Of parent education, kids, and starting points

We want all children to succeed in school. We all say that, but we know that achieving this is not easy - although Connecticut is one of the wealthiest states in the country, disparities in test scores between towns and racial groups are by many measures the among the biggest in the country. We want to make sure that all kids, however, are able to thrive: if we want responsible, productive taxpayers down the road, it makes sense that everyone in our communities, parents, educators, schools, work together to do so.

Research shows that one of the main drivers in school achievement is the level of education of the parents. College-educated partents are more likely to read to them, encourage them to go to college, and help them with homework. The more educated they are, the more likely it is that their children will do well in school and graduate. For groups that are traditionally less educated, consequently, we have kids that start school with a build in disadvantage, even if their parents are fully committed to their children.

The obvious question, then, is which children are more likely to face this barrier. Sheryl Horowitz, here at CAHS, has used ACS data through IPUMS to anwer this with a graph:


The numbers are pretty clear - 66% of white parents in Connecticut have a post secondary credential; 27% African American and 32% Hispanic parents do so. These numbers can and do become a source of disparities in education.

We want all children to succeed, but not all children begin their education at the same place. As Connecticut moves to close the achievement gap, we need to include common sense measures aimed at helping both children and parents succeed. Our school and pre-K system needs to look beyond just children, and start thinking on both kids and parents.

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