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The education / wealth gap

Posted by david52 z5CO (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 29, 13 at 10:41

At the link is an interesting article about the growing gap in school achievement between the wealthy and middle/lower class. Big yawn, yeah, rich kids do better than middle class and poor kids.

Until you realize that it isn't so much the issue of lousy schools / teachers unions and the normal whipping boy - according to this guy, it has more to do with the advances the money'd folks have made with early childhood preparation. excerpts:

snip "The most potent development over the past three decades is that the test scores of children from high-income families have increased very rapidly. Before 1980, affluent students had little advantage over middle-class students in academic performance; most of the socioeconomic disparity in academics was between the middle class and the poor. But the rich now outperform the middle class by as much as the middle class outperform the poor. " snip

Before we can figure out what’s happening here, let’s dispel a few myths.

The income gap in academic achievement is not growing because the test scores of poor students are dropping or because our schools are in decline. In fact, average test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the so-called Nation’s Report Card, have been rising - substantially in math and very slowly in reading - since the 1970s. The average 9-year-old today has math skills equal to those her parents had at age 11, a two-year improvement in a single generation. The gains are not as large in reading and they are not as large for older students, but there is no evidence that average test scores have declined over the last three decades for any age or economic group.

The widening income disparity in academic achievement is not a result of widening racial gaps in achievement, either. The achievement gaps between blacks and whites, and Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites have been narrowing slowly over the last two decades, trends that actually keep the yawning gap between higher- and lower-income students from getting even wider. If we look at the test scores of white students only, we find the same growing gap between high- and low-income children as we see in the population as a whole.

It may seem counterintuitive, but schools don’t seem to produce much of the disparity in test scores between high- and low-income students. We know this because children from rich and poor families score very differently on school readiness tests when they enter kindergarten, and this gap grows by less than 10 percent between kindergarten and high school. There is some evidence that achievement gaps between high- and low-income students actually narrow during the nine-month school year, but they widen again in the summer months.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t important differences in quality between schools serving low- and high-income students - there certainly are - but they appear to do less to reinforce the trends than conventional wisdom would have us believe.

If not the usual suspects, what’s going on? It boils down to this: The academic gap is widening because rich students are increasingly entering kindergarten much better prepared to succeed in school than middle-class students. This difference in preparation persists through elementary and high school. snip end quote

Here is a link that might be useful: link


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: The education / wealth gap

I think I've mentioned a time or two that the wealthy have access to things that others don't have, and the parents aren't working two and three jobs to make ends meet, thereby taking time away from children and their needs.

Another not so surprising bunch of information... though I am most grateful to David for pointing these things out and dispelling the myths that keep building.

And with that, I'm off to earn my meager living.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

To me it seems likely to be cultural then, rather than strictly a wealth influence. Families that have been wealthier for more generations will likely put a lot more importance on prepping kids at a young age for typical schooling, as opposed to letting them just do whatever kids like to do.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Thats what I see in this study as well. If parents, no matter the wealth, put a huge emphasis on very early childhood development, and follow that up with making sure their kids do all kinds of 'enriching' activities during their summers and pay some attention to participation in school activities, volunteering, etc. - they can get pretty close to the same boost up.

Of course, increasing wealth also correlates with better diet, better health, lower divorce rates, higher job satisfaction, etc., which this study doesn't mention, and are also factors in learning and knowledge.

This post was edited by david52 on Mon, Apr 29, 13 at 11:50


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Children from rich families may enter kindergarten better prepared than those from lower income families and so exhibit greater initial success. If there were no differences from then on in terms of continuing prep between the two groups I suspect that by grade 3 the two groups would be equal. It's because of the continuing efforts available through higher incomes that the richer students outpace other children. Things such as tutoring and exam prep counselors, enrichment programs such as music lessons and art lessons which use different parts of the brain, and an active sports life.

