This research was carried out at the National Opinion Research Center at The University of Chicago. Consistent with its distinguished tradition, NORC provided us with ample resources for the execution of our work. We are particularly indebted to Calvin Jones and the staff of the High School and Beyond project, who at several points gave us the benefit of their extensive knowledge of the data files and data collection efforts. As the sponsor and original architect of the High School and Beyond project, the Center for Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education (formerly the National Center for Education Statistics) deserves credit for the creation of one of the most important and widely used data bases available to American social researchers. We owe a special note of gratitude to Martin Kessler at Basic Books, who encouraged us to undertake a further examination of public and private schools, and who supported our decision to elaborate that examination in the directions presented here.
As the analysis for this book progressed, two different goals began to emerge. One goal was to extend our earlier work on public and private schools. The second was to study the functioning of the school as a social unit in its social context. Work on the latter set of problems, which led us to an investigation of how social capital in school and communities affects school functioning, was suported by a grant from the Spencer Foundation.
Several colleagues provided us with comments and criticisms over the course of our work on this project. Bruce Carruthers was particularly helpful in this throughout the project, and also aided us with portions of the data analysis. Participants in the Mathematical Sociology Seminar at The University of Chicago also gave us valuable feedback on a number of conceptual and technical points on two occasions when we presented portions of our research. In this capacity, we would like to thank particularly Douglas Anderton, Anthony Bryk, Yong Hak Kim, Howard Margolis, Tina Morris, and Mindy Schimmel. Our colleague at NORC, Andrew Greeley, also provided us with several useful suggestions at early stages of this project, and we are grateful for his interest and insight.