We know of white/black, white/Hispanic, white/Asian, and male and female achievement gaps. Is there a gap between the 90th percentile of income and the 10th percentile? Are those narrowing too?
The short answer is that there is a rich/poor achievement gap; it is widening and therefore is not being considered on the RTTT and Common Core assessments. The data can be compiled by geeks, however and has.
As of 2011 Stanford University’s Sean F. Reardon crunched the information and this is what he found.
First, the income achievement gap (defined here as the income difference between a child from a family at the 90th percentile of the family income distribution and a child from a family at the 10th percentile) is now nearly twice as large as the black-white achievement gap. Fifty years ago, in contrast, the black-white gap was one and a half to two times as large as the income gap.
Second, as Greg Duncan and Katherine Magnuson note in chapter 3 of this volume, the income achievement gap is large when children enter kindergarten and does not appear to grow (or narrow) appreciably as children progress through school.
Third, although rising income inequality may play a role in the growing income achievement gap, it does not appear to be the dominant factor. The gap appears to have grown at least partly because of an increase in the association between family income and childrens’ academic achievement for families above the median income
level: a given difference in family incomes now corresponds to a 30 to 60 percent larger difference
in achievement than it did for children born in the 1970s.
Finally, the growing income achievement gap does not appear to be a result of a growing achievement gap between children with highly and less-educated parents. Indeed, the relationship between parental education and children’s achievement has remained relatively stable. During the last fifty years, whereas the relationship between income and achievement has grown sharply.
Family income is now nearly as strong as parental education in predicting children’s achievement.
The achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families is roughly 30 to 40 percent larger among children born in 2001 than among those born twenty-five years earlier.
This data throws RTTT data and Common Core’s standards out the window. For if you are going to cut medical care for children, and daily meals for children, no matter what else your corporate consulting firms may sell you, education is going to go backwards….
There is a new gap, and it is not just esoteric. It is the income gap and it is impacting education in a very big way. Enough to severely affect our nation’s competitiveness starting as soon as 2025.
Increased Medical and dental care, balanced meals for all those in school, are no longer issues for Democrats and Republicans to argue over incessantly. We are in a national emergency. They are required items.