The quality of education American students receive varies dramatically according to their parent’s socio-economic status. Children from low-income families begin kindergarten with less preparation for school than the children of the affluent, they attend schools which face greater challenges with fewer resources, and they score lower on standardized tests. They are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to graduate from a four-year college. These stark educational disparities both reflect and perpetuate the broad trend of rising income inequality in the U.S.
There has yet to be a comprehensive study of the extent and nature of educational inequality in the U.S., its causes, and its consequences. The Spencer Foundation, together with the Russell Sage Foundation, has provided support for the organization of a task force of social scientists, education researchers, and public policy experts to study this issue and to propose policies to reduce disparities in the quality of education students receive. This work is currently under way and reports on their progress will be published as they become available.