A sociologist dispels misconceptions about race and educational disparities.
A number of assumptions swirl around the educational achievement gap between minority and non-minority students, assumptions that have ossified into what counts as conventional wisdom on the topic. When L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy began researching these educational disparities and the attendant social issues, he was interested in dispelling two persistent myths: first, that the achievement gap is a predominantly urban phenomenon; and second, that class, rather than race, is the decisive factor that holds particular groups of students back.
That Lewis-McCoy elected to locate his research in a suburban context will surprise those well-versed in achievement gap research, much of which is oriented toward urban spaces like Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles. Much less understood is how these disparities affect suburban schools, despite the increasing diversity of suburban neighborhoods. “It’s almost like there is a neat and discrete disconnect from the idea of people of color and suburban spaces,” says Lewis-McCoy.