Responding to Educational Inequality


July 03, 2017

Cover image of Responding to Educational Inequality

This policy brief reviews scholarship by members of the Race, Diversity, and Educational Policy Cluster of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley to advance a broader and more complex understanding of the persistent failure of U.S. schools for youth from non-dominant communities.

This report takes up a critical issue in education: the continuing reproduction of educational inequality in relation to race and social class. In doing so, it highlights several key issues in how we study and attempt to ameliorate disparities through educational policy. We conclude with a set of recommendations for policymakers and advocates.

Key Findings:

  • Growing inequality, re-segregation, and structural racism pose fundamental challenges to America’s schools and its ideals of democracy and equity.
  • Educational policy perpetuates inequity through fiscal disinvestment, a neglect of the broad sociopolitical structure, the application of universal interventions, and the usage of a narrow research base.
  • Educational policy can mitigate educational inequities.
  • Local practices undermine educational equity by limiting student access to robust learning environments through segregation and tracking practices.
  • Racial biases held by teachers and leaders are enacted in classrooms and can impair deep learning and engagement for all students.

Download and read Responding to Educational Inequality.


Special thank you to the Walter and Evelyn Haas Jr, Fund, for their generous support of the Haas Institute faculty research and scholarship advancing inclusion and equity.