This analysis examines whether the unique mix of traditional and modern institutions in the Gulf region structures educational opportunity. We begin with a theoretically comparative framework, which emphasizes the blending of cultural capital differentiation with the cross-national adoption of similar models of schooling. We then use historical and cultural data to contextualize our analyses through mini-case studies aligning Gulf State-Islamic ideology within Iran and Kuwait's educational systems, specifically. Using cross-national data, we empirically test these assumptions in comparative context for Iran and Kuwait. Initial results for the hypothesized relationships rely on both descriptive analyses of resource availability and level of curricular influence in each country, as well as measures of students' expectations and attitudes towards schooling. We then expand these initial cross-national comparisons with multilevel regression models that estimate the effects of educational opportunity indicators on the technical processes and outcomes of schooling. In other words, our analyses not only indicate whether this intersection of traditional and modern institutions influences students' opportunity to learn but also provide preliminary empirical indicators of how this might happen by estimating the degree of penetration of Gulf State culture and religious ideology into schools' organizational environments.