Poverty and inequality are powerful forces that shape our children’s educational success and attainment of the American Dream. But inequality is not inevitable, and poverty is not destiny. Understanding the role of poverty and inequality in shaping opportunity—and the potential for families, schools, and society to expand opportunity—is essential to thinking about how we can ensure that all children have an equal chance to succeed in school and to lead productive, fulfilling lives.
Professor of Education Sean Reardon recently published a controversial New York Times opinion piece titled "No Rich Child Left Behind," in which he detailed his research on the widening achievement gap between students from high- and low-income families. Reardon spoke with The Daily about the feedback he has received on the piece and his thoughts on how the achievement gap can be narrowed.
Here’s a fact that may not surprise you: the children of the rich perform better in school, on average, than children from middle-class or poor families. Students growing up in richer families have better grades and higher standardized test scores, on average, than poorer students; they also have higher rates of participation in extracurricular activities and school leadership positions, higher graduation rates and higher rates of college enrollment and completion.
A little pocket of Los Angeles County tucked into the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains reflects a crucial facet of suburban life. There’s tiny, wealthy Bradbury, a town that prides itself on having one of the richest ZIP codes in Los Angeles, where a house is on the market for $68.8 million. A couple of miles to the east is Azusa. This modest suburb is more than two-thirds Latino, a town of working families whose incomes and home values are a sliver of the wealth nearby.
sean reardon of Stanford University and Andrew Ho of Harvard University are the 2013 recipients of the Palmer O. Johnson Award for the article, Estimating Achievement Gaps From Test Scores Reported in Ordinal 'Proficiency' Categories, published in the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics in August 2012. This award is to be given for an outstanding article appearing in an AERA-sponsored publication.
The lifting of court-ordered school integration efforts over the last 22 years has led to the gradual unraveling of a key legacy of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. After being freed from judicial oversight, hundreds of large and medium-sized school districts in the South have steadily resegregated, slowly moving away from the ideal of black and white children attending school together.
A benefit of the attention to class-based admissions policies is the spotlight it puts on how much education from kindergarten through college favors students with economic and social advantages. Those from the top fifth of households in income are at least seven times as likely to go to selective colleges as those in the bottom fifth. The achievement gap between high- and low-income groups is almost twice as wide as between whites and blacks.
In this seminar Sean Reardon from Stanford University will addresses this question. First, he will describe trends in the “income-achievement gap” (the test score gap between children from low and high income families). The evidence shows that the association between income and achievement has grown by 40 percent in recent decades, while the association between race and achievement has held steady or even declined. Second, he will describe trends in the relationship between family income and the quality of colleges in which students enroll.
THE HAMPTONS, A string of small towns on the south shore of Long Island, have long been a playground for America’s affluent. Nowadays the merely rich are being crimped by the ultra-wealthy. In August it can cost $400,000 to rent a fancy house there. The din of helicopters and private jets is omnipresent. The “Quiet Skies Coalition”, formed by a group of angry residents, protests against the noise, particularly of one billionaire’s military-size Chinook. “You can’t even play tennis,” moans an old-timer who stays near the East Hampton airport. “It’s like the third world war with GIV and GV jets.”
It’s a well-established fact that the rich are growing richer and the poor are growing poorer, and that there are fewer and fewer people in between. What’s not so well known is how that income gap may be translating into disparities in educational success––and what that might mean for the long-term future of individuals, economically challenged groups, and our entire nation.
A recently published study by Professor Sean Reardon is sounding alarm bells. Reardon has found that the gap in test scores between the highest and lowest-income students has grown by about 40 percent since the 1960s and is now nearly twice as large as the black-white achievement gap.