Some countries do a good job of educating everybody — rich and poor — but the U.S. is not one of them, writes Dan Willingham, a University of Virginia cognitive scientist, on The Answer Sheet.
Some countries have successfully minimized the disparity in educational outcomes between rich and poor. According to the PISA, the countries doing the best job include Iceland, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Canada, and Finland.
America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, Willingham writes. But the poor don’t have an equal opportunity to get a good education.
I don’t know how other countries have addressed this problem. It may be curricular. It may lie in how they fund schools. It may be that social services are better distributed so that, despite the large wealth disparity, kids don’t come to school hungry, or with a toothache because they’ve never seen a dentist.
I don’t know how they are doing it, but I think we would be wise to learn how other countries teach poor kids because they do it better than we do. And we can’t wait until poverty is eliminated.
Most Latino children start kindergarten with the same social and emotional skills as middle-class white children, concludes a new study. However, they fall behind “if they attend low-quality schools and live in low-income neighborhoods,” reports Mary Ann Zehr in Education Week.
(Researchers) looked at several social areas: self-control, interpersonal skills, approaches to learning, and internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors.
Children from Mexican families start school better prepared than Puerto Rican children. Black children start with weaker social skills.
Update: The Education Department is opening up competition for Promise Neighborhoods grants. Modeled after Harlem Children’s Zone, the idea is to provide a web of social services to needy children to help them do better in school and life.