Willingham, D. (2012). (online) Why Does Family Wealth Affect Learning, Pp. 1-7.

Why Does Family Wealth Affect Learning, Pp. 1-7.

In the largest study of its kind, Case Western Reserve University researchers analyzed education levels among more than 300,000 individuals with demonstrated filial poverty. The findings were startling: In people born into the poorest households, 68% fell below the poverty line by age 26 and 11% achieved class-level attainment by age 30. Among those from the wealthiest households, the figure was a much more modest 7%.

The study identified some similarities in the lives of people from each group. For instance, the majority of the people who were in this study served in the health care sector, so it’s no surprise that health care is one of the area’s top priorities among these economically anxious groups. Likewise, the researchers predicted that interest in higher education would increase in the top 5% of filial poverty, and in fact, that did indeed happen.

Conversely, it’s no coincidence that those who are even more economically disadvantaged than filial poverty do not study at the same degree of academic excellence. What researchers have discovered is that a connection between filial poverty and poor exam performance is driven primarily by attendance in remedial education at first.

Despite the fact that rigorous study-oriented pursuits such as math and science are no exception to the admissions trend, such a fate is not the norm for anyone who is not attending college in the first place. In fact, people who have met this qualification regardless of their socioeconomic position have a very low likelihood of engaging in student debt-driven practices such as studying less to obtain better marks. In fact, in a recent study from The Hart Institute, over 60% of the student loan recipients studied for only 30 minutes daily, showing that graduate education is a path for those who cannot earn a degree that does not depend on obtaining higher post-secondary certificates.

One of the more compelling motivations for these study-oriented consumers is, not surprisingly, the competitive environment in which they operate. “Investment” in education has for many years now been a major source of differentiation from competitors such as low-priced “leakage” generic education providers. Thus, a series of consumer beliefs characterized by a potential aversion to investing in innovation; optimistic preferences for low-cost tuition and disruptive “study” alternatives, and the belief that obtaining higher education will ensure access to high-wage jobs at an earlier age, are consequences of the competitive scenarios in which students today function.

The case for a comparative advantage in getting ahead is not much weaker among those who consider their filial ability to shape their future. In fact, in these instances, filial status can actually help to find tangible rewards for studying, either by attaining an education that gives early gains or starting out with a head start. Understanding the data and adopting optimal strategies are perhaps the foremost tools for academically attuned people in filial poverty (or for those in “Education-Driven, Median” status) to achieve sustainable educational attainment.

The results of a longitudinal study of this magnitude suggest that the potential to buck the odds in the classroom is not realized for any individual who chooses not to do so. Investments in education by filial American students often reduce the deleterious consequences of hardship. Additionally, schools that seek to improve the economy by re-engineer curriculum and faculty degrees have proven to be best suited to achieve the greatest results. As the case of a 10-year-old Bronx girl named Anna is currently being investigated in court, further examination of how to maximize the educational impact of filial experience should occupy the hearts and minds of school administrators, faculty, and parents in this social stratum.

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