Education

  • Sean Reardon

Leader: Sean Reardon

The purpose of the Education RG is to examine trends in the extent to which educational access and achievement are related to poverty and family background. The scholars working within this RG are examining state-level differences in the effects of social origins, uncovering the causes of the recent rise in the socioeconomic achievement gap, uncovering the causes of the yet more recent turnaround in this rise (among kindergarten children), and examining the ways in which high-achieving children from poor backgrounds can be induced to go to college. The following is a sampling of relevant CPI projects.

Reducing the race gap in test scores: How can the black-white gap in achievement test scores be eliminated? The new Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA) will provide the most systematic evidence to date on the capacity of school-district policies to reduce the gap.

Colleges and rising income inequality: Are colleges delivering upward mobility for those raised in poverty? The new “Mobility Report Card” will provide unusually detailed data on this fundamental question.

Poverty and schooling on reservations: The noted ethnographer Martin Sánchez-Jankowski is examining how education on reservations can be reformed to reduce dropout, poverty, and suicide. 

Education - CPI Research

Title Author Media
Asian children’s verbal development: A comparison of the United States and Australia Kate H. Choi, Amy Hsin, Sara S. McLanahan

Asian children’s verbal development: A comparison of the United States and Australia

Author: Kate H. Choi, Amy Hsin, Sara S. McLanahan
Publisher: Social Science Research
Date: 07/2015

Using longitudinal cohort studies from Australia and the United States, we assess the pervasiveness of the Asian academic advantage by documenting White-Asian differences in verbal development from early to middle childhood. In the United States, Asian children begin school with higher verbal scores than Whites, but their advantage erodes over time. The initial verbal advantage of Asian American children is partly due to their parent’s socioeconomic advantage and would have been larger had it not been for their mother’s English deficiency. In Australia, Asian children have lower verbal scores than Whites at age 4, but their scores grow a faster rate and converge towards those of Whites by age 8. The initial verbal disadvantage of Asian Australian children is partly due to their mother’s English deficiency and would have been larger had it not been for their Asian parent’s educational advantage. Asian Australian children’s verbal scores grow at a faster pace, in part, because of their parent’s educational advantage.

Whitewashing Academic Mediocrity Tomás R. Jiménez, Adam L. Horowitz

Whitewashing Academic Mediocrity

Author: Tomás R. Jiménez, Adam L. Horowitz
Publisher: Contexts
Date: 06/2015

In an outlier city in California, whiteness has become the new code for academic mediocrity and laziness.

Revisiting the "Americano Dream" Van C. Tran

Revisiting the "Americano Dream"

Author: Van C. Tran
Publisher: Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality
Date: 05/2015

Is Latino assimilation stalling out because of the recent recession, rising deportation rates, and the growing popularity of rural destinations?

"Two souls, two thoughts," two self-schemas: double consciousness can have positive academic consequences for African Americans T.N. Brannon, H.R. Markus, V.J. Taylor

"Two souls, two thoughts," two self-schemas: double consciousness can have positive academic consequences for African Americans

Author: T.N. Brannon, H.R. Markus, V.J. Taylor
Publisher: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Date: 04/2015

African Americans can experience a double consciousness-the two-ness of being an American and an African American. The present research hypothesized that: (a) double consciousness can function as 2 self-schemas-an independent self-schema tied to mainstream American culture and an interdependent self-schema tied to African American culture, and (b) U.S. educational settings can leverage an interdependent self-schema associated with African American culture through inclusive multicultural practices to facilitate positive academic consequences. First, a pilot experiment and Studies 1 and 2 provided evidence that double consciousness can be conceptualized as 2 self-schemas. That is, African Americans shifted their behavior (e.g., cooperation) in schema-relevant ways from more independent when primed with mainstream American culture to more interdependent when primed with African American culture. Then, Studies 3 and 4 demonstrated that incorporating African American culture within a university setting enhanced African Americans' persistence and performance on academic-relevant tasks. Finally, using the Gates Millennium Scholars dataset (Cohort 1), Study 5 conceptually replicated Studies 3 and 4 and provided support for one process that underlies the observed positive academic consequences. Specifically, Study 5 provided evidence that engagement with African American culture (e.g., involvement with cultural events/groups) on college campuses makes an interdependent self-schema more salient that increases African American students' sense of academic fit and identification, and, in turn, enhances academic performance (self-reported grades) and persistence (advanced degree enrollment in a long-term follow-up). The discussion examines double consciousness as a basic psychological phenomenon and suggests the intra- and intergroup benefits of inclusive multicultural settings.

The Promise of Early Interventions for Improving Socioeconomic Outcomes of Black Men Gregory Acs, Steven Martin

The Promise of Early Interventions for Improving Socioeconomic Outcomes of Black Men

Author: Gregory Acs, Steven Martin
Publisher: The Urban Institute
Date: 02/2015

This brief uses the Social Genome Model to assess the potential impact of various childhood and adolescent interventions on long-term outcomes for black men. In particular, we see that increasing parental emotional support and cognitive stimulation during early childhood and raising reading ability levels in mid-childhood have the greatest impact on later life educational attainment and income. The overall effects of successful interventions are modest for the entire population of black men but are somewhat larger for individuals that would be directly affected by the interventions. Our findings suggest that making substantial progress in improving the outcomes of black men will likely require many different interventions that reinforce one another throughout the life course.

education - CPI Affiliates

Derek Allen Neal's picture Derek Allen Neal Professor of Economics; Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research
University of Chicago
Robin Samuel's picture Robin Samuel Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Luxembourg
Jesse Shapiro's picture Jesse Shapiro George S. and Nancy B. Parker Professor of Economics; Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research
Brown University
Samuel R. Lucas's picture Samuel R. Lucas Professor of Sociology; Faculty Affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of California, Berkeley
John Meyer's picture John Meyer Professor of Sociology (Emeritus), Professor of Education (by courtesy)
Stanford University

