In the age of inequality, does public schooling make a difference?

March 20, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – More than 50 years ago, the landmark Coleman Report was published, positing that public schooling in the U.S. has little influence over inequality in the nation, but rather that any effects of schooling are countered by “the inequalities imposed on children by their home, neighborhood, and peer environment.” On March 22, PSTC Faculty Associate and Associate Professor of Sociology Margot Jackson will participate in a panel discussion on public education in light of the Report.

The Report, recognized as the most important study on education in the 20th century, led to countless others studies that attempted to answer how, when, and why schools can make a difference to economic and social mobility. It spurred a special November 2017 volume of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, for which Jackson was guest editor with a goal of bringing "together scholarship from sociologists, political scientists, psychologists, education economists, legal scholars, and other education scholars in order to understand the current landscape of research on inequality of educational opportunity," she said.

The upcoming panel discussion draws from the special volume and will "capture what researchers have learned about inequality and educational opportunity since the Coleman Report, examine new empirical work on the effects of schools on the life changes of underserved youth, and address connections to policy and practice."

The ANNALS volume contains studies by Jackson as well as PSTC Associates Matthew KraftJohn Logan, and Michael White. The panel is a collaboration between the American Academy of Political and Social Science and the American Educational Research Association and will take place in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.