These all help to expand and exercise the mind in different ways.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Plus there are other heritable traits involved - personality, tenacity, creativity, ability to do delayed gratification, native intelligence - just to name a few. Those characteristics can determine later success.

Academic intelligence and academic performance do not automatically grant success later in life. Creativity and personality play a big role. Your ideas will never get off the ground if you have an off-putting personality and you lack the ability to work with others or befriend others.

The single most important factor in success is the ability to make connections. You can't do that without an open and somewhat friendly personality, and a willingness to leave your normal sphere of operation. If people find you likeable and interested (and interesting), they will share their knowledge and, maybe, some of their resources. Both are valuable commodities. If you offend others because you are hostile and/or callous, they will cut you off at the knees.

Most successful people were not academic superstars; they were average to slightly above average students who had ideas, energy, drive, and the ability to negotiate and collaborate with others. These traits do not neccessarily correlate with academic performance, but they do correlate with "success".

In primary school, I would expect the late starters to catch up to he early starters, so I agree with blfenton. Everything moves toward the mean. Having a head start (as in "rehearsal", not the program) does not mean you have superior intelligence; it just means that your introduction occurred earlier.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Lionheart-you left out the most important thing that rich kids have that other kids dont-connections-the sort of connections that get you that leg up into opportunities and if that doesnt work out(ala GWB) more legs up till something sticks. While hard work and native ability can take you places connections can take you further with less.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

According to Michelle Rhee, if you isolate our highest achievers in the U.S.from the middle and lower part of the pack, they are still performing at a much lower level than other countries on a comparative basis.

In other words, lower socioeconomic levels are not entirely to blame for the substandard math and reading scores in the U.S.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

I don't know that it has much to do with wealth.

A good example is this forum. The majority here claim to be of modest or middle class means... yet almost every kid is straight "A", advanced placement, gifted, early graduating and wildly successful... even though they haven't attended private schools or private tutoring for toddlers.

The common factor is that most people here, no matter their income level, tend to be very involved with the level and quality of academic skills their children are getting... even if they have to deliver it themselves.

I think I've mentioned a time or two that the wealthy have access to things that others don't have, and the parents aren't working two and three jobs to make ends meet, thereby taking time away from children and their needs.

I'm not sure that's the case, Jodi.

Most upper income families have both mom and dad working... often long hours. Mom is usually as highly educated as dad( if not more) and contributes to family income. Even middle income families where both mom and dad work, they spend that time to teach that bit extra to the children.

And there are plenty of low income families where mom does not work or the family is on welfare, yet the children are not getting the prep and training at home.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Well, we keep hearing how money doesn't buy anything important--that is only for greedy people who worship it.

So, extrapolate that to money not accounting for academic success across the board.

You don't have to have a dime to be educated and successful.

Just a library card--courtesy of taxpayers, and determination.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Demi-in my area you need money to have a library card-around $100 a year.

It isnt academic success-it is what you can do with that degree-the children of the connected can do more and if George W isn't an example I dont know who is. Ability and talent and hard work will only get you so far-you have to either have the right connections or you have to be lucky because with 7 billion people in the world there are plenty of smart capable able hard working people looking for the same niche.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Patriciae, you nailed it. Everything being equal, or unequal, you can't beat a connection to get a leg up...


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Indeed, IME connections are at least half of the recipe for getting ahead in a career. The other half are the things LH mentioned.

Regarding the OP more specifically, my own experience says that culture is the main factor in how kids do academically. For example, I was raised by parents who were both from families fresh out of rural peasantry - my father was the first in his family to get a college degree. If he had been the third or fourth generation to be a professional probably his own attitude toward my recalcitrance to get educated would have been different from "hey, if you want to go to the community college I'll pay for it". In retrospect, I think he correctly assessed my unwillingness to endure pedagogy.

I don't feel that forcing kids to be unhappy for the first several decades of their lives is worth being in the top 5 or 10 percent of the income bracket later in life.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

What makes you think that these kids are all unhappy?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

I didn't say "all" kids.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

But surely you get the idea...


