Response to recent conversation

Commenters on the AJC Get Schooled blog had a range of reactions to research showing the achievement gap is not widening because children of color are doing worse, but because children of wealth, whose parents are investing far more time and money in their development, are doing better. Here is a sampling of comments under each poster’s chosen screen name:

Tread: Rich kids have an advantage because their parents put time and money toward educating them. Surprise. The liberal solution to anything is to throw more of someone else's money at it. Surprise.

Milton Reader: Once can never escape basic facts of life. Those who have more resources (money, time, access) can provide more for their children. Those who have the desire to motivate their children for academic success will do so.

ATLparent: If the research turns out to be correct, we have something as a nation that needs to be discussed. Why is it that children of the affluent are more and more likely to enter school with significant academic advantages over children of the middle class and the poor? Explaining that it's the work ethic or innate intelligence of the affluent seems unlikely to be accurate, unless the work ethic or intelligence of the rich is much greater now than it was 30 years ago (work ethic, maybe…).

Rocker: And the GOP says that money doesn't change a thing when it comes to education. I guess all of this competition stuff is just hot air, as rich kids have their own affirmative action program; it's called rich parents. Maybe improving a parent's ability to earn a decent living wage just might help, but then again, it is the rich and well-off who oppose most of the efforts to improve the bottom 50 percent economic status.

User77: My parents grew up very poor. In our house, nothing took priority over our education. My parents were convinced it was our path to a better life. They were right. I always worked very hard at my school work. I didn't land my good job by accident. I wouldn't say we've poured lots of money into pre-college education, but we have definitely made it a priority. Many parents of all income levels think nothing of driving their kids across town to be on a certain sports team, but they won't take their kids to the library. I know parents who can tell you everything about their children's coach, but don't know who their math teacher is.

Cere: Wealthy people "do" certain things and interact with their children in certain ways that develop critical thinking skills. Do as they do to the best of your ability (you might not be able to treat your kids to a European vacation, but there is plenty to see and do within a driveable/campable distance), and your children will respond with enthusiasm and inquisitiveness. Games, conversation, mentoring, physical sports, rest, good nutrition, good books can all be acquired and achieved if you just do your best to make whatever you have work for your children. Your children will know how hard you work to make their world good, and they will respect you and learn from it. The most important component is love. Take anger out of your home. Love your children. Unconditionally.