The achievement gap between low-income students and their more affluent peers has grown by roughly 40% since the 1960s, according to a recent study by researchers at Stanford University. Another study from University of Michigan researchers shows a 50% increase since the late 1980s in the imbalance between rich and poor students completing college. Furthermore, researchers say they expect the gap to widen amid the effects of the economic downturn.
It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race.
Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period. Additionally, the gap also exists at the college level. In a study conducted by The University of Michigan, researchers looked at two generations of students, those born from 1961 to 1964 and those born from 1979 to 1982. By 1989, about one-third of the high-income students in the first generation had finished college; by 2007, more than half of the second generation had done so. By contrast, only 9 percent of the low-income students in the second generation had completed college by 2007, up only slightly from a 5 percent college completion rate by the first generation in 1989. Some experts maintain that the recession over the past few years has not only impacted the gap but will continue to widen it.
Read the entire article here at NYTimes.com with additional information about the research data.
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