As part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress authorized a national study of equality of educational opportunity in the United States. In 1966, this study, conducted under the leadership of James Coleman, was released on the Friday before 4th of July weekend in the hope that nobody would pay any attention to it. Instead, the report has reverberated across the decades.
We are now on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Coleman Report, and in recognition of the importance of this study, Education Next is devoting its spring issue to a reassessment of its significance.
For that issue, Eric A. Hanushek of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University has written about the changes in student achievement that have occurred over the past 50 years.
Today he sits down with EdNext Editor Paul E. Peterson to discuss what the Coleman Report found about the size of the achievement gap between blacks and whites across the country and how that gap has changed over time.