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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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Student and School Cultures and the Opportunity Gap

Student and School Cultures and the Opportunity Gap

Paying Attention and TO Academic Engagement and Achievement

(p.143) 10 Student and School Cultures and the Opportunity Gap
Closing the Opportunity Gap

Prudence L. Carter

Oxford University Press

Prudence Carter discusses multiple perspectives ofhow schools’ sociocultural environments and practices matter to student engagement and achievement. Some of the most consistent and convincing research suggests, for example, that when students’cultural backgrounds are dissimilar to the backgrounds of their teachers and principals, the disadvantages experienced by those students is frequently due to educators’ lack of familiarity with their social backgrounds. The cultural mismatch between students and educators, in turn, hinders those educators’ capacity to engage with their students effectively. Also, cultural inequality within schools and in wider society—which stems from the privileging of white, middle-class tastes and ways of being—is often ignored, Carter argues. Yet, the inability of many educators to reconcile their cultural sensibilities with the social realities, cultural resources, and understandings of Black, Latino, Native American and other nondominant groups is another main driver of the opportunity gap in American education.

Keywords:   Cultural inequality, cultural mismatch between students and educators, racial and ethnic identity, class differences, student cultures

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