Narrowing the Achievement Gap: Perspectives and Strategies for Challenging Times

Edited by Thomas Timar, Julie Maxwell-Jolly


Closing persistent gaps in education outcomes among different subgroups of students is a fundamental goal of education policy and has been for the past 40 years. The commitment to this goal poses an extraordinary challenge for policymakers, school leaders, and teachers alike because the causes of these achievement gaps are numerous and complex. No single set of policy prescriptions, no matter how well thought out and managed, is likely to be successful.

While there is no ready roadmap or quick fix for policymakers, there is great pressure to come up with solutions. The collection of essays in this book, edited by Former WestEd Board member Thomas B. Timar and Julie Maxwell-Jolly, analyze the conditions that lead to achievement gaps and offer directions for moving forward. Contributors include Patricia Gandara, W. Norton Grubb, and Russell W. Rumberger.

Resource Details

Product Information

ISBN: 978-1-61250-123-9
Copyright: 2012
Format: Trade Paper
Pages: 336
Publisher: Harvard Education Press

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Praise for this Resource

  • “An important book by wise authors who have learned the hard way that federal policies to address underachievement in education are failing. Although no one can offer a quick fix for America’s educational problems, this incisive book offers promising and realistic measures for helping children who are poor and often racially and linguistically isolated. The authors provide a thoughtful set of alternatives to failed federal policies that have not and cannot address the pernicious achievement gaps that endanger our democracy.”

    David C. Berliner, Regents' Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University
  • “School performance by black and Latino students has climbed markedly, by a full grade level, over the past two generations. Yet achievement disparities relative to whites have narrowed only slightly, perpetuating a grand canyon of a gap that divides America. This volume replays an instructive history —pinpointing what hasn’t worked — and then carves a path forward to build schools that narrow disparities inside classrooms, showing how educators, families, and community activists are pulling together. Each chapter builds from hard evidence, not hopeful rhetoric. It’s a must-read for those dedicated to uniting our society—an endeavor in which we all have a stake.”

    Bruce Fuller, Professor of Education and Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley
  • “This book is essential reading for policy makers, researchers, and educators concerned with closing achievement gaps in American schools. It provides a novel examination of the issues and important, new directions for moving us forward.”

    Amanda Datnow, Professor of Education, University of California, San Diego