Equal Employment Opportunity and Educational Achievement Gaps

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Title: Equal Employment Opportunity and Educational Achievement Gaps
Author: Kaase, Kristopher Jerome
Advisors: Jeffrey C. Leiter, Committee Member
Maxine P. Atkinson, Committee Member
Donald T. Tomaskovic-Devey, Committee Member
Catherine R. Zimmer, Committee Chair
Abstract: Despite over 30 years of awareness, intervention, and research regarding race, class, and gender differences in educational achievement, large differences still persist. These differences have a significant impact on individuals? quality of life. Research on educational achievement gaps has been largely focused on schools or families; while policy efforts to address these gaps have been focused on schools, with limited success. This study examines the broader community context in which schools and families are embedded. Specifically, this study addressed the policy question: Is relative inequality in employment opportunity in local areas related to relative inequality in educational achievement in the same areas in North Carolina? Employment opportunity was conceptualized as quality of employment and as earnings. Relative inequality was measured by comparing a race (Black or White), class (high school education or less vs. education beyond high school), and gender group to White males with parental education beyond high school. Relative inequality in Biology and English I achievement were measured at the school level and at a modified Public Use Microdata Area (PUMA) level. Relative inequality in quality of employment and earnings were measured at the modified PUMA level, and measured separately for the local area and neighboring area. This study was unique in that it a) examined the variation in employment opportunity across communities and b) examined race, class, and gender inequality as simultaneously experienced rather than as separate inequalities. Relative inequality in local earnings had a positive relationship with relative inequality in high school Biology for most Black and White student groups. Relative inequality in local earnings had a positive relationship with relative inequality in English I for Black students. There was little support for the hypothesis that relative inequality in the local quality of employment had an effect on relative inequality in achievement. There was also little support for the effect of neighboring community employment factors on inequality in achievement. This study found reason to support policies that would reduce relative inequality in earnings in local areas as a means to reducing educational achievement gaps.
Date: 2003-05-07
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Sociology
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/4821

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