American Sociological Association


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  1. Education’s Limitations and Its Radical Possibilities

    by Prudence L. Carter, Spring 2018 Contexts

  2. Review Essays: Ivory Tower Fantasies about Affirmative Actions

    In a provocative 2002 essay, political scientist Jennifer Hochschild asks: why has affirmative action been so central to the American culture wars, more so than wage discrimination, underfunded public schools, and a litany of other social issues that have far greater impact on more black Americans?1 And why have social scientists paid affirmative action so little empirical attention, in contrast to the deep philosophical and legal thinking on the topic?
  3. Stigma of a Label Educational Expectations for High School Students Labeled with Learning Disabilities

    Poorer outcomes for youth labeled with learning disabilities (LDs) are often attributed to the student’s own deficiencies or cumulative disadvantage; but the more troubling possibility is that special education placement limits rather than expands these students’ opportunities. Labeling theory partially attributes the poorer outcomes of labeled persons to stigma related to labels.

  4. The Racial Composition of Neighborhoods and Local Schools: The Role of Diversity, Inequality, and School Choice

    In an education system that draws students from residentially based attendance zones, schools are local institutions that reflect the racial composition of their surrounding communities. However, with opportunities to opt out of the zoned public school system, the social and economic contexts of neighborhoods may affect the demographic link between neighborhoods and their public neighborhood schools.

  5. The Paradox of Persistence: Explaining the Black-White Gap in Bachelor’s Degree Completion

    Bachelor’s degree (BA) completion is lower among black students than among white students. In this study, we use data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, together with regression-based analytical techniques, to identify the primary sources of the BA completion gap. We find that black students’ lower academic and socioeconomic resources are the biggest drivers of the gap. However, we also find that black students are more likely to enroll in four-year colleges than are white students, given pre-college resources.
  6. Educational Inequality, Educational Expansion, and Intergenerational Income Persistence in the United States

    The children of high-income parents often become high-income adults, while their low-income peers often become low-income adults. Education plays a central role in this intergenerational income persistence. Because education-based inequalities grew in recent decades, many scholars predicted that intergenerational income persistence would increase. However, previous research suggests that it remained stable across recent cohorts. We address this puzzle.
  7. Risk and Race in Measuring Special Education Need

    George Farkas and Paul L. Morgan on improving special education provision through metric precision.
  8. U.S. Empire and the “Adaptive Education” Model: The Global Production of Race

    Following World War I, the U.S. Department of Labor worked with a large-scale commercial philanthropic endeavor called the Phelps Stokes Fund to transfer educational policies designed for African Americans to West Africa and South Africa. They specifically promoted the “adaptive education” model used at Tuskegee and the Hampton institutes for African American education. This model emphasized manual labor, Christian character formation, and political passivity as a form of racial uplift.
  9. Quantification, Inequality, and the Contestation of School Closures in Philadelphia

    Public education relies heavily on data to document stratified inputs and outcomes, and to design interventions aimed at reducing disparities. Yet despite the promise and prevalence of data-driven policies and practices, inequalities persist. Indeed, contemporary scholarship has begun to question whether and how processes such as quantification and commensuration contribute to rather than remediate inequality.
  10. Suspended Attitudes: Exclusion and Emotional Disengagement from School

    We know far less about the unintended social-psychological consequences of out-of-school suspensions on students than we do of the academic, behavioral, and civic consequences. Drawing on theories of socialization and deviance, I explore how suspension events influence students’ emotional engagement in school through changes in their attitudes. Using longitudinal middle school survey data connected to individual student administrative records, I find that students who receive out-of-school suspensions are psychologically vulnerable prior to their removal from school.