What Can Be Done About the Growing Education Gap Between Rich and Poor?

Richard Kahlenberg
February 10, 2012

The New York Times featured on its front page new research from the Russell Sage and Spencer Foundations that concludes that the achievement gap between rich and poor is growing, and is now significantly larger than the gap between white and black students. This research is consistent with scholarship that The Century Foundation published in its 2010 volume, Rewarding Strivers, finding that the socioeconomic obstacles to doing well on the math and verbal SAT are seven times as large as those associated with race. 

The Times article highlights the very troubling class divide in education, but then ends with a bizarre quotation from Douglas J. Besharov of the Atlantic Council. With unwarranted fatalism, Besharov suggests that in addressing the educational division, particularly between the children of well-educated dual-income families and those of less-educated single parents, “No one has the slightest idea what will work. The cupboard is bare.”  In fact, research published by The Century Foundation and other organizations going back more than a decade shows that there are an array of strategies that can be highly effective in addressing the socioeconomic gaps in education.  Click below to read on about these strategies.



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