Wednesday, December 31, 2014

On income inequality (and, vicious cycles)

Known for years but pretty well documented by calculations from the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.  I'm referring to a WSJ article titled 'SAT Scores and Income Inequality: SAT Scores and Income Inequality: How Wealthier Kids Rank Higher.  In the Sachs Sustainable Development course it is explained how education could be an equalizer but also a source of higher income inequality We talked about education in class within the context of development but we should keep in mind that we are not always or necessarily referring to or focusing on developing countries.  The following quotes are quite illuminating:
Family wealth allows parents to locate in neighborhoods with better schools (or spring for private schools). Parents who are themselves college educated tend to make more money, and since today’s high school seniors were born in the mid-1990s, many of the wealthiest and best-educated parents themselves came of age when the tests were of crucial importance.
When the SAT is crucial to college, college is crucial to income, and income is crucial to SAT scores, a mutually reinforcing cycle develops.
the SAT is just another area in American life where economic inequality results in much more than just disparate incomes
Of course,
There are students from wealthy families who do very badly and students from poor families who do very well. Having wealthy parents gives a leg up. But parental income is not destiny.

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