Education Gap Grows Wider as Does the Income Gap
February 10, 2012
The New York Times has a thought provoking article about an increasing gap in educational opportunity, and resulting education, that mirrors the increasing income disparity. In short, parents in upper income brackets are able to–and do–spend a order of magnitude more money preparing their children for academic and economic success than can parents in low income families. Thus education, which has been the great leveling factor, becomes a less than level playing field.
Poverty impacts so much, and the impact starts early. When parents can’t provide even diapers, their ability to provide other support for their children is affected. The article suggests that the difference in preparation may include access to cultural opportunities rather than money spent, but even so, it is understandable if parents who struggle to provide basics are distracted from trying to find library reading circles for their children. In the hierarchy of needs, diapers and other basics come before soccer lessons. Helping parents meet basic needs will allow parents to expand their focus to include the “extras” that will prepare their children for academic success.