Rucker C. Johnson: Children of the Dream: Why School Integration Works | PIER Seminar


Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 4:15pm to 5:30pm


HGSE Larsen 106

Rucker C. Johnson, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley.

Co sponsored by Inequality & Social Policy | Info

Rucker C. JohnsonInequality in schools leads to many of our most intractable social ills: the mass incarceration of young men of color, disparities in income, life expectancy and related public health metrics.

Children of the Dream argues for public education as the primary engine of upward mobility. Specifically, Johnson examines the success of three significant equal-opportunity initiatives: 1) court-mandated integration efforts; 2) school finance reform; and 3) expansions of public pre-K investments. Using nationally-representative data sets of children followed from birth to adulthood across multiple generations, matched with their access to quality schools, he shows how these three policies had lasting benefits.

The above policies have never been tried in concert for extended periods of time. Extant efforts at solving our educational woes detach health from education and early education from K-12 schooling. Current policy designs are as divided as our segregated classrooms—and must be combatted just as vigorously. Johnson believes that we must shift the paradigm from a singular approach chasing after illusory silver bullets to an integrated solution.

Children of the Dream, by Rucker C. JohnsonMore about the book

Children of the Dream: Why School Integration Works, by Rucker C. Johnson with Alexander Nazaryan (Basic Books and the Russell Sage Foundation, 2019).
What's inside | Read an excerpt ▶

About the speaker

Rucker C. Johnson is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy in the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.  As a labor economist who specializes in the economics of education, Johnson’s work considers the role of poverty and inequality in affecting life chances.

Johnson was one of 35 scholars to receive the prestigious 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. His research has appeared in leading academic journals, featured in mainstream media outlets, and he has been invited to give policy briefings at the White House and on Capitol Hill. 

Johnson is committed to advance his scholarly agenda of fusing insights from multiple disciplinary perspectives to improve our understanding of the causes, consequences, and remedies of inequality in this country. Johnson earned his PhD in economics at the University of Michigan. At UC-Berkeley (2004-present), he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in applied econometrics and topical courses in race, poverty, and inequality.

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See also: Fall 2019