The Kid in Purple Pants: Structured Approaches to Educating Underprivileged Students

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In examining the opportunity gap between high- and low-income children, it is important to begin at the beginning— birth. The evidence suggests that children of high- and low-income families start out with similar abilities but rapidly diverge in outcomes. At the earliest ages, there is almost no difference in cognitive ability between high- and low-income individuals.

Although it is obviously difficult to measure the cognitive ability of infants, this ECLS metric has been shown to be modestly predictive of IQ at age five Fryer and Levitt Controlling for age, number of siblings, race, and other environmental factors, the effects of socioeconomic status are small and statistically insignificant. A child born into a family in the highest socioeconomic quintile, for example, can expect to score only 0. By contrast, other factors, such as age, gender, and birth order, have a greater impact on abilities at the earliest stages of life.

Despite similar starting points, by age four, children in the highest income quintile score, on average, in the 69th percentile on tests of literacy and mathematics, while children in the lowest income quintile score in the 34th and 32nd percentile, respectively Waldfogel and Washbrook Although we may all enter the world on similar footing, the deck is stacked against children born into low-income households. Figure 5 shows enrichment expenditures—SAT prep, private tutors, computers, music lessons, and the like—by income level.

The difference is still stark: high-income families have gone from spending slightly more than four times as much as low-income families to nearly seven times more. Parents of higher socioeconomic status invest not only more money in their children, but more time as well.

On average, mothers with a college degree spend 4.

This means that, among other things, by age three, children of parents who are professionals have vocabularies that are 50 percent larger than those of children from working-class families, and percent larger than those of children whose families receive welfare, disparities that some researchers ascribe to differences in how much parents engage and speak with their children.

By the time they are three, children born to parents who are professionals have heard about 30 million more words than children born to parents who receive welfare Hart and Risley While many factors play a role in shaping scholastic achievement, family income is one of the most persistent and significant. In fact, the income achievement gap—the role that wealth plays in educational attainment—has been increasing over the past five decades.

Elementary Education Has Gone Terribly Wrong

By comparing test results of children from families at the 90th income percentile to those of children from families at the 10th percentile, researchers have found that the gap has grown by about 40 percent over the past thirty years Reardon Figure 6 shows that the income achievement gap as estimated for students born in is over 1.

To put this in perspective, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, an average student advances between 1. The achievement gap between high- and low-income students, then, is on par with the gap between eighth graders and fourth graders. This growing test-score gap mirrors the diverging parental investments of high- and low-income families figure 5.

As with parental investment, the test scores of low-income students have shown modest gains over the past few decades, while those of high-income students have shown large increases. The gap between high- and low-income students, therefore, is not an instance of the poor doing worse while the wealthy are doing better; rather, it is that students from wealthier families are pulling away from their lower-income peers.

Thirteen Economic Facts about Social Mobility and the Role of Education

College graduation rates have increased dramatically over the past few decades, but most of these increases have been achieved by high-income Americans. Figure 7 shows the change in graduation rates for individuals born between and and those born between and The graduation rates are reported separately for children in each quartile of the income distribution. In every income quartile, the proportion graduating from college increased, but the size of that increase varied considerably. While the highest income quartile saw an 18 percentage-point increase in the graduation rate between these birth cohorts, the lowest income quartile saw only a 4 percentage-point increase.

This graduation-rate gap may have important implications for social mobility and inequality. The gap between high- and low-income groups in college outcomes extends beyond college graduation rates. Students from higher-income families also apply to and enroll in moreselective colleges. Figure 8 reports the percent of students at more- and less-selective schools that come from families in the top and bottom quartiles of the socioeconomic status distribution a combination of parental income, education, and occupation.

The figure demonstrates that the most-competitive colleges are attended almost entirely by students from higher—socioeconomic status households. Indeed, the more competitive the institution, the greater the percentage of the student body that comes from the top quartile, and the smaller the percentage from the bottom quartile. Promoting increased social mobility requires reexamining a wide range of economic, health, social, and education policies.

Higher education has always been a key way for poor Americans to find opportunities to transform their economic circumstances. In a time of rising inequality and low social mobility, improving the quality of and access to education has the potential to increase equality of opportunity for all Americans. The earnings of college graduates are much higher than for nongraduates, and that is especially true among people born into low-income families. Figure 9 shows the earnings outcomes for individuals born into the lowest quintile of the income distribution, depending on whether they earned a college degree.

In a perfectly mobile society, an individual would have an equal chance of ending up in any of the five quintiles, and all the bars would be level with the bold line. As the figure shows, however, without a college degree a child born into a family in the lowest quintile has a 45 percent chance of remaining in that quintile as an adult and only a 5 percent chance of moving into the highest quintile. On the other hand, children born into the lowest quintile who do earn a college degree have only a 16 percent chance of remaining in the lowest quintile and a 19 percent chance of breaking into the top quintile.

In other words, a low-income individual without a college degree will very likely remain in the lower part of the earnings distribution, whereas a low-income individual with a college degree could just as easily land in any income quintile—including the highest. In the past decade, increases in the sticker price of attending college have made going to college appear, for some, prohibitively expensive. But before allowing this sticker price to be a deterrent, students must look deeper to learn whether those costs apply to them.


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Looking at net tuition—the price that the average student actually pays after financial aid—the picture is very different. Because of increases in federal, state, and college-provided financial aid, not only is average net tuition much lower than average published tuition, but it has also increased at a much lower rate than published tuition in the past ten years. In fact, the projected average net tuition at private four-year colleges for the academic year —13 is 3. For many households, high costs of tuition are a burden. Once families and students have a sense of what financial aid they are eligible for, they can get a more accurate idea of the actual price tag for tuition.

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For each student, the net cost is the important consideration when making educational decisions. But even individuals who attend college and do not obtain a degree still see an increase in their annual earnings. Higher education is one of the best investments an individual can make. In comparison, the average return to an investment in the stock market is a little over 5 percent; gold, ten-year Treasury bonds, T-bills, and housing are 3 percent or less.

Chapter 1: Inequality Is Rising against a Background of Low Social Mobility

While it is likely that college graduates have different aptitudes and ambitions that might affect earnings and thus the resulting economic returns, a large body of academic research suggests there is a strong causal relationship between increases in education and increases in earnings Card Over the past decade, the volume and frequency of student loans have increased significantly.

The share of twenty-five-year-olds with student debt has risen by about 15 percentage points since , and the amount of student debt incurred by those under the age of thirty has more than doubled Lee Despite these increases, the majority of students appear to borrow prudently. Still, recent trends in student loans raise questions and concerns that merit further investigation. ECD centres get R15 a child a day and the total conditional grant for the and financial years is Rmillion. The requirements for an ECD centre to be registered include: One toilet for every 20 children; an outdoor play area of at least one square metre per child for the first 30 children;trained teachers; a safe structure with suitably covered floors; and a sick bay away from other children.

The social development department had not responded to a request for comment at the time the article was uploaded.

Elementary-School Curriculum Is All Wrong - The Atlantic

Create Account Lost Your Password? Toggle navigation Toggle profile. Create Account. Education Daycare shacks offer shelter for poor toddlers Bongekile Macupe 01 Feb South Africa recognises early childhood development as one of its priorities.


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