Perverse Openness or Virtuous Cycle? The Future and Racial and Ethnic Educational Stratification
Eric Grodsky

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of California, Davis

Primary Discipline

Some recent work in sociology suggests that the effects of race/ethnicity on educational attainment are largely attributable to socioeconomic status and will therefore continue to wane as the minority middle class increases in size. This forecast implicitly assumes that youth benefit uniformly from their parents’ socioeconomic achievements. In the proposed research, I empirically test this assumption by exploring the high school achievements, college enrollments and degree attainments of youth from the high school classes of 1972, 1982 and 1992. I hypothesize that Latino and African American students are less adversely affected than white students by poor or working class origins, but also less advantaged that white students by middle or upper class origins, and that race/ethnic difference in educational attainment remain relatively constant over this period. I discuss the implications of these hypotheses for our understanding of social stratification and for affirmative action policies. By looking at the interaction between race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status in the educational attainment process, this project will inform our understanding of the likely future of racial and ethnic educational stratification and the implications of substituting class-based for race-based affirmative action programs.
About Eric Grodsky

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