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The Family: America's Smallest School

Barton, Paul E.; Coley, Richard J.
Publication Year:
ETS Policy Information Center Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Child Care Family Literacy Minorities Socioeconomic Status (SES) Student Achievement


If the United States is to reach our ambitious national education goals, we need to focus as much attention on the starting line as we do on the finish line. While most reform debate centers on improving schools, increasing teaching quality and raising student achievement, success also requires changes within America's smallest school: the family. In the ETS Policy Information Center’s new report, The Family: America's Smallest School, ETS researchers Paul E. Barton and Richard J. Coley outline the family and home conditions affecting children’s cognitive development and school achievement and how gaps beginning early persist throughout life. With a preface and endorsement by Marc H. Morial, President of the National Urban League, both organizations call on leaders and policymakers to improve not only schools, but also home and family conditions, to help all students succeed. Critical factors examined in the report include child care quality, parental involvement in schools, parent/pupil ratio, family finances, literacy development, student absences and physical home environments.

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