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Attitude/Achievement Paradox

One of the more puzzling patterns in the sociology of education is the combination of blacks' generally pro-school attitudes, yet poor school performance—what Mickelson called the “attitude/achievement paradox.” This puzzle was evident as far back as the 1966 Coleman Report, where the authors concluded that blacks “give a picture of students who report high interest in academic achievement, but whose reported interest is not translated through effective action into achievement.” More modern scholars, such as George Farkas et al., have noted the paradox in contemporary data. Explanations for the paradox can be roughly divided into two camps. The first questions the legitimacy of blacks' attitudes. In contrast, the second accepts blacks' pro-school attitudes as legitimate, but notes how blacks may face special challenges converting attitudes ...

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