Karl L. Alexander is Chair and John Dewey Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University. He has been at Hopkins since 1972. Alexander previously chaired the department from 1985 to 1993 and from 2006 to 2009, is past President of the Southern Sociological Society, past Chair of the Sociology of Education Section of the American Sociological Association, was editor of the journal Sociology of Education from 2003 – 2006, and he currently directs a federally funded Predoctoral Training Program in Education Research. Since 1982 he and colleague Doris Entwisle have been directing the Baltimore-based Beginning School Study (BSS). The BSS is a long-term study of youth development with a particular interest in the lasting imprint of early home and school experiences. It has been tracking the life progress of a panel of 800 Baltimore youngsters since first grade in 20 Baltimore city public schools.