Cover image for Children, schools, and inequality
Children, schools, and inequality
Entwisle, Doris R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, 1997.
Physical Description:
xiii, 238 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm.
Children and inequality -- The nature of schooling -- Low socioeconomic status -- Elementary school organization -- Family configuration -- The pluses and minuses of being male -- The overall picture.
Reading Level:
1510 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LA303.B3 E58 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Educational sociologists have paid relatively little attention to children in middle childhood (ages 6 to 12), whereas developmental psychologists have emphasized factors internal to the child much more than the social contexts in explaining children's development. Children, Schools, and Inequality redresses that imbalance. It examines elementary school outcomes (e.g., test scores, grades, retention rates) in light of the socioeconomic variation in schools and neighborhoods, the organizational patterns across elementary schools, and the ways in which family structure intersects with children's school performance. Adding data from the Baltimore Beginning School Study to information culled from the fields of sociology, child development, and education, this book suggests why the gap between the school achievement of poor children and those who are better off has been so difficult to close. Doris Enwistle, Karl Alexander, and Linda Olson show why the first-grade transition--how children negotiate entry into full-time schooling--is a crucial period. They also show that events over that time have repercussions that echo throughout children's entire school careers. Currently the only study of this life transition to cover a comprehensive sample and to suggest straightforward remedies for urban schools, Children, Schools, and Inequality can inform educators, practitioners, and policymakers, as well as researchers in the sociology of education and child development.

Author Notes

Doris R. Entwisle and Karl L. Alexander are professors of sociology, both at Johns Hopkins University. Linda Steffel Olson is senior research assistant in the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. Doris R. Entwisle and Karl L. Alexander are professors of sociology, both at Johns Hopkins University. Linda Steffel Olson is senior research assistant in the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In Equality of Educational Opportunity (1966), James Coleman reported that school achievement variability stems primarily from family and social class variables, not from differences in schooling. Three years later the Westinghouse Study of Head Start gave credence to the Coleman Report by finding that the academic advantages from participating in early intervention programs are temporary. In this well-written, interesting book, Entwisle, Alexander, and Olson provide a synthesis of the earlier work. They agree with Coleman's finding of comparatively little school-to-school variability. But this is because all elementary school children tend to have a similar learning rate; in spite of differences in the quality of the facilities and the expectations for student progress, children from all types of elementary schools progress in a similar manner as long as school is in session. The economic differences come into play when school lets out and children from families with means continue learning, whereas children from poorer areas fall behind. The authors argue that the middle childhood years (ages 6-12) are largely ignored as attention is directed at preschool and secondary school students. Suggested for general and academic collections at all levels. D. E. Tanner California State University, Fresno

Table of Contents

Prefacep. x
1 Children and Inequalityp. 1
2 The Nature of Schoolingp. 17
3 Low Socioeconomic Statusp. 32
4 Elementary School Organizationp. 63
5 Family Configurationp. 99
6 The Pluses and Minuses of Being Malep. 121
7 The Overall Picturep. 145
Appendixes: The Beginning School Studyp. 171
Referencesp. 211
Indexp. 235