Jumpstarting Learning for Children Living in Poverty
Contrary to popular belief, DNA is not a child’s destiny. IQ is not fixed. Cognitive skills can change. This is critically important in K-12 schools because of the poverty gap — the difference between a child’s chronological age and developmental age.
In a healthy environment, a child’s developmental age will match his or her chronological age. In a high-risk environment, research shows that while a child’s chronological age is 5 years old, his or her developmental age is closer to 3 years old. This has a huge impact on school readiness and performance.
Today, 51 percent of all students in U.S. public schools are poor. Our public education system is designed to help students achieve a year of academic growth in a school year. For economically disadvantaged children, that’s a problem.
This problem, of course, is not new. In 1995, Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley published their groundbreaking research study that uncovered the widely cited 30-million word gap between children from low-income homes and their more economically advantaged peers. Not only does that gap still exist today, it’s becoming more prevalent as the poverty rate climbs.
Read the rest on this article on The Huffington Post.