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While the achievement gap has dominated policy discussions over the past two decades, relatively little attention has been paid to a gap even more at odds with American ideals: the opportunity gap. Opportunity and achievement, while inextricably connected, are very different goals. Every American will not go to college, but every American should be given a fair chance to be prepared for college. In communities across the U.S., children lack the crucial resources and opportunities, inside and outside of schools that they need if they are to reach their potential.
Closing the Opportunity Gap offers accessible, research-based essays written by top experts who highlight the discrepancies that exist in our public schools, focusing on how policy decisions and life circumstances conspire to create the "opportunity gap" that leads inexorably to stark achievement gaps. They also describe sensible policies grounded in evidence that can restore and enhance opportunities. Moving beyond conventional academic discourse, Closing the Opportunity Gap will spark vital new conversations about what schools, parents, educators, and policymakers can and should do to give all children a fair chance to thrive.
Prudence Carter is Associate Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Sociology at Stanford University and co-director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. Dr. Carter's primary research agenda focuses on cultural explanations of academic and mobility differences among various racial and ethnic groups. Her most recent book is Stubborn Roots: Cultivating Cultural Flexibility and Equity in U.S. and South African Schools.
Kevin G. Welner is a professor of education policy in Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice program area at the University of Colorado Boulder, and he is the director of the National Education Policy Center. His work examines the use of research in policymaking, the intersection between education rights litigation and educational opportunity scholarship, and the school change process associated with equity-focused reform.