Blog: The Educated Reporter

Background Reading for “Mine the Gap: Working with Data on Access to Opportunity”

K-12 Opportunity Gaps and Out-of-School Factors, The Educated Reporter:

With President Obama focusing on the struggles of the middle class — and those working to reach it — in a speech at Knox College on Wednesday, it seems like a good time to catch up on a valuable discussion on the opportunity gap which took place at EWA’s 66th National Seminar.”

Inside the Opportunity Gap, The Washington Post:

“’We’ve done a good job in the last decade of calling attention to the achievement gap,’ said ­Darling-Hammond, who has advised President Obama on education issues [editor’s note: Hammond is a contributor to the book Stanford University professor Prudence Carter co-edited, “Closing the Opportunity Gap”]. ‘But what we haven’t been doing is addressing some of the fundamental reasons for the achievement gap: the poverty and segregation sets up some kids to have less when they get to school, and then the funding inequities, so that when they get to school, they don’t have the resources and instructional supports that we want and need them to have.’”

No Rich Child Left Behind, The New York Times (By Professor Sean Reardon of Stanford University):

“Consider two children, one from a family with income of $165,000 and one from a family with income of $15,000. These incomes are at the 90th and 10th percentiles of the income distribution nationally, meaning that 10 percent of children today grow up in families with incomes below $15,000 and 10 percent grow up in families with incomes above $165,000.

In the 1980s, on an 800-point SAT-type test scale, the average difference in test scores between two such children would have been about 90 points; today it is 125 points. This is almost twice as large as the 70-point test score gap between white and black children. Family income is now a better predictor of children’s success in school than race.”

Bonus: Professor Sean Reardon’s slides on the income achievement gap


We Have a Parenting Problem, Not a Poverty Problem, The Huffington Post (A dissenting view, by Michael J. Petrilli Let’s admit it: the “Broader, Bolder” types are right when they say that a lot of what influences student achievement happens outside of schools, and before kids ever set foot in kindergarten. Where they are wrong, I believe, is in thinking that turbo-charged government programs can compensate for the real challenge: what’s happening (or not) inside the home.

Pro Publica’s database on schools, with a focus on opportunity gaps:

This database includes all public schools in districts with more than 3,000 students from the 2009-2010 school year – about three-quarters of all such students in the country. Use it to find out how well your state provides poor and wealthier schools equal access to advanced classes that researchers say will help them later in life. | Our latest data also includes AP pass rates and sports participation”

Helpful state data sets:

College Board reports – Advanced Placement by state

Colorado - AP placement by course and race

Florida reports for AP.

New York – enrollment & demographic data

Texas - AEIS reports for AP and gifted students, among others.

Colorado – discipline data

Illinois – discipline data

Texas - discipline reports…