Charting Reform, Achieving Equity in a Diverse Nation

Edited by:
Gail L. Sunderman

A volume in the series: Research in Education Policy: Local, National, and Global Perspectives. Editor(s): Kenneth K. Wong, Brown University.

Published 2013

This book examines what equity means in a nation where the schools are becoming more diverse. The authors consider how well our educational reform policies, often framed in the language of equity and opportunity, measure up to the challenges of achieving equity in a diverse nation. While there is growing awareness of the increasing racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of the nation, there is little recognition of how these trends affect the schools, particularly in formerly homogeneous communities. At the same time, inequalities in student achievement between different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups persist, even as educational policy has intensified the focus on the achievement gap. These two challenges make definitions of equity and opportunity as urban problems obsolete and call for a critical examination of educational policy and reform from an equity perspective. Central themes include the critical examination of how equity is conceived under the law and in policy, the experiences of minority students in suburban schools, and the impact of current reform policies and strategies for achieving greater educational opportunities for all students.

This book is designed for graduate and undergraduate courses in educational policy and policy analysis, for policymakers interested in a critical examination of current reform policies and options, and educational leaders and administrators struggling with the implementation of reform mandates. From a policy perspective, it includes a survey of the evolution of educational policies and reforms since the 1960s and traces the mix of legal and legislative legacies that have informed educational policy and equity. It describes how trends in suburban diversification affect the schools, something that has largely escaped the attention of educational reformers. It provides school-based and non-school-based remedies for achieving equity in diversifying suburban communities and articulates alternatives to the current accountability for performance approach. It offers new and innovative analyses of current approaches to school reform, including an analysis of how accountability tests can create the illusion of reducing the achievement gap and an examination of the paradoxes of federally funded compensatory policies that incorporate market-based strategies. Novel approaches—such as social emotional learning and placed-based college access strategies—are examined through an equity lens.

Preface, Gail L. Sunderman. PART I: CONCEPTIONS OF EQUITY. Educational Equity and Reform: Have We Achieved Our Goals? Gail L. Sunderman. Wither the Suburban Ideal? Understanding Contemporary Suburban School Contexts, Erica Frankenberg. Equitable Public Education: “Getting Lost in the Shuffle”, Robert G. Croninger and Kathleen Mulvaney Hoyer. PART II: PROMISING STRATEGIES. The Potential of Economic Integration to Raise Academic Achievement for Low-Income Students, Heather Schwartz. Advancing Equity in an Integrated, Suburban Community, Gail L. Sunderman. Ford Foundation’s Efforts to Achieve Educational Equity: Measurable Reform or Quixotic Tilting? Marian A. Bott. PART III: EDUCATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY: EFFECTS ON STUDENT OUTCOMES AND EQUITY. The Roots of Score Inflation: An Examination of Opportunities in Two States’ Tests, Rebecca Holcombe, Jennifer L. Jennings, and Daniel Koretz. Racial and Socioeconomic Gaps in Social Skills Development: A Longitudinal Study of K-5 Children’s Growth Trajectories and the Effects of Parents and Schools, Xiaoyan Liu and Jaekyung Lee. Devil Is in the Details: Examining Equity Mechanisms in Supplemental Educational Services, Rudy Acosta, Patricia Burch, Annalee Good, and Mary S. Stewart. Local College Access Strategies: Examining the Equitable Distribution of Postsecondary Access in Michigan, Nathan Daun-Barnett and Irene Holohan-Moyer.