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Decoding Success Disparities: Rich vs. Poor Kids

Unlock insights into global education inequalities – a new study reveals that the widening gap between rich and poor students is not about attitudes but stems from socioeconomic factors. Discover why efforts to improve social and emotional skills may not be the solution. Explore the need for restructuring educational systems and addressing poverty for lasting change.

Decoding Success Disparities: Rich vs. Poor Kids

A new worldwide study suggests that the academic differences between rich and poor children are getting bigger, and it’s not because of how hard they work or their attitudes. The study found that the COVID pandemic has made it even harder for kids to learn, and the performance in subjects like math, reading, and science has gone down everywhere between 2018 and 2022.

The research shows that kids from poorer backgrounds are having a tougher time in school because of money issues. The gap in how well they do in school is getting wider, especially in richer countries like the US and Germany. Now, a new study wants to explain why this is happening.

Some people think that kids from low-income families lack important skills like a positive attitude or the ability to keep trying even when things are tough. However, a study from the University of Cambridge, UK, says there’s not enough proof for this idea.

The study used information from 74 countries and says that teaching kids to be more aware of themselves and improve their skills won’t make the education gap smaller. Other experts agree with this, saying that the main problem is poverty.

In the US, some people in charge believe that teaching lower-income kids a strong work ethic and good character will help them catch up in school. But the new study looked at data from a test given to 15-year-olds worldwide, called PISA, and found that these social and emotional skills only explain 9% of the gap between rich and poor students.

The study authors say that trying to improve these skills won’t help reduce educational inequality. They think the real issue is that many poor kids don’t have the right tools and chances to learn at home. The COVID-19 pandemic made this problem worse when schools were closed, and kids from poorer families had less access to computers or books.

The study suggests that governments need to change the education system. They say that the differences in learning start even before kids go to school, and if there were high-quality preschools for all children, it might help reduce inequalities. Another idea is to send the best teachers and resources to schools in poorer areas, but this isn’t happening in many places.

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The lead author of the study, Rob Gruijters, said, “We need to move in a different direction. Reducing poverty and creating equal opportunities is more important than focusing on social and emotional learning.”

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