Falling Into The Income Gap: Poor Students Doing Worse Than Ever Before
Good news: the performance gap between white and black students has shrunk dramatically. Before we go patting ourselves on the collective back, however, there's some bad news: the performance gap between wealthy and poor students is growing.
Parental guilt trigger warning, the article mentions two factors that may exacerbate the income gap:
1. Two parent households' ability to provide their children with an ever-increasing range of experiences and enrichment.
2. The rate of college completion.
Income inequality, the more politically correct and less dramatic name for class warfare, is at the root of the "Occupy" protests and a hot-button issue this election. President Obama called income inequality "the defining issue of our time" in his State of the Union address and said: "No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important". "We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules."
What is more concerning is how income inequality has become entrenched in our society. Social mobility seems less likely than ever before. If your parents are poor, the chance that you will be poor is greater in the United States than at any point in the last 50 years.
Isn't that the American Dream? That you can make or break your own fortunes through a little talent and a lot of hard work? Is that dream still alive? And can education still make it happen?
These new studies suggest that we need to reach children at risk well before they enter the school system, when children from high income families have already accumulated 400 more hours of literacy activities than children from low-income families. One model that is exploring this is the Brazelton Touchpoints Center program that is reaching out to childcare and pediatric healthcare providers who see families years before teachers and school administrators. The approach is designed to empower families and encourage parents to become the experts on their own children.
We are at a crossroads. In our supposedly democratic nation, the gap between the rich and the poor is not only widening, it is starting to look like a giant, cement wall. We need to restore the possibility of mobility. So, how do we start?