Study: Poor Kindergartners Are Catching Up

August 26, 2016

By Lauren Camera

After decades of exponential growth in the gap of kindergarten academic readiness between poor students and their wealthier peers, that fissure is finally closing.

Between 1998 and 2010, the difference in kindergarten readiness between high- and low-income children narrowed by 10 percent to 16 percent, according to a study published Friday in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

Previously, that academic achievement gap between poor and wealthy children had grown by about 40 percent since the 1970s.

"Given that income inequality in the United States has continued to rise in the 2000s, we expected that the gap in school readiness would also continue to grow, but instead it has narrowed," Sean Reardon, a professor at Stanford University and one of the study's co-authors, said in a statement. "This suggests that the income achievement gap is malleable; it can be reduced."