For the past 15 years, economist Ronald Ferguson has investigated the myriad factors that combine to create racial disparities in academic performance. This volume brings together Ferguson’s most important papers and most recent thinking on these issues. In language accessible and useful to education practitioners, Ferguson sets forth a wide-ranging and compelling vision for closing the achievement gap.
Beginning with his analysis of the impact of test scores in predicting racial wage gaps, Ferguson has explored how rates of progress in narrowing gaps have varied over the recent decades, the roles played by various school policies and practices, and the importance of lifestyles and informal social processes that play out between children and their parents and peers. He concludes that closing achievement gaps is more urgent today than ever before—and that dramatic success is possible.
This book issues an urgent call to action to anyone concerned about the lagging success rates among minority children in American schools and the repercussions for our country’s future. Ronald Ferguson not only surveys the bleak terrain surrounding the achievement gap, but provides all of us with a road map to reach higher ground. — Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO, Harlem Children’s Zone
Toward Excellence with Equity is an important book written by one of the nation’s foremost experts on education and economic development. Ronald Ferguson’s pioneering work on black/white disparities in student skill levels and achievement-test scores has significant public policy implications. This book is a must-read for anyone concerned about narrowing the racial gap in educational attainment and earnings. — William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor, Harvard University
This book combines high-quality research, judicious insights, brilliant speculation, and common sense to set forth strategies to reduce the achievement gap dramatically. It is particularly compelling in calling for a comprehensive social movement that will not only transform schools but establish strong communities, effective parenting, and powerful peer cultures. — Henry M. Levin, William H. Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Ferguson conducts an authoritative review to show that disparities in academic performance can be closed by strong parental engagement and by parents working in partnership with schools around a shared vision of success for their children. The reality is that educators can’t do it alone. This highly intelligent book gives policymakers, educators, and parents essential tools for closing achievement gaps between high-performing and low-performing schools. — Susan Zelman, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio Department of Education
Toward Excellence with Equity is essential reading for any businessperson who cares about the well-being of children and the future quality of the American workforce. — Bridgette Heller, Chairman of the Executive Leadership Council and Global President of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby, Kids, and Wound-Care Division