6 December 2012
Rich vs. Poor Achievement Gap:
Is Life Fair to Everyone?
The American Dream, the idea that every citizen can be successful if they work hard, is believable to the degree that every student going to school has the same opportunity to learn the skills needed to succeed in society. But if the opportunity for students to attain a sufficient education is imbalanced, then the likelihood of success becomes very slim for some students. Today, inequality has become a serious problem among poor students and their wealthy peers across the country, and the dream of becoming a successful icon is moving farther out of reach for them. In order to succeed in life, one depends on his or her adolescent years and years in college that desperately lean on the socioeconomic status of the parents and not only the quality of education. The achievement gap between the rich and the poor is constantly growing wider, and if nothing is done to aid poor student population the gap will continue to increase resulting in economic consequences and possibly crime among low-income adolescences who can’t cope with school life because they need to support for their family. The problem America faces is the relationship of an underprivileged socioeconomic background linked to poor child development and education. For the longest time, education has been the major lane to success in the United States. One’s life depends a lot on the skills attained from school and from family background, and the lack of opportunities influences the development of children and their future endeavors. Contrary to the middle-class and upper class children, many underprivileged children are deprived of these equal opportunities. In fact, children from low-income families get very little chances to have a normal education at all, and higher education like college and private schooling is essentially an unattainable dream that they can imagine but it never actually comes true. Due to the lack of resources and finances the initial opportunities of people from low-income families are consistently worse than opportunities of the rest of American children. Reading Richard D. Kahlenburg’s “5 Myths About Who Gets Into College,” he states that a 2004 Century Foundation study found that at the most selective universities and colleges, “74 percent of students come from the richest quarter of the population, while just 3 percent come from the bottom corner” (495). Correspondingly, SAT scores play an important role in being admitted to a good university. Students who come from areas with high poverty rates and come from low-income families usually score, on average, “784 points lower than the more privileged and fortunate student body” (Kahlenburg, 495). Even when students from low-income families score high on standardized testing and receive admittance to a university, their families have trouble supporting their children’s education financially. Consequently, these children are basically forced to work to earn enough money to keep his/her family alive, so ultimately college is a very difficult education level to attain. Naturally, most people are equally as intelligent, but in society today it matters what environment one lives in and what quality opportunities are presented depending on social status. For most people summer is a time to relax, but if you want to keep up with your classmates maybe its time to pick up a book! During summer break there is a common decline in learning that students experience, and this is called the summer slide. Three researchers from Johns Hopkins University named Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle, and Linda Olson, researched this issue thoroughly by performing longitudinal studies on Baltimore students from 1st grade through age 22. During the academic year, lower-class children achieved the same reading levels as their middle and upper class peers, but children from lower-class...
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