It should not be surprising that presidential candidates are pitching proposals to fix our nation’s schools, writes Robert Samuelson in his latest column in the Washington Post.  Faith in education is a core American value, and we want better schools to help people reach their personal potential and to narrow inequalities.

However, Samuelson writes, it is important to consider the findings of a major new study that looks at trends in test scores over the past 50 years. That study finds that the achievement gap between students with low and high socioeconomic status has barely budged over all that time.

The study, “The Achievement Gap Fails to Close,” by Eric A. Hanushek, Paul E. Peterson, Laura M. Talpey and Ludger Woessmann, will appear in the Summer 2019 issue of Education Next and is now available on the website.

The authors of the study note that income inequality has soared in the United States over the past half century, and that many believe that educational inequality increased alongside.

They write:

Contrary to recent perceptions, we find the opportunity gap—that is, the relationship between socioeconomic status and achievement—has not grown over the past 50 years.

— Education Next

Last updated April 8, 2019