Poor Students in Poor Schools have Poor Prospects: Surprise!

sagLos Angeles     The tide keeps coming in to drawn the opportunity any might hope to find that education will be the lifeline for poor students, sadly regardless of ability to have a shot at the same future other accidents of birth might have delivered.

A new study comparing other industrial countries finds that socioeconomic background assesses a 15% penalty on poor students.  Only 5% of the most disadvantaged children manage to excel.  The O.E.C.D. study rubs salt in the wounds making it clear that “socio-economic disadvantage translates more directly into poor educational performance in the United States than is the case in many other countries.”  The report recommended that poor children stop being tracked into lower quality schools.  If there was an interest in doing something about this critical problem of inequality it would mean integrating schools according to income in the same way that here once was a program to integrate by race.

Of course much of that has also gone by the wayside as well.  Another recent study found that only14% of American students go to public schools in what might be classified as a “multi-cultural” situation.  Where either Hispanics or African-Americans are in the majority demographically, 90% go to schools that are functionally all brown or all black.

Luckily, we have elected officials looking at the really important issues of education right now.  A number of Republicans have proposed moving forward with a bill that loosen the new requirements that school cafeterias serve more healthy meals weighted towards fruit and vegetables.  We can’t have that, and in fact even the Department of Agriculture seems to be considering a delay to allow schools an extra year or two to feed kids poor nutrition.

Seems fair in its own way.  If we aren’t going to do our best to feed their minds, why should we be concerned that we can do a good job on their bodies either?  If we can’t make them smarter, the least we can do is make them fatter!

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