The 2015 Bahá'í Chair for World Peace Spring Symposium
Racial Inequality and American Education: Policies, Practices and Politics
Pedro A. Noguera, Ph.D., Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education, New York University
Abstract: Several commentators have described the effort to close the racial achievement gap in education as the civil rights issue of the 21st century. However, most of those who have made this pronouncement (Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Barack Obama to name only two) have never spelled out exactly what this actually means or what it should entail. At a time when all forms of inequality in American society are increasing is it reasonable to expect that schools can play a role in creating a more equitable society? Have the education policies our nation has pursued (No Child Left Behind and now Race for the Top) helped or hindered the effort to use education as a means to promote social equality? These questions and others will be explored in a probing analysis of the role and potential of education in reducing racial inequality in American society.
Why did Convergence of the Achievement Gap Stop? Residency, Race & Inequality
Odis Johnson, Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor, African-American Studies Department, University of Maryland
Abstract: The achievement gap converged at an unprecedented rate after 1970 prompting many to forecast the end of educational inequality in a few decades. This convergence came to a halt in the 1990s and test-score inequality has become an intractable reality, even as No Child Left Behind aimed to eliminate it by 2014. Research has explained neither why convergence stopped, nor why it happened in the first place. Why test-score convergence occurred as levels of concentrated poverty doubled in urban African American neighborhoods is an additional puzzle. The Metropolitan Inequality and Schools Study (MISS) explores the factors related to these events and suggests that the achievement gap converged due to African American's increased residential opportunities, and that the fortification of good schools by concentrated residential affluence has stopped their ability to access them, and consequently the convergence of the achievement gap.
Date: Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 2:00pm
Art-Sociology Building (Building #146), Room #2203