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Book Info:

Available at
ISBN: 0743204468
320 pages

No Excuses:
Closing the Racial Gap in Learning

Simon & Schuster, (October 2003)
by Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom

Stephan Thernstrom is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the Winthrop Professor of History at Harvard University
Abigail Thernstrom is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute

Two distinguished experts on race in America offer a sober appraisal of the racial gap in education—and show how it can be overcome.

No problem in education is more important today than the gap in academic performance between African-American and Latino children on the one hand and white and Asian-American students on the other. That gap in academic skills and knowledge is arguably the central civil rights issue of our time; inequalities in the K-12 years create learning disparities that are almost impossible to overcome later on.

Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom, authors of the widely acclaimed America in Black and White, analyze the problem in No Excuses. It is a problem that is as evident in affluent suburbs as it is in inner-city schools. Recent federal legislation has made the long-ignored facts unavoidable, but conventional answers like more funding are not the solution.

But this is a problem that can be solved, the Thernstroms argue. No Excuses highlights inner-city schools across the country that are models of superb education and thus beacons of hope. Carefully researched, accessibly written, and vitally important, this book offers a map of the present and a blueprint of the future that we can’t afford to ignore.


*Los Angeles Times Names No Excuses One of the Best Books of 2003

“The time is long overdue to start looking at facts instead of listening to rhetoric. Reading No Excuses is a start…If you read just one book about American education all year, this should be the book. It not only goes into the causes and cures of racial disparities in education, in the process it punctures many of the fads, dogmas, and pious hypocrisies of the education establishment.”
—Thomas Sowell

No Excuses is a comprehensive and informed effort to explore the racial gap in education and what can be done about it.”
—Nathan Glazer, The New Republic

“[A]s Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom make clear in their new book, No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning, a significant source of the gap is in the attitudes toward academic achievement that are prevalent in black America, even among the economically successful, college-trained middle class.”
—William Raspberry, The Washington Post

“. . . a damning account of how the public schools fail black students.”
—Rich Lowry

“The Thernstroms have written an important, bracing, and deeply conscientious book. It is a combination of cool scholarship and passionate caring.”
—Jay Nordlinger, National Review

No Excuses is a follow-up to the Thernstroms’ America in Black and White . . . Both books disdain ideological polemics in favor of clear-eyed analysis, buttressing argument with statistics and case studies although never at the expense of interest and prose style.”
—Clint Bolick, Wall Street Journal

“No Excuses lands heavy body blows for the good guys.”
—Lawrence Henry, The American Spectator


No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning.


America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible
by Abigail & Stephan Thernstrom

America in Black and White.

(Touchstone 1999, Simon & Schuster 1997)