Saturday, November 2, 2013

Poverty in Youth Can Affect You for Years

A couple of weeks after reading about how music can bolster the academic performance of students in low-income schools comes some depressing news that underscores the importance of using everything at our disposal to close the education gap between rich and poor.

Research by Anne Fernald, as reported in The New York Times, has found that by the age of two, children in low-income communities (where the median income is $23,900) know 30% fewer words than more affluent kids (in areas with a median income of $69,000); this gap in vocabulary can result in serious discrepancy in reading comprehension later on.

On a related note, Dylan Matthews on the Washington Post's Wonkblog tells us that those of us brought up in low-income households have brains less able to handle stressful situations and control emotions, according to a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.