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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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Lack of Achievement or Loss of Opportunity?

Lack of Achievement or Loss of Opportunity?

(p.11) 2 Lack of Achievement or Loss of Opportunity?
Closing the Opportunity Gap

Gloria Ladson-Billings

Oxford University Press

Gloria Ladson-Billings introduces readers to the concept of the opportunity gap and the idea of an “education debt.” Calling the persistent achievement disparities between Black and Latino students and White students a “gap” suggests that something inherent in Black and Latino students, their families, their communities, their cultures, their schools, or their teachers is responsible for the disparities. Today, teachers and their unions are the main villains in the achievement gap narrative. WhileLadson-Billings agrees that some aspects of each of these elements might contribute to the problem, she contends that it is shortsighted and incomplete to target them as the only causes. She explains that the achievement disparities we see in the UnitedStates are a result of historical, economic, political, and moral decisions that we as a society have made over time.

Keywords:   education debt, African American, Latino, achievement, inequality, race, class

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