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July 1974

Inequality, A Reassessment of the Effect of Family and Schooling in America.

Author Affiliations

Center for the History of Education University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX 78712

Am J Dis Child. 1974;128(1):121-123. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110260123039

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The book Inequality by Christopher Jencks is in one sense an arid waste of somewhat confusing and misleading statistics between chapter one and chapter nine, and, in another sense, a destructive, unscientific critique of American education and families. Jencks' interpretation comes down hard on his basic feeling that "The crucial problem today is that relatively few people view income inequality as a serious problem; indeed the Nixon administration apparently convinced itself that income was too equally distributed in 1968 and that the rich needed additional incentives to get even richer. The Kennedy and Johnson administrations were only marginally better. Neither made any explicit effort to equalize incomes; the subject was hardly discussed. Instead reformers focused on equalizing opportunity." This view is probably correct but it is no excuse for an unscholarly, unscientific polemic against far from "peripheral institutions," which is Jencks' evaluation of the American schools. This book states

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