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The Relevance of Inequality Research in Sociology for Inequality Reduction

June 15, 2021

Social inequality is a central topic of research in the social sciences. Decades of research have deepened our understanding of the characteristics and causes of social inequality. At the same time, social inequality has markedly increased during the past 40 years, and progress on reducing poverty and improving the life chances of Americans in the bottom half of the distribution has been frustratingly slow. How useful has sociological research been to the task of reducing inequality? The authors analyze the stance taken by sociological research on the subject of reducing inequality. They identify an imbalance in the literature between the discipline's continual efforts to motivate the plausibility of large-scale change and its lesser efforts to identify feasible strategies of change either through social policy or by enhancing individual and local agency with the potential to cumulate into meaningful progress on inequality reduction.

Social Science–Based Pathways to Reduce Social Inequality in Youth Outcomes and Opportunities at Scale

June 15, 2021

Despite a recent call for an expanded research agenda that is more likely to produce tangible societal reductions in inequality, efforts to articulate how social scientists can actually pursue this agenda remain few and far between. The central question this article addresses is, What can social scientists do to deliver the forms of knowledge that may lead to a reduction of social inequalities in youth outcomes and opportunities at large scale? Drawing on conceptualizations of inequality that pay attention to mechanisms of distributional and relational inequality, and examples of initiatives from a diverse array of the social sciences, the authors delineate six pathways for the kind of research that may generate reductions in youth inequality at scale. The authors conclude with a set of proposals for what academic institutions can do to train and support researchers to carry out this research agenda.

Moving it Forward: The Power of Mentoring, and How Universities Can Confront Institutional Barriers Facing Junior Researchers of Color

October 2, 2018

While there are numerous barriers to career advancement for scholars of color, the Foundation believes that many of these can be mitigated through strong mentoring relationships that address issues of difference. But the power of effective mentoring will only be realized when the institutions in which these relationships exist begin to change. The guide, which was developed in collaboration with the Forum for Youth Investment is derived from interviews with grantees and consultants who participated in the Foundation's mentoring program for junior researchers of color.

An SEA Guide for Identifying Evidence-Based Interventions for School Improvement

November 14, 2016

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the most recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The law focuses on using research evidence to improve teaching and learning and at the same time passes considerable authority from federal to state policymakers. This means that responsibility largely falls on states and localities to effectively make sense of and use research evidence in their decisions around school improvement, teacher preparation, principal recruitment, and family engagement. With support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Overdeck Family Foundation, and the William T. Grant Foundation, the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) has developed Guides for Identifying Evidence-Based Interventions for School Improvement.

Closing the Opportunity Gap 2016: A Project of The Saguaro Seminar

April 25, 2016

The Saguaro Seminar is a research initiative that brings together leading thinkers and practitioners to develop actionable ideas for civic renewal. In 2015, the Seminar launched the Closing the Opportunity Gap initiative. The initiative convened five working groups of roughly a dozen of the country's leading experts in each of five areas: family and parenting, early childhood, K-12 education, community institutions, and "on-ramps," like community college or apprenticeships. These non-partisan white papers distill the best evidence-based ideas for narrowing the opportunity gap.

The Real Price of College: College Completion Series: Part Two

March 3, 2016

The high price of college is the subject of media headlines, policy debates, and dinner table conversations because of its implications for educational opportunities, student and family pocketbooks, and the economy. Some people caution against giving too much weight to the advertised price of a college education, pointing out that the availability of financial aid means that college is not as expensive as people think it is. But they overlook a substantial problem: for many students, the real price of college is much higher than what recruitment literature, conventional wisdom, and even official statistics convey. Our research indicates that the current approach to higher education financing too often leaves low-income students facing unexpected, and sometimes untenable, expenses.Financial challenges are a consistent predictor of non-completion in higher education, and they are becoming more severe over time. Unexpected costs, even those that might appear modest in size, can derail students from families lacking financial cushions, and even those with greater family resources. Improving college completion rates requires both lowering the real price of attending college -- the student's remaining total costs, including tuition, books, and living expenses, after financial aid -- to better align with students' and families' ability to pay, and providing accurate information to help them plan to cover the real price of college.Many policymakers argue that bringing the personal and public benefits of higher education to an expanded population of Americans is important for the economy and to address inequality. Financial aid policies, they assume, help those with scarce resources to earn their degrees. But these policies often fall short, and when students have difficulty paying for college, they are more likely to focus their energies on working and raising funds rather than studying and attending classes, and are less likely to complete their degrees.

Providing Foster Care for Young Adults: Early Implementation of California's Fostering Connections Act

April 29, 2013

This report examines the planning process for implementing California's Fostering Connections to Success Act, as well as the new law's early implementation. It is based on data collected from in-depth interviews with key informants who played a critical role in passage of the law, in implementation planning, or in early implementation at the county and state level and from focus groups with young people who stood to benefit directly from the legislation. Although extended foster care is likely to look different in different states, California's experience offers many lessons from which other states might learn.

William T. Grant Foundation 2011 Annual Report

May 17, 2012

Contains the president's and board chair's letters, an essay on efforts to improve afterschool programs, foundation history, program information, grants list, financial summary, and lists of scholars, fellows, board members, reviewers, and staff.

Implementing Observation Protocols: Lessons for K-12 Education From the Field of Early Childhood

May 15, 2012

Examines issues for implementing standardized observation protocols for teacher evaluations. Makes recommendations based on lessons from preschool, such as the need to show empirical links between teacher performance and student learning and development.

Testing the Impact of Higher Achievement's Year-Round Out-of-School-Time Program on Academic Outcomes

October 4, 2011

Presents findings from a multiyear evaluation of an intensive long-term OST program's effect on low-income middle school students' academic performance, attitudes, and behaviors. Outlines implications for financially strapped districts.

After-School Programs for High School Students: An Evaluation of After School Matters

June 14, 2011

Evaluates outcomes for teens in Chicago's After School Matters apprenticeship-like program, finding statistically significant benefits on some measures of youth development and reduced problem behaviors but not in job skills or school performance.

William T. Grant Foundation 2010 Annual Report

June 13, 2011

Contains the president's and board chair's letters, essays on improving classroom interactions and stabilizing foundation operations, program information, grants list, financial summary, and lists of scholars, fellows, board members, reviewers, and staff.