Coleman Report: Family Matters Most

Source: Education Next, Spring 2010

Coleman I found that within regions and types of communities (urban, suburban, and rural), expenditures per pupil were about the same in black and white schools. Even more remarkable, students did not learn more just because more was spent on their education. Nor did any other material resource of a school have much of an effect on how well Johnny and Suzy read—not the number of students in the class, nor the teacher’s credentials, nor the newness of the textbooks, nor the number of books in the library, nor anything physical or material that schools had for years considered important.

What did count were a host of family-background characteristics: mother’s education, father’s education, family income, having fewer siblings, the number of books in the home, and other factors—all of which together explained more of the variation among students in their reading achievement than any school-related factor.


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