Research Bibliography Educational Inequality


Laura J. Holt , Brenna H. Bry & Valerie L. Johnson (2008) Enhancing School Engagement in At-Risk, Urban Minority Adolescents Through a School-Based, Adult Mentoring Intervention, Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 30:4, 297-318. Retrieved from

Holt, Bry, and Johnson describe a 5-month study in which 20 at-risk students received adult mentoring from school personnel and another 20 did not. Previous research has indicated that low levels of engagement in school are linked with academic failure, which a mentor program seeks to help. Each mentor met with their mentee every week after learning of a positive action recently carried out by their mentee. The two would talk about the action and how to replicate it in the future and then discuss other matters such as attendance or homework. Mentors would also interact with parents and inform their mentees of other opportunities, such as summer jobs. After a 6-month intervention period, those who were mentored demonstrated increased feelings of school belonging, perceived teacher support, positive decision making and were less likely to enter the school discipline system.

Stringfield, S. C., & Yakimowski-Srebnick, M. E.. (2005). Promise, Progress, Problems, and Paradoxes of Three Phases of Accountability: A Longitudinal Case Study of the Baltimore City Public Schools. American Educational Research Journal, 42(1), 43–75. Retrieved from

Stringfield & Yakimowski-Srebnick create a case study of Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) to analyze the relationship between urban school reform and increased accountability standards. The researchers use the data to come up with four conclusions. They found that there are some paradoxes in educational assessment in BCPS, such as the reforms being funded by members of the affluent conservative community. The partnership between state and city reform in educational assessment (governance improvement, mandated assessments, more funding) had a positive effect on student achievement. Some of the reforms had a negative effect, especially including the initiatives that did not take human capital into account. Lastly, the researchers strongly urged against overreaction to small differences in assessment from year to year in BCPS.

Kirshner, B., Gaertner, M., & Pozzoboni, K.. (2010). Tracing Transitions: The Effect of High School Closure on Displaced Students. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 32(3), 407–429. Retrieved from

Kirshner,Gaertner, & Pozzoboni examine the relationship between high school closures and the academic performance and experiences of the displaced African American and Latino students. The case study uses the closure of Jefferson High School (pseudonym) as its’ primary focus, which was closed down by the school board in 2006. The study found that test performance and the probability of displaced students graduating declined.The theme of social disruption and academic struggle were most common in the qualitative analysis. The study recommends for higher quality schools to be available to displaced students and for decision-making processes regarding closures to better include families and students.

Poch, T.. (2000). Alternative Sentencing Programs for Teenagers. The Clearing House, 74(2), 60–61. Retrieved from

Poch’s article goes into detail on the inner workings of the Dakota County Juvenile Peer Court in Minnesota. The court is an alternative to juvenile court, and students must admit their guilt to peer student jurors. The court may impose sanctions such as attendance to alcohol and drug education classes, curfew, or an interview with a victim. If the sanctions are not followed, the student must go to juvenile court. If the sanctions are followed, they become a peer juror themselves and the case is sealed from their permanent record. Social Studies teachers in Dakota County teach courses on the Peer Court in their high schools.

Also see:

Butler, S. Kent. “Helping Urban African American High School Students to Excel Academically: The Roles of School Counselors”. The High School Journal 87.1 (2003): 51–57. Retrieved from

Butler’s article serves a dual function. It first provides a theoretical context for understanding the education of urban African American students. Butler outlines why a “deficit model,” which states that black students do not possess certain characteristics needed for success, ignores the strength and resilience in urban, black communities born out of fighting issues such as poverty. Other models center the impact of institutional racism in how it limits resources in urban, black schools or highlight the tension between the desire to be educated and its limited value in a neighborhood in which very few opportunities exist. Butler then outlines how school counselors are in a unique position to attune the curriculum and structure of schools more finely towards the needs of its community. By advocating for a culturally reflective curriculum and activities to boost student engagement, counselors can better intertwine the school and its students.

Chute, Eleanor. “Schools Finding Suspensions Ineffective for Changing Student Behavior.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 3 Sept. 2013. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

This article discusses the major flaws with schoolroom suspensions. Eleanor Chute goes on to explain how suspension leads to loss of educational minutes, and in turn starts to build a disparity between the children. She argues that schoolroom suspension does more harm than good. The article also goes on to talk about the alternatives to suspension, “including practice aimed at preventing misbehavior.”

Williams, Joseph “The Number of Charter Schools Suspending Kids Is Totally out of Control.” TakePart. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

This article discusses the reoccurring issue of suspension rates in charter schools being higher than suspen rates in public schools. The article also discusses the reasons behind the contrasting suspension rates. The reason he article gives is: “Charter schools, he says are using harsh, zero-tolerance discipline to weed out problem students and boost standardized test scores.” It raises the question, does this intense form of discipline encourage or discourage the students?” The article then goes on to offer a few solutions to fix the broken system instilled into charter schools.