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Education - Other Research

Title Author Media
Is It Worth It? Postsecondary Education and Labor Market Outcomes for the Disadvantaged Ben Backes, Harry J Holzer, Erin Dunlop Velez

Is It Worth It? Postsecondary Education and Labor Market Outcomes for the Disadvantaged

Author: Ben Backes, Harry J Holzer, Erin Dunlop Velez
Publisher: IZA Journal of Labor Policy
Date: 01/2015

In this paper we examine a range of postsecondary education and labor market outcomes, with a particular focus on minorities and/or disadvantaged workers. We use administrative data from the state of Florida, where postsecondary student records have been linked to UI earnings data and also to secondary education records. Our main findings can be summarized as follows: 1) Gaps in secondary school achievement can account for a large portion of the variation in postsecondary attainment and labor market outcomes between the disadvantaged and other students, but meaningful gaps also exist within achievement groups, and 2) Earnings of the disadvantaged are hurt by low completion rates in postsecondary programs, poor performance during college, and not choosing high-earning fields. In particular, significant labor market premia can be earned in a variety of more technical certificate and Associate (AA) programs, even for those with weak earlier academic performance, but instead many disadvantaged (and other) students choose general humanities programs at the AA (and even the BA level) with low completion rates and low compensation afterwards. A range of policies and practices might be used to improve student choices as well as their completion rates and earnings.

College course scarcity and time to degree Michal Kurlaendera, Jacob Jackson, Jessica S. Howell, Eric Grodsky

College course scarcity and time to degree

Author: Michal Kurlaendera, Jacob Jackson, Jessica S. Howell, Eric Grodsky
Publisher: Economics of Education Review
Date: 08/2014

College students are taking longer to earn baccalaureate degrees now than ever before, but little is known about institutional factors that may contribute to this trend. In this paper we investigate an important institutional constraint—course scarcity—that we hypothesize may be associated with increased time to degree. We employ a unique administrative dataset from a large, moderately selective, public institution and use an instrumental variables approach, identifying off the random registration times assigned to students. Results suggest that course scarcity does not delay students’ graduation. We explore alternative explanations for our findings and discuss a variety of other factors correlated with time to baccalaureate completion.

Paying for Performance: The Education Impacts of a Community College Scholarship Program for Low-Income Adults Lisa Barrow, Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, Cecilia Elena Rouse, Thomas Brock

Paying for Performance: The Education Impacts of a Community College Scholarship Program for Low-Income Adults

Author: Lisa Barrow, Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, Cecilia Elena Rouse, Thomas Brock
Publisher: Journal of Labor Economics
Date: 07/2014

We evaluate the effect of performance-based incentive programs on educational outcomes for community college students from a random assignment experiment at three campuses. Incentive payments over 2 semesters were tied to meeting two conditions—enrolling at least half-time and maintaining a C or better grade point average. Eligibility increased the likelihood of enrolling in the second semester after random assignment and total number of credits earned. Over 2 years, program group students completed nearly 40% more credits. We find little evidence that program eligibility changed types of courses taken but some evidence of increased academic performance and effort.

The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle, Linda Olson

The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood

Author: Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle, Linda Olson
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
Date: 06/2014

West Baltimore stands out in the popular imagination as the quintessential “inner city”—gritty, run-down, and marred by drugs and gang violence. Indeed, with the collapse of manufacturing jobs in the 1970s, the area experienced a rapid onset of poverty and high unemployment, with few public resources available to alleviate economic distress. But in stark contrast to the image of a perpetual “urban underclass” depicted in television by shows like The Wire, sociologists Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle, and Linda Olson present a more nuanced portrait of Baltimore’s inner city residents that employs important new research on the significance of early-life opportunities available to low-income populations. The Long Shadow focuses on children who grew up in west Baltimore neighborhoods and others like them throughout the city, tracing how their early lives in the inner city have affected their long-term well-being. Although research for this book was conducted in Baltimore, that city’s struggles with deindustrialization, white flight, and concentrated poverty were characteristic of most East Coast and Midwest manufacturing cities. The experience of Baltimore’s children who came of age during this era is mirrored in the experiences of urban children across the nation.

"Caught Up:” How Urban Violence and Peer Ties Contribute to High School Non-Completion Maria G. Rendón

"Caught Up:” How Urban Violence and Peer Ties Contribute to High School Non-Completion

Author: Maria G. Rendón
Publisher: Social Problems
Date: 02/2014

While research shows growing up in urban neighborhoods increases the likelihood of not completing high school, it remains unclear what mechanism facilitates this process and why some youth are more vulnerable than others. This study addresses this gap by drawing on interviews with male, Latino high school graduates and noncompleters in Los Angeles. Interviews reveal urban violence is the most salient feature of urban neighborhoods and consequential for school completion. In an effort to avoid victimization male youth exposed to urban violence draw on male peer ties for protection. Inherent in these social ties, as in other forms of social capital, are expectations and obligations. I find that an orientation that privileges these expectations and obligations—and not specifically an anti-school orientation—gets male youth “caught up” in behavior counterproductive to school completion, like being truant with peers and getting expelled for “backing them” in a fight. I find not all urban youth adopt this orientation because youth are differentially exposed to the neighborhood. Family and school institutional factors limit some youth's time in the neighborhood, buffering them from urban violence. These youth then bypass the opportunity and need to draw on male peer ties for protection. Not having to employ these “strategies of action,” they avoid getting “caught up” and experience higher chances to graduate. This study argues that to understand the cultural orientation that guides behavior that contributes to school noncompletion requires accounting for how the threat of violence punctuates and organizes the daily lives of male urban youth.