Posts Tagged ‘social mobility’

Parents Wealth Matters More than Parents Income or Education

June 30, 2020 Leave a comment

As this Axios article indicates, one of the hugest obstacles upwardly mobile Black families face is their lack of wealth compared to their White counterparts and wealth, unlike education or high income, often takes generations to accumulate. My grandparents, for example, came of age at the turn of the 20th century and were able to acquire homes in “good neighborhoods” and, because of their education, able to obtain jobs that compensated them well. That set the stage for the accumulation of modest but solid wealth for my parents generation and for mine as well. Blacks who came of age in the early Twentieth Century, though, did not have the same educational and work opportunity and, consequently could not hope to acquire a decent home or get a good job. Consequently they were closed off from accumulating wealth that they could pass to younger generations.

The most interesting finding reported in this column, though, was the one that Black families stretch themselves more than their White counterparts when it comes to supporting their children’s education. But because they lack the wealth of Whites their absolute contribution is less! This absolute difference is conflated with a difference in ambition for their children which is clearly NOT the case.

All of this makes the case for reparations strong since the ultimate roots of this wealth disparity can be traced to the Jim Crow era. Food for thought as we engage in this debate.

What the Polling Showing Sustained Support for Post-Secondary Schooling REALLY Shows

June 25, 2020 Leave a comment

Yesterday Forbes published an essay by contributor Michael Nietzel describing the findings of a pre pandemic survey on the public’s perception of post-secondary education. Conducted by New America, a public policy think tank, here are some of the findings:

  • Democrats and Republicans are in more agreement about numerous aspects of higher education than has been suggested by previous surveys.
  • Americans continue to believe in the value of post-secondary education
  • Americans agree that higher education brings more opportunities, but white and Asian Americans agree at higher rates than Black and Latinx Americans.
  • Americans express more support for public institutions than for private, non-profit or for-profit schools
  • Americans believe higher education needs to change.
  • Only half of Americans think postsecondary education is affordable.
  • Americans Believe In Contingencies of Accountability— that is “Americans endorse using indicators such as graduation rates, graduate earnings, and student loan default rates to evaluate postsecondary institutions and they support linking federal and state financial support for institutions to these outcomes.”

What this pre-pandemic survey shows is that the general public is still buying into the idea that unless one goes to college they will lose out on opportunities to advance in their career, to earn higher wages, and to, therefore, lead a less than fulfilled life. They are agreeing with the messages they’ve heard from the schools they attended, the parents who raised them, and the politicians who pandered to them.

In earlier blog posts I’ve written that tests that screen for gifted and talented students have the effect of sending a message to all who “fail” the test that they are UN-gifted and UN-talented. When 92% of those polled believe post-secondary education offers pathways to upward economic mobility and only 40% of the graduates from high school attend college, what message are the other 60% getting about their chances in the future? Is it any surprise that many in our country are resentful of those who got a college degree? Is it any surprise that many in our high schools who are not in the college bound track are disengaged from schooling altogether and unenthusiastic about entering the workforce?

A new message needs to be sent to students and parents across the country: there is no shame in not attending college and no limit to opportunities or especially happiness if one doesn’t pursue post-secondary schools. Oh… one message that cannot be emphasized enough is this: despite what you’ve been taught implicitly or explicitly, there is no correlation between income and happiness.

Colorado Canary in a Coalmine: Cuts to Budget = Growing Demand for Choice

June 17, 2020 Comments off

The Colorado legislature just passed a budget for FY 21 that looks like a harbinger of what future state budgets will look like across the country… and what the future COULD hold if parents care only about their children. This Chalkbeat article by Erica Meltzer and Jason Gonzalez details the trade offs the Colorado legislators had to make in order to offset the $3.3 billion revenue shortfall… trade offs that resulted in “only” a billion dollar plus cut to schools, a cut that was deeper than the constitution allows but one that was completely unavoidable. This kind of cut sidelined many initiatives Colorado had launched only a year earlier, which is sad. But Luke Ragland of the conservative education advocacy group Ready Colorado believes the cuts could open the door for future legislation on choice:

….he predicted that a Republican education agenda focused on parent choice that didn’t make progress this year will become more urgent next year, as parents try to find a good education amid a checkerboard of in-person, online, and hybrid models.

I promise you right now that wealthy families will move to find the opportunities they need, whether that’s in person or a higher quality online experience,” he said. “Access for open enrollment becomes incredibly important because the stakes have been raised for families.”

This much is clear to me: if affluent parents do not support ALL schools by digging deeper in their pockets when cuts are necessary a vicious cycle will begin and public schools as we know them now will disappear. Unless voters believe that their taxes are raised to help needy neighbors the economic divide will worsen. The financial crisis created by the pandemic is creating an existential crisis not only for schools, but for democracy itself.