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THE COLOR LINE IN AMERICAN EDUCATION: Race, Resources, and Student Achievement

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2004

Linda Darling-Hammond
School of Education, Stanford University


Despite the rhetoric of American equality, the school experiences of African American and other “minority” students in the United States continue to be substantially separate and unequal. Dramatically different learning opportunities—especially disparities in access to well-qualified teachers, high quality curriculum, and small schools and classes—are strongly related to differences in student achievement. Standards-based reforms have been launched throughout the United States with promises of greater equity, but, while students are held to common standards—and increasingly experience serious sanctions if they fail to achieve them—few states have equalized funding and access to the key educational resources needed for learning. The result of this collision of new standards with old inequities is less access to education for many students of color, rather than more. This article outlines current disparities in educational access, illustrates the relationships among race, educational resources, and student achievement, and proposes reforms needed to equalize opportunities to learn.

© 2004 W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research

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