Jones, Brent. “Parents, Officials Discuss School Safety Plans.” Tribunedigital-baltimoresun. 4 May 2007. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

This article discusses the problems with schoolroom suspension specifically in Baltimore. It talks about the many efforts of schoolroom officials and parents to modify the disciplinary system. The solutions the article brings up are: in school suspensions as opposed to out of school suspensions, increased levels of respect between students and teachers, and initiatives to prevent violence.

Fisher, E. J.. (2005). Black Student Achievement and the Oppositional Culture Model. The Journal of Negro Education, 74(3), 201–209. Retrieved from


Fisher’s article explains that the connection to black academic achievement is a combination of family, self concept, and cultural history. Also the article goes into explaining the effects of black trauma of living in the United States to the academic achievement of blacks.


Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Society of Labor Economists     and the NORC at the University of Chicago Article DOI: 10.1086/599334 Stable URL:


This article explains the need for better teachers in schools that are seen as undesirable to teachers in a given district. This is because every teacher’s salary in a district is roughly the same. Thus leads to an unfair system where the more undesirable schools have poor quality teachers where they need better quality teachers.


David L. DuBois, Bruce E. Halloway, Jeffrey C. Valentine & Harris Cooper (2002) Effectiveness of Mentoring Programs for Youth: A Meta-Analytic Review, American Journal of Communal Psychology, 30:2, 157-197. Retrieved from


DuBois, Halloway, Valentine, and Cooper conduct a meta-analysis of a wide array of articles that study the impacts of mentoring. They find that in general, mentoring programs are effective and beyond this, certain variables increase effectiveness. Programs that include ongoing mentor training and structured, regular activities between mentors and mentees as well as parent involvement and program oversight tend to produce even better results. Additionally, mentoring programs that serve “at-risk” (a term often used for black students in urban environments) youth are able to offer the greatest possible benefits. Youth with personal issues require mentors specifically trained to work with such problems, but when this support is provided, it is highly successful.


Boyd, Donald, et al. “Explaining the short careers of high-achieving teachers in schools with

low-performing students.” American economic review (2005): 166-171. Retrieved from


This article seeks to explain the reason the least-qualified teachers are teaching in the least successful schools, and how this is perpetuated. While studies show that teacher are leaving low-performing schools, it’s hard to know whether or not it’s because of the interactions with the school, or with the student composition.


Wald, Johanna, and Daniel J. Losen. “Defining and redirecting a school-to-prison pipeline.” New

directions for youth development 2003.99 (2003): 9-15. Retrieved from


The research presented at this conference represents the first attempt to examine systematically the school-to-prison pipeline. The goals are to: (1) identify specific patterns, indicators, and choice points along the school-to-prison pipeline; (2) begin to generate strategies and policies for how both the educational and juvenile justice systems can redirect this pipeline away from despair toward greater hope and opportunity; and (3) identify critical areas for further gap-filling research and policy development.



Cohen, Geoffrey L., et al. “Reducing the racial achievement gap: A social-psychological

intervention.” science 313.5791 (2006): 1307-1310. Retrieved from


Two randomized field experiments tested a social-psychological intervention designed to improve minority student performance and increase our understanding of how psychological threat mediates performance in chronically evaluative real-world environments. We expected that the risk of confirming a negative stereotype aimed at one’s group could undermine academic performance in minority students by elevating their level of psychological threat. We tested whether such psychological threat could be lessened by having students reaffirm their sense of personal adequacy or “self-integrity.” The intervention, a brief in-class writing assignment, significantly improved the grades of African American students and reduced the racial achievement gap by 40%. These results suggest that the racial achievement gap, a major social concern in the United States, could be ameliorated by the use of timely and targeted social-psychological interventions.


Jacob, Brian Aaron. “The challenges of staffing urban schools with effective teachers.” The

Future of Children 17.1 (2007): 129-153. Retrieved from


Brian Jacob examines challenges faced by urban districts in staffing their schools with effective teachers. He emphasizes that the problem is far from uniform. Teacher shortages are more severe in certain subjects and grades than others, and differ dramatically from one school to another. The Chicago public schools, for example, regularly receive roughly ten applicants for each teaching position. But many applicants are interested in specific schools, and district officials struggle to find candidates for highly impoverished schools. As a result, urban schools are given less qualified teachers opposed to their suburban counterparts, reinforcing the problems these urban schools already face.


