"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

British Study: Advantage Gap Becomes Achievement Gap

Yet another study shows family income as a primary determinant to how far behind poor and black children are in school long before these children even get to school. Denying or ignoring this obvious fact has become the primary enabler for maintaining a bankrupt and cynical meritocracy that, in fact, protects the advantaged while further punishing the disadvantaged.

It has led, too, to sanity-resistant racist and classist testing practices that pile more rewards on the already privileged, while blaming teachers and the children themselves for not correcting the inequalities that are sustained by a persistent avoidance of reality by those with the resources to actually alter that reality.

This situation largely explains how we end up with Ted Kennedy, Amy Wilkins, and George W. Bush embracing an education policy that has turned inadequate schools into intellectual extermination camps and behavioral chain gangs.

A clip from The Herald:

Many children from disadvantaged backgrounds are already up to a year behind more privileged youngsters educationally by the age of three, a major study published today has revealed.

Vocabulary scores of more than 12,000 children showed that the sons and daughters of graduates were 10 months ahead of those with the least-educated parents.

A second "school readiness" assessment measuring understanding of colours, letters, numbers, sizes and shapes that was given to more than 11,500 toddlers found an even wider gap - 12 months - between the two groups.

The equivalent gaps for children in families living above and below the poverty line used by the researchers were five months for vocabulary and 10 months for school readiness. . . .

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