American Education Failing Poor

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

The Hamilton Project, an education initiative attached to the Brookings Institute, recently unveiled a study on how education fails low-income high achieving students.

The paper, titled “Informing Students about their College Options: A Proposal for Broadening the Expanding College Opportunities Project,” was co-authored by Stanford’s Caroline Hoxby and University of Virginia’s Sarah Turner.

The paper conducted an inexpensive study and information initiative of sending pamphlets and information about top-tier colleges and universities to low-income but high-achieving students.  The program per student cost $6.

The authors specifically say that “existing counselors could easily guide low-income high achievers, so they are evidently not trying.” They state that prestigious colleges “could easily recruit [them], so they are evidently not trying.”

The authors noted: “High-achieving, low-income students are also natural role models, and by not attending selective schools, they may inadvertently send a message to other low-income students that working hard in school is not worth the effort because high achievers enroll at the same schools as everyone else.”

The number of low-income high achievers ranges between 25-35,000 and would fill up an entire mid-tier school. Moreover, the current recession is making schools rethink their finances. Howard University in Washington, D.C., for example, is struggling to make ends meet.

The paper addresses an important issue, but recommends a top-down approach. Instead, the authors could have suggested privatization and more bottom-up education policy that would help get better information for the schools, counselors, parents and students.


Spencer Irvine is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.
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