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Book Review

Narrowing the Achievement Gap: Perspectives and Strategies for Challenging Times

Closing persistent and glaring differences in educational outcomes among student groups has been a central goal of educational policy for the past 40 years. What makes the goal so difficult to attain is that the problems underlying the achievement gap are multiple and complex. For that reason, no single set of policy prescriptions—no matter how well crafted and managed—is likely to be successful. While there is no ready road map for policymakers, the press for solutions is acute. Standards-based accountability, particularly as embodied in No Child Left Behind, places tremendous pressure on states and schools to bring the academic achievement of racial and ethnic minority students on a par with white and Asian students.

The purpose of this book is to provide a fresh look at multiple perspectives on closing the achievement gap. The 11 chapters examine the conditions—both in school and out of school—that research has shown to be highly correlated with the achievement gap. The book also points to multiple reasons for the achievement gap and why it has been so resistant to narrowing.