Contemporary public policy assumes that the achievement gap between black and white students could be closed if only schools would do a better job. According to Richard Rothstein, "Closing the gaps between lower-class and middle-class children requires social and economic reform as well as school improvement. Unfortunately, the trend is to shift most of the burden to schools, as if they alone can eradicate poverty and inequality." In this book, Rothstein points the way toward social and economic reforms that would give all children a more equal chance to succeed in school.
This book features: a summary of numerous studies linking school achievement to health care quality, nutrition, childrearing styles, housing stability, parental economic security, and more ; aA look at erroneous and misleading data that underlie commonplace claims that some schools "beat the demographic odds and therefore any school can close the achievement gap if only it adopted proper practices." ; and an analysis of how the over-emphasis of standardized tests in federal law obscures the true achievement gap and makes narrowing it more difficult.