Improving the quality of public schooling in America has been a consuming issue for over two decades, but improving the education of poor students and particularly non-white students has been at the center of this issue as long as it has existed. After trying educational vouchers, charter schools, increased testing, school uniforms, and decentralized decision-making, some administrators are concluding that changing schools is not the answer. This is the line of reasoning behind Sampson's study of 12 poor black families in a Chicago suburb, which showed that despite consistencies in race, income, and neighborhood, student performance varied across the board. The author concludes that the difference is found in homes where values such as discipline, order, structure, responsibility, and preparing for the future were emphasized. This book focuses on the potential of the family to do what generations of reform could not and should appeal to anyone involved with public policy, racial, or social issues.
William A. Sampson is associate professor of Public Policy at DePaul University. He grew up in a relatively poor, but distinctly middle class family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Both parents constantly stressed achievement, discipline, and education, and Dr. Sampson went on to receive degrees from Howard University, The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and The Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D., Social Relations). Professor Sampson has put these concerns together in his recent research on the impact of the family on poor black and Latino families. His students have been critical in helping shape his thinking about poor non-white families in his research.
1 The Problem 2 Research Methods 3 Family and the Average Student 4 Family and the High Achiever 5 Family and the Low Acheiver 6 Summary and Conclusions 7 Theoretical and Public Policy Concerns