Public education is the backbone of our civic society. Despite
this perception, in the United States, the laudable goal of
providing all students with a public education from kindergarten
through high school has yet to be realized. Though the Supreme Court held in Brown v. Board of Education that separate schools are inherently and unacceptably unequal, a half-century later our schools have largely re-segregated with the most socioeconomically disadvantaged students once again bearing the brunt of the inequity. This “achievement gap” has a tremendous social and economic impact in the United States. The gap is characterized by different educational inputs in terms of resources, teacher quality, and social capital, as well as
disparate outputs such as low high-school completion rates.