Saturday, December 2, 2017

Economic and Educational Inequalities and the School-Readiness Gap

A study conducted by researchers at the Economic Policy Institute examined the relationship between children’s socioeconomic status (SES) and their cognitive and noncognitive skills when starting school. We find that large performance gaps exist between children in the lowest and highest socioeconomic-status (SES) quintiles. Results show children’s social class is one of the most significant predictors—if not the single most significant predictor—of their educational success. Moreover, it is increasingly apparent that performance gaps by social class take root in the earliest years of children’s lives and fail to narrow in the years that follow. That is, children who start behind stay behind—they are rarely able to make up the lost ground. Low educational achievement leads to lowered economic prospects later in life, perpetuating a lack of social mobility across generations. This study shows how the undeniable relationship between economic inequalities and education inequalities represents a societal failure that betrays the ideal of the “American dream.”

Garcia, E., & Weiss, E. (2017). Education inequalities at the school starting gate: Gaps, trends, and strategies to address them. Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute.

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