Much educational research today is focused on assessing reforms that are intended to create equal opportunity for all students. Many current policies aim at concentrating extra resources on the disadvantaged. The state-of-the-art research in Schools and the Equal Opportunity Problem suggests, however, that even sizeable differential spending on the disadvantaged will not yield an equality of results.
In the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger University of Michigan Law School affirmative action case, Sandra Day O'Connor declared on behalf of the majority of justices that, 'We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary.'
The essays in this book report estimates of the effects of learning on earnings and other life outcomes. They also examine whether particular aspects of schooling - such as the age at which children begin school, classroom size and curriculum - or structural reform - such as national or state-wide examinations or school choice - affect learning. Taken together, their findings suggest that liberals are correct in saying that more investment is needed in early education, that class sizes should be further reduced, and that challenging national or state standards should also be established.