Thursday, July 21, 2011

You shouldn’t have to move to the suburbs to learn how to read

A child’s opportunity to learn should be a matter of right, not location.  And yet today this is far from true.

This chart of eighth grade reading data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress – often called the Nation’s Report Card – shows us the dramatic link between where a student lives and his/her ability to read.

Notice that it matters a great deal where a child goes to school.  While only a quarter of the nation’s children attending urban schools score at or above Proficient, more than a third attending suburban schools do so—and this cuts across all categories: race, ethnicity, gender and income.

If parents wish to improve the chances that their children will do well in school, moving to the suburbs is a good first step. Moving out to the country will help almost as much.  But why is that necessary?  Why cannot city schools be as good as suburban schools? 

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that suburban schools generally have more money to spend educating their students than urban schools. 


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