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Lyndon B. Johnson

50 years after the Coleman Report

Fifty years ago this month, the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare rocked the nation's education establishment by releasing an 800-page report by James Coleman, a little known Johns Hopkins professor, and his team of researchers finding that the socioeconomic status of a child's family and peers are better predictors of academic success than actual schooling.

Harvard scholars concluded that the so-called Coleman Report (formally the Equality of Educational Opportunity Report) "turned understanding of a major area of social policy upside down as perhaps no comparable event in the history of social science." Others called its findings — the result of more...

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