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October 6, 2008

Conference will focus on problems of inequality in education

Social scientists and philosophers will convene Oct. 17-18 at the Arrillaga Alumni Center at Stanford to examine issues related to educational equality, including charter schools, the achievement gap between black and white students and the relationship between economic inequality and inequality in schooling.

The conference, "Justice and Educational Distribution," is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Bowen H. McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford and the Spencer Foundation, a Chicago group that has awarded about $250 million in educational research grants over the last four decades.

Stanford President John Hennessy and Spencer Foundation President Michael McPherson will open the conference with speeches on ethical issues in higher education.

The two-day event will feature eight panels in which one professor will present a paper and a second professor will comment on it. Following is a list of a few of the panelists and their paper titles:

  • Caroline Hoxby, a professor of economics at Stanford and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, will present "Charter Schools Closing the Achievement Gap: Results from New York City and Chicago." Kenneth Strike, a professor of cultural foundations of education at Syracuse University in New York, will respond. The chair will be Sean Reardon, an associate professor of education at Stanford.
  • Harvard University's Jennifer Hochschild, a professor of government and of African and African-American Studies, will present "Immigration Regimes, Schooling Regimes and Educational Outcomes: What Is Fairest to Immigrants and Native-Born Residents." Irene Bloemraad, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California-Berkeley who studies the nexus between immigration and the political system, will respond. The chair will be Anne Newman, an assistant professor of education at Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Susan Mayer, dean of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, will present "The Relationship Between Economic Inequality and Inequality in Schooling." Joshua Cohen, a professor of political science, philosophy and law at Stanford, will respond. The chair will be Prudence Carter, an associate professor of education at Stanford.
  • Organizers request that attendees pre-register for the event on the conference website: The Arrillaga Alumni Center is located at 326 Galvez Street at Campus Drive East.



    Kathleen J. Sullivan, News Service: (650) 724-5708,


    Joan Berry, Center for Ethics in Society: (650) 723-0997,

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