SOLD OUT! Brightest Minds: Dr. Karl Alexander on the "long shadow" of childhood poverty

Friday, September 18, 2015
9:30am to 11:30am EDT
800 17th Street NW
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This event is sold out. To be added to the waiting list, email Rebekah Seder, seder(at)

In a groundbreaking 25-year study, sociologist Karl Alexander and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University tracked the lives of 790 Baltimore public school children. Every few years, they would conduct in-depth, personal interviews with their subjects, following them as they completed school, joined the workforce, and started families. Many of their subjects graduated high school, attended college, and found good-paying jobs; many others had children as teenagers, landed in prison, and were never able to move into the middle class.

The findings of the study, published last year in the book The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood, highlight the life-long consequences of being born into poverty, the complex ways that race and gender affect opportunity, and the impact of the legacy of legal discrimination and segregation on achievement. Dr. Alexander’s work has profound implications for those working to create and improve opportunities for low-income individuals and families.

This event is generously sponsored by the Jane Bancroft Robinson Foundation.

Members: Free
Non-Members: $45.00

Please register online. If you do not have an account, please contact Rebekah Seder, seder(at)


Karl Alexander is Academy Professor, Research Professor of Sociology and Professor of Education (by courtesy) at the Johns Hopkins University, having retired as the John Dewey Professor of Sociology in 2014 after 42 years at Hopkins (including three terms as department chair, totaling 15 years). He is past President of the Southern Sociological Society, past Chair of the Sociology of Education Section of the American Sociological Association, and was editor of the journal Sociology of Education from 2003 – 2006. His interests center on schools and their role in educational stratification. He and his colleague Doris Entwisle launched the Baltimore-based Beginning School Study (BSS) in 1982. The BSS tracked the life progress of 790 Baltimore public school students over more than 25 years, from first grade into young adulthood. Three books are included among the project’s many publications: “Children Schools and Inequality” (Westview Press, 1997); “On the Success of Failure: A Reassessment of the Effects of Retention in the Primary Grades” (Cambridge University Press, 2003); and The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth and the Transition to Adulthood (Russell Sage Foundation, 2014).

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