Education has been historically considered as an equalizer of society in America, allowing the opportunity for even the disadvantaged to reach success. Race was once the strongest factor in determining future achievement, but today Stanford Sociologist, Sean F. Reardon, says income level has become more consequential (Tavernise). President Barack Obama was one of the lucky few able to overcome the obstacles he faced growing up being both African American and underprivileged, but most children are not as lucky (Rampton , Nawaguna). In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot, the Lacks family lived in poverty and struggled to perform well in school, resulting in many of them dropping out even before high school (Skloot). The
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They are easily discouraged or suffering lack of sleep, sometimes because they may have the responsibility to take care of their family with a working mother often absent (Freedom). Kids in these situations commonly do not have expectations set for them when all around them they see poverty or failure, and they don’t even consider that they are capable of applying their intelligence to be successful. Many are unaware that they could qualify for financial aid to help them pay for college.
Higher Education Policy Analyst Tom Mortenson says, “The system perpetuates inequalities. It performs a sorting function and people are tracked toward or away from a bachelor’s degree beginning in K-12. If you are born into the top half of the income distribution, you have a good future; if you are born into the bottom half, the system works against you” (Aitchison). Often times, parents in situations of low income have not had proper education themselves, and cannot set an example for their children by exposing them to advanced vocabulary to start their learning at an early age (Tavernise).
Economist at the University of Chicago, James J. Heckman, claims that parenting matters as much as income in the early years of forming a child’s intellect and personality. “Early life conditions and how children are stimulated play a very important role,” he says (Tavernise). Children growing up with a more comfortable lifestyle are