Racial politics and the elusive quest for excellence and equity in education

Pedro A. Noguera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the factors that influence the development of educational policies and practices designed to ameliorate the achievement gap in relatively affluent school districts. To provide a context for understanding the issues surrounding efforts to promote educational equity, the article begins by describing initiatives undertaken by schools in the recently established Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN). The remainder of the article draws on research collected from a 4-year study carried out at Berkeley High School (BHS) to illustrate how racial disparities in academic outcomes are influenced by the structure of opportunity within schools and how efforts to address inequities often become politicized. The goal is to use the case of BHS to show how political factors complicate efforts to reduce racial disparities in student achievement and to make it clear why political strategies, rather than educational strategies alone, are needed to respond to the racial achievement gap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-41
Number of pages24
JournalEducation and Urban Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Urban Studies


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