coleman Report famously highlighted the relationship between family socioeconomic status and student achievement. Family socioeconomic characteristics continue to be among the strongest predictors of student achievement, but while there is a considerable body of research that seeks to tease apart this relationship, the causes and mechanisms of this relationship have been the subject of considerable disagreement and debate.