Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

The Equality of Educational Opportunity

November 8, 2017

Susan Moffitt, Director of the Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy, and Margot Jackson, Associate Professor of Sociology, co-edited a special issue of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. The volume arose from a Watson Collaboration Grant that Susan and Margot received in 2015-2016 that produced a one- day workshop/conference on the Coleman Report, followed by this special issue. (September 2017)

The Equality of Educational Opportunity study, commonly referred to as the Coleman Report, stands as a landmark in the development of American social policy and social inquiry. Released in July of 1966, it challenged prevailing ideas about inequality in American schools and ignited fierce debate that has endured over half of a century. This volume invited different research traditions—including sociology, political science, psychology, education, and law— to engage with each other to deepen understanding of some of the issues that the Coleman Report opened up, and to build on Coleman’s insights and findings. Articles in this volume examine how children’s family circumstances and parental engagement bear on skill development and student achievement, and how literacy development opportunities at home contribute to summer learning. They also probe the intersection of schools and families to examine how families differentially experience school policies that are ostensibly designed to improve equity, and how the interaction of families, schools, and the criminal justice system bear on students’ educational trajectories. Other articles examine how school finances contribute to educational opportunities, consider evidence from school policies, such as voucher policies, from other countries, and assess the impact of communities on educational opportunity.

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