Was: Accumulated opportunity. Exactly. Some of it a sharply motivated, poor parent can do, assuming they themselves have been brought up in a home with opportunities. If the parents themselves come from bereft households, the multi-generational beat will most likely continue for yet another generation, ad nauseum.
Hooper: This is not breaking news. Yet, we place so much emphasis on SAT/ACT scores as measuring future success of students or past success of schools/systems. Maybe we are checking the wrong barometer.
Former: While not poverty-stricken, my family was "economically challenged," t0 use my mother's phrase. My father died when I was 10, and we had a difficult time after that. We had our war orphan's allotment, and all of us did odd jobs as soon as we were old enough. My mother graduated from high school at 16 and had no further formal education. But she stressed education to all of us. "Get an education, or you will never better yourself" was her mantra. I worked hard, got good grades, scored well on both the ACT and the SAT, and got scholarships to college because I qualified for them academically. We do need to improve educational services in poor areas, but that will never work without an improvement in attitude toward education. Money helps some, but no amount of money will cure indifference.
David: There's no doubt that having intelligent parents who take (or make) time to provide stimulating activities for their children is a big help. And, yet, there are children from those types of families who score very low on standardized tests, and many children from deprived backgrounds who score very high. Environment certainly can play a part, but so does innate natural ability and intelligence — nurture and nature.