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RE: The education / wealth gap

"Lionheart-you left out the most important thing that rich kids have that other kids dont-connections-the sort of connections that get you that leg up into opportunities and if that doesnt work out(ala GWB) more legs up till something sticks."

You don't need "rich" connections to make connections. I've emphasized the importance of having a personality that allows you to make the acquaintance of many types of people. The ability to connect with other people, make a positive impression, and negotiate relationships goes much farther to showcase your potential. Every connection is a potential opportunity.

If others take a liking to you, some will be in a position to help you advance or offer up opportunities. At they very least they will know someone who is looking for a person to do this, that, or the other thing.

You don't get that by hiding in your home or in your neighborhood and only hanging out with a small group of like-minded people. You've got to get outside of yourself and circulate.

I often wonder where people get the impression that successful people only hang out at exclusive country clubs or high-priced restaurants. I can't count the number of well-connected people I've met at the local watering hole/pizza joint. It's an amazing cross-section of people - blue collar workers, business owners, the guy who just built a million-dollar home in one of the "exclusive" parts of town, the wheeler-dealer businessman who is a successful wholesaler, the husband and wife team who started their own construction-related business, the IT person at the state legislature.

I also don't get this "you must land in a top-notch occupation immediately after college or it's all for naught and just further proof that you are being oppressed". Success is not an immediate one-time event. It's a process. You "build" success and, once attained, you hopefully build whatever you need to maintain it, assuming you want to maintain it. Or, maybe you move on to something completely different and start building all over again.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

There is no doubt that being personable and motivated is a huge asset. Also no doubt that connections to those with who control wealth are a big factor.

Tob, as is usually the case, I don't know what you are on about. Try explicating an actual opinion or criticism, complete with meaningful words rather than a blurb of reflexive sarcasm, if, surely, you wish to have a debate about something. Man pants? Swamp yankees? Non sequitors?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

I try to be succinct but I guess some don't get things unless they are long and drawn out, and nuances are beyond them...


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RE: The education / wealth gap

No doubt that the George W's and their ilk, the country club set, have connections that places them ahead of the rest of the pack. But, those people are in the minority.

What about the fact that regardless of socioeconomic level, other developed countries crush us in reading, math and science?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

But where do they all want to to college and graduate school?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

FTA: "The academic gap is widening because rich students are increasingly entering kindergarten much better prepared to succeed in school than middle-class students."

How does that happen?

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a Mother who read to me."

Strickland Gillilan

The Reading Mother, by Stricklan Gillilan

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea.
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth;
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.
I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a Mother who read to me.

I'm sure most middle class parents read to their kids, but I wonder of the wealthier families rack up more hours, if not with parents doing the reading, then with caregivers being given that assignment. Also, I would guess that many middle class families permit more TV time and video games so the kids are occupied while parents are busy taking care of other kids, cooking dinner, and other household duties.

Maybe I missed it...what incomes were considered "middle class" and where did the "wealthy" incomes begin?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

All of my valuable and marketable skills and knowledge were acquired via parents, relatives, mentors, hands-on experience from a very young age, self education, trial, error etc.

I've always been very motivated, aggressive, confident and most importantly disciplined, so I've been successful at many things.

The most educated in our family have the lowest net worth.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

FTA:

High-income families are increasingly focusing their resources - their money, time and knowledge of what it takes to be successful in school - on their children’s cognitive development and educational success. They are doing this because educational success is much more important than it used to be, even for the rich.

With a college degree insufficient to ensure a high-income job, or even a job as a barista, parents are now investing more time and money in their children’s cognitive development from the earliest ages. It may seem self-evident that parents with more resources are able to invest more - more of both money and of what Mr. Putnam calls “‘Goodnight Moon’ time” - in their children’s development. But even though middle-class and poor families are also increasing the time and money they invest in their children, they are not doing so as quickly or as deeply as the rich.

The economists Richard J. Murnane and Greg J. Duncan report that from 1972 to 2006 high-income families increased the amount they spent on enrichment activities for their children by 150 percent, while the spending of low-income families grew by 57 percent over the same time period. Likewise, the amount of time parents spend with their children has grown twice as fast since 1975 among college-educated parents as it has among less-educated parents. The economists Garey Ramey and Valerie A. Ramey of the University of California, San Diego, call this escalation of early childhood investment “the rug rat race,” a phrase that nicely captures the growing perception that early childhood experiences are central to winning a lifelong educational and economic competition. " end snip

So, if you start off with more money, and you increase that amount by 150%, then thats a whole lotta money. As well, there are some cutting edge ideas and early childhood development technology that many of us aren't even aware of, let alone can afford. How many pre-schoolers do you know that have their own iPads?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Lionheart, that was an excellent post.

The reason people are successful--whether they come from wealthy, poor, or middle class families--are because they don't consider themselves victims and use what they have available instead of worrying about what the other guy has.

As mentioned, reading, a love and thirst for knowledge, parents that spend time with their children and instill values of education, putting others first, good communication skills, confidence, and how to get along and work with others are what land young people jobs--not necessarily top jobs in the beginning--but jobs that they can build experience and move quickly if they are willing to work hard and not perceive or present themselves as perpetual victims.

I've always said manners, great writing and comprehension skills, a pleasant demeanor and hard work will get you a lot further down the road of success in the long run than money or advanced degrees from Ivy League schools.

Communication--being able to speak and get the point across, and to truly listen to others, to look people in the eye, and know how to act and what to do in various situations are key. That's another reason it's important to take children different places, have a wide range of friends and associates, and if you can't afford to, check out or rent a video or watch television that exposes young people to different cultures, different socioeconomic groups, different foods, different customs, and different viewpoints from what you as a family, school, or community have, and discuss those differences. Those family practices keep prejudice from entering their lives and encourage considered and measured thought before reacting to situations.

Now--people with excellent academic credentials AND these other qualities are naturally at the top of the career ladders.

Deservedly so.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Workers with excellent people skills are so rare that we have to poach many from other employers.

We've employed many college graduates that were poor overall performers.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Just speculation on my part:

"Intelligence", as is the case with a lot of other traits, "personality" traits, are very much an inheritable trait to a large extent.

Maybe it's the case that the wealthy, TODAY, are actually SMARTER than the wealthy of yesterday. And it's because they're smarter that they end up having smarter kids.

The kids benefit enormously from just the wealth, but add the kicker of being born smarter really gives you the edge.

And why might the wealthier today be smarter than the wealthier of yesterday?

Because, in today's time, being a rocket scientist can make you a lot of money. In the really old days, someone like Galileo, I'm assuming, wasn't terribly wealthy, but depended on some wealthy king or someone to allow him to spend his time working with mathematics and numbers. Not going to make you wealthy in his day. But, today, he'd be wealthy if he wanted.

Many, many of the really wealthy today didn't inherit their money. (I know, I know, the Waltons.) I was somewhat surprised to see that the Rockefeller wealth barely makes it into the top wealthiest these days.

Today, be a smart computer nerd and you stand a good chance of being wealthy. You'll likely begat smarter kids.

The article said that most of the effect shows up by the time the kid hits the first grade. That suggests that the kid could simply be born smarter.

Like me. Little Humble Hay.

Hay


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RE: The education / wealth gap

I agree with Hay but for an additional reason: there is less class mingling, if you will, than in previous generations. In part because the U.S. is #10 in upward mobility, the people on the lower socioeconomic rungs do not hob nob with the uppers. Eliza Doolittle does not live here.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Hay--I actually started to make that argument but didn't want the piling on.

Better it come from you.

Evolution at work. ;)


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RE: The education / wealth gap

The reason people are successful--whether they come from wealthy, poor, or middle class families--are because they don't consider themselves victims and use what they have available instead of worrying about what the other guy has.

We're talking about students, and what their parents do to help them be successful academically. And you seriously believe that these parents don't worry about the edge that some other rich kid gets from going to $35,000 a year private, top-quality prep school, or sending their kid to Italy for the summer, etc. because they know that its the edge getting into some place like Yale?

These are, almost by definition, some of the most competitive people in the country, and constantly aware of what others, with more resources, are doing for their kids.

As for intelligence being passed along from wealthy generation to the next, come meet some of the 'Trustafarians' at the local resorts.....


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RE: The education / wealth gap

"As for intelligence being passed along from wealthy generation to the next, come meet some of the 'Trustafarians' at the local resorts...."

They're still around, no doubt. Generation after generation in some cases.

But, they're having to compete now with the newcomers on the slopes, the kid whose dad just happened to be really smart and, today, in the computer age, got paid very well for his smartness. In the old days, the smart dad might have been the astrologer (astronomer) at the King's residence.

Hay


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Does a first rate education help people?

Sometimes.

What's much more important is are the attributes of individuals which I outlined.

There are very successful people whose parents did not send them to expensive schools and procure jobs for them--at any rate, it's difficult to stay in jobs these days, no matter how you get them, if you can't cut the mustard.

In any event--what good does it do to speculate whether someone else's money helped their offspring?

That has nothing to do with your offspring.

This is America.

If you're kid is smart enough and has their health, the rest is up to them to be successful.

It can be done and is done every day

THAT is why people are crowding each other out to get into this country.

What is sad to me is that our own citizens don't realize the wealth in front of them, if they'll only take advantage of it.


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Regression to the mean

In life there is a "regression to the mean" in the sense that the smartest parents don't always end up having the smartest kids. It diminishes with each generation. (OHhhh, I suddenly remembered the expression: "Riches to rags in three generations."....)

I think the Royalty of England is said to display this phenomenon quite clearly.

Today, these effects are getting magnified?

Hay


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RE: The education / wealth gap

"If you're kid is smart enough and has their health, the rest is up to them to be successful."

When I look back at my meager accomplishments in life, I'm always very aware that so much of it depended not on my own abilities, great as they are, but on the little pushes, the little encouragements, the little opening up of doors and the like that I managed to get along the way.

"Little" things.

That's the pity of so many poor, smart kids. I was lucky in that regard.

Hay


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RE: The education / wealth gap

I wouldn't describe posts that are short but have no meaningful content as "succinct". Empty would be more accurate.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

pnbrown ; I don't understand this comment "I don't feel that forcing kids to be unhappy for the first several decades of their lives is worth being in the top 5 or 10 percent of the income bracket later in life." Can you expand on this thought? thanks

Sometimes I wonder who is being the competitive one - the children or the parents. Hang around an elementary school yard at 3:00 pick up time and it will make one wonder.

Sometimes I think that there is a disconnect when measuring success. Why does success in life have to be measured in income, education, your job title (COO or CEO or CFO or...), the type of car you drive or where you live. My sons are 23 and 25 both with degrees and both on their first 'career' jobs and they don't want to be at the top of their chosen industry if it means working 80 hour work weeks like their father. Their friends are the same. Is it generational - I don't know. I know it's not laziness or a lack of drive.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

The authors seem to lament the fact that even middle class kids aren't getting the academic boost wealthy kids are getting in the years before they start school.

Wealthy parents may spend more on trips and outings and electronics, but my guess is that the biggest advantage goes to children who see their parents reading, who are read to often, and who have their own libraries.

I picked up another small stack of books for my grandchildren on Monday at Goodwill, for just a couple of dollars. Such a small investment, and one we can all make for kids we love, or kids in the community.

The elementary school my older grandchild attends accepts gently used books, just to make sure ALL kids have their own libraries of books they can keep. They especially want kids to have books to enjoy during vacation breaks.

At