Synopses & Reviews
In this landmark volume, Greg J. Duncan and Richard J. Murnane lay out a meticulously researched case showing how—in a time of spiraling inequality—strategically targeted interventions and supports can help schools significantly improve the life chances of low-income children.
The authors offer a brilliant synthesis of recent research on inequality and its effects on families, children, and schools. They describe the interplay of social and economic factors that has made it increasingly hard for schools to counteract the effects of inequality and that has created a widening wedge between low- and high-income students.
Restoring Opportunity provides detailed portraits of proven initiatives that are transforming the lives of low-income children from prekindergarten through high school. All of these programs are research-tested and have demonstrated sustained effectiveness over time and at significant scale. Together, they offer a powerful vision of what good instruction in effective schools can look like. The authors conclude by outlining the elements of a new agenda for education reform.
Restoring Opportunity is a crowning contribution from these two leading economists in the field of education and a passionate call to action on behalf of the young people on whom our nation’s future depends.
“Duncan and Murnane provide a no-nonsense view of the growing educational gap between the haves and the have-nots in America. They also scour the landscape to find promising solutions that provide hope for better outcomes in the future. This is a thoughtful book that should be read with the care it merits.” — Joel Klein, CEO of Amplify, and former chancellor, New York City Department of Education
“This thorough examination of our public school system provides a clear picture of some of the toughest challenges—particularly those facing low-income students—and the directions in which we need to go to fix them. This book should be on the desk of every educator and policy maker in America so we can begin to change the odds for all of America’s children.” — Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO, Harlem Children’s Zone
“Anyone who cares about improving schools should read this book. Duncan and Murnane offer detailed case studies of effective programs to improve schools that can boost the life chances of disadvantaged children. The authors present a careful analysis, grounded in economics and education, of the ways to make better schooling available to all of the nation’s low-income children.” — David K. Cohen, John Dewey Collegiate Professor of Education and professor of public policy, University of Michigan
"This is a must read for anyone desiring an understanding of the inequality that exists in the educational system as well a sensible, well-researched argument about how to improve." — H.J. Bultinck, CHOICE
"Restoring Opportunities: The Crisis of Inequality and the Challenge for American Education ought to be required reading for the White House and leaders of the 'My Brother's Keepers' project." — Eric Cooper, Huffington Post
Restoring Opportunity lays out the causes of opportunity gaps and inequity in schools. It provides educators and school leaders with actionable solutions to decrease achievement gaps between low- and high-income students.
About the Author
Greg J. Duncan is a distinguished professor in the Department of Education at the University of California, Irvine.Richard J. Murnane is the Juliana W. and William Foss Thompson Professor of Education and Society at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Table of Contents
1 A Fading Dream 1
2 DivergingDestinies 7
3 Family Income and School Success 23
4 Challenges in the Classroom 35
5 Promising Prekindergarten Programs 53
6 Elementary Schools That Work 71
7 High Schools That Improve Life Chances 85
8 Programs That Support Families 109
9 Restoring Opportunity 123
About the Authors 177