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Closing the Opportunity GapWhat America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance$
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Prudence L. Carter and Kevin G. Welner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199982981

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982981.001.0001

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Achievement Gaps Arise from Opportunity Gaps

Achievement Gaps Arise from Opportunity Gaps

(p.1) 1 Achievement Gaps Arise from Opportunity Gaps
Closing the Opportunity Gap

Kevin G. Welner

Prudence L. Carter

Oxford University Press

Kevin Welner and Prudence Carter explain why it is important to shift the nation’s focus back toward an “opportunity gap” framing of educational inequity. Thinking about inputs helps us to focus on the deficiencies in the foundational components of societies, schools, and communities that produce significant differences in educational—and ultimately socioeconomic—outcomes. Thinking in terms of “achievement gaps” emphasizes the symptoms; thinking about unequal opportunity highlights the causes.Importantly, discussions of both achievement and opportunity gaps sensibly begin with the premise that we as a nation must act to redress the serious inequities that exist between and within schools, as well as among different people, groups, and communities across the country. Both discussions include an understanding that outcomes should be measured, analyzed, and addressed. Welner and Carter argue thattest-score and attainment differences will not disappear until policy is dedicated to changing the conditions that shape and impede achievement.

Keywords:   Opportunity gap, achievement gap, schools, communities, inequality

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