Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Coleman Report

UPDATE 2012: I got an electronic copy of the Coleman Report, and uploaded it to Scribd here, and to Google Docs here.  
Original post: The most famous study in the history of education is the so-called Coleman Report -- James Coleman, Equality of Educational Opportunity. As one article describes it:
An obscure provision in the 1964 Civil Rights Act called for a study of inequality of opportunity in education "by reason of race, color, religion, or national origin." The general assumption of educators, indeed Coleman's assumption, was that the funding differences between black and white schools would be large, and that these differences would provide the central explanation for unequal achievements of blacks and whites. In 1966, after conducting what was then the second largest social science research project in history -- involving 600,000 children in 4,000 schools nationally -- Coleman and his colleagues issued Equality of Educational Opportunity. It became, according to journalist Nicholas Lemann, "probably the single best-known piece of quantitative social science in American history," and it contained a number of surprising findings. First, the disparities in funding between schools attended by blacks and whites were far smaller than anticipated. Second, funding was not closely related to achievement; fam ily economic status was far more predictive. Third, a different kind of resource-peers-mattered a great deal. Going to school with middle-class peers was an advantage, while going to school with lower-class peers was a disadvantage, above and beyond an individual's family circumstances.
I'm therefore somewhat surprised that I can't seem to find any way to purchase a copy of that study. I've looked on Amazon and Abebooks, but haven't had any luck thus far. I understand that the study was some 700 pages long, and I find it hard to imagine that no one has ever published it in book form. Yet nothing of that sort seems to be available. I do have a copy of a book collecting several further studies and comments on Coleman's work: On Equality of Educational Opportunity, edited by Pat Moynihan and Frederick Mosteller in 1972. But as yet, I can't find a way to buy the original study itself. Anyone know of any clues here?

UPDATE: See this March 2006 post for more on the Coleman Report.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The University of New Hampshire Library has this as a government document originally published by the (then) Office of Education in HEW. It wouldn't help you buy it, but you might be able to put your hands on a copy at a Federal Depository Library (see the GPO website to find one near you).

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a few copies available at

11:44 PM  

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