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Education and Poverty: Confronting the Evidence

Authors

  • Helen F. Ladd


Abstract

Current U.S. policy initiatives to improve the U.S. education system, including No Child Left Behind, test-based evaluation of teachers, and the promotion of competition are misguided because they either deny or set to the side a basic body of evidence documenting that students from disadvantaged households on average perform less well in school than those from more advantaged families. Because these policy initiatives do not directly address the educational challenges experienced by disadvantaged students, they have contributed little—and are not likely to contribute much in the future—to raising overall student achievement or to reducing achievement and educational attainment gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Moreover, such policies have the potential to do serious harm. Addressing the educational challenges faced by children from disadvantaged families will require a broader and bolder approach to education policy than the recent efforts to reform schools.

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