The New York Times' Most Emailed Articles list has come through for me again. I love checking it at the end of the day because I always find an article I missed. Yesterday's find was the #2 ranked piece, What It Takes to Make a Student. It ran in the Sunday Magazine and is an amazing look at our education system, what it takes to educate poor and minority students, and some of the very cool things that innovative schools, like KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) are doing.
The research that is being done on the differrences between what middle class families provide for their kids and what low income families provide is especially eye-opening. I want to quote the whole long article, but here are some highlights.
[Child psychologists Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley] found, first, that vocabulary growth differed sharply by class and that the gap between the classes opened early. By age 3, children whose parents were professionals had vocabularies of about 1,100 words, and children whose parents were on welfare had vocabularies of about 525 words. The children’s I.Q.’s correlated closely to their vocabularies. The average I.Q. among the professional children was 117, and the welfare children had an average I.Q. of 79.
[Researcher Angela] Duckworth’s paper connects with a new wave of research being done around the country showing that “noncognitive” abilities like self-control, adaptability, patience and openness — the kinds of qualities that middle-class parents pass on to their children every day, in all kinds of subtle and indirect ways — have a huge and measurable impact on a child’s future success.