Here’s Greg Duncan, author of Restoring Opportunity, on how reducing income inequality starts with better education.
We at Heron work alongside other like-minded investors to create a more just economy in which everyone can fully participate, which is why we’re listening in on this recent event at the Brookings Institute. Authors Greg J. Duncan and Richard J. Murnane spoke on some of the themes of their book, Restoring Opportunity, which provides extensive information about how to improve schools so that students from poor families can boost their learning and increase their chances of going to college or attaining vocational skills:
There are significant barriers to economic opportunity for poor children in America. The nation’s 21st Century economy rewards those with skills and knowledge. The income of workers with no more than a high school degree has stagnated for several decades, and the income of high school dropouts has declined. A major path to increased economic mobility would be to increase the educational attainment and the literacy and numeracy skills of poor and minority children.
In this short clip, Duncan says it’s more difficult for low-income schools to educate their students as the skills required for entering the middle class have increased. He cites an increase in neighborhood segregation by income as the cause of poor schools becoming poorer:
If you think about the kind of problems that causes for schools, it’s a combination of more kids attending low-income schools that have achievement problems, behavior problems. The higher rates of residential mobility among low-income kids means more turnover in the schools. It’s harder to attract and retain high-quality teachers into these low-income schools. So that combination of ingredients has not only made it more difficult for low-income schools to educate kids, but it’s also increased the skills that the low-income schools have to provide the kids that are going to have a chance to make it to the middle [class].
You can watch the the entire Restoring Opportunity event here on Brookings.
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