McMillan, James H., and Daisy F. Reed. “At-risk Students and Resiliency: Factors Contributing

to Academic Success”. The Clearing House 67.3 (1994): 137–140. Web. Retrieved from


This research study examines the relationship between academic achievement and at-risk students. Many issues today affect the achievement gap and the ability for at-risk students to succeed. Most data, as revealed in the studies included in this review, conclude the factors identifying at-risk students do have significant impact on the academic achievement of individual students and schools. Most often, these students are not successful and eventually drop out of school or pursue a GED. Data indicate that teacher-student relationships, parent or caregiver- student relationships, motivation, SES, and peer influence can affect success for at- risk students.


Quinn, Patrick D., and Angela L. Duckworth. “Happiness and academic achievement: Evidence

for reciprocal causality.” The Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Society. 2007.Retrieved from



This article discusses  how the relationship between wellbeing and academic performance is not yet well- understood. Does school achievement come at the expense of happiness? Or, conversely, are better-performing students happier? And if so, can we assign causal weight to the relationship?


Renihan, F. I., and P. J. Renihan. “Responsive High Schools: Structuring Success for the At-risk

Student”. The High School Journal 79.1 (1995): 1–13. Web.


This article considers the school-related factors that control a student’s decision to stay in school. It describes way in which parents, professional school staff, and the student can work together to ensure the student is connected with her/his education, and how the student can be empowered. The center of this article is responsiveness, however. Essentially the author focuses on conscious devotion to the student’s success and resilience.


Thompson, R. A.. (2014). Stress and Child Development. The Future of Children, 24(1), 41–59. Retrieved from


This research study examines the effect of “chronic stress” on children who live in poverty.It places a special emphasis on the brain development of young people in high stress situation who do not have a strong adult influence at home


Cooney, C. M.. (2011). Stress-Pollution Interactions: An Emerging Issue in Children’s Health Research. Environmental Health Perspectives, 119(10), A430–A435. Retrieved from


Similar to the previous research study, traces the detrimental effects of long term stress on children in low income areas.

Also see:


Turner, Cory. (2015). Ruling In Compton Schools Case: Trauma Could Cause Disability. National Public Radio Education.


This article outlines the ruling of a class-action lawsuit filed against the Compton Unified School District in order to provide better training for teachers to deal with trauma. The judge ruled that students traumatized by events in their childhood could be considered disabled, but the class action status was not be granted and the new training was not required.


Also see:


Horn, Jim. “Does the No Child Left Behind Act Help Black Students? No.” [Mackinac Center]. 25 May 2006. Web. 15 Dec. 2015. <>.


This article examines the effects of No Child Left Behind and its impact on Black students. The author analyzes the generalization that schools who are unable to meet the adequate yearly progress are coming from failed communities. He offers another perspective, stating that students who attend schools that fail to meet the AYP, transfer out to higher scoring schools creating a brain drain and leads to white flight. This, in turn, leaves low performing schools in a perpetual state of underperformance.


“Most Students from Closing Schools Would Move to Schools of Similar Caliber.” The Philadelphia Public School Notebook –. Web. 15 Dec. 2015. <>.


This article points out the irony in school closings and student displacement. The author provides research in Philadelphia’s school system that indicates that students who are moved from one district to another district due to their school being closed, often end up in schools similar to their original one. Thus, the education for these students do not get better. Instead, the new school will be forced to take on an influx of new students who they may not be able to adequately provide resources, taking away much needed resources from students and investing less in each students education.


“More Than 40% of Low-Income Schools Don’t Get a Fair Share of State and Local Funds, Department of Education Research Finds.” More Than 40% of Low-Income Schools Don’t Get a Fair Share of State and Local Funds, Department of Education Research Finds. Web. 15 Dec. 2015. <>.


This article examines the need for investment in underprivileged, low-income schools. The research points out that the policies enacted by the government to address educational disparities further perpetuate the problem rather solve it.


“When Schools Close: Effects on Displaced Students in Chicago Public Schools.” When Schools Close: Effects on Displaced Students in Chicago Public Schools. Web. 15 Dec. 2015. <>.


The article addresses public school closings in Chicago and the displacement of students into underperforming schools. The author points out that school closures lead to displaced students being transferred from one low-performing school to another, providing no utility for the students or improvements to their academics.


“Death by A Thousand Cuts.” Journey for Justice Alliance. Web. 15 Dec. 2015. <>.


This report provides extensive research on public school closings throughout America. The Journey for Justice Alliance provides a detailed analysis on the intersection of school closings, race and poverty. The report documents school closings in many communities of color throughout the country, and the harmful long lasting effects they have on these communities.


Articles that provide context on the risk of Renaissance Academy’s closure:

How This Inner-City Baltimore Principal Is ‘Tearing Down Barriers’ Between Students And Police

For At-Risk Kids, Mentors Provide Far More Than Just Homework Help

City schools begin mobilizing, meeting to fight upcoming closure recommendations-Baltimore Sun

City School works to stay off chopping block

Thornton calls for closing five city schools