Low-income kindergartners are closing the achievement gap, reversing a decades-old trend

August 26, 2016

By Emma Brown

Low-income kindergartners are entering school with stronger math and reading skills, narrowing the academic gap with their affluent peers and reversing a decades-old trend, according to research released Friday.

The good news surprised researchers, who had expected to see school-readiness gaps growing — particularly given the broad societal trends of increasing income inequality and economic segregation.

“It’s not like the lives of the rich and the poor have gotten more equal, so we thought the trend of the widening gap would continue,” said Sean Reardon, a Stanford University professor of poverty and inequality in education. He co-authored the study with Ximena Portilla of MDRC, and it was published Friday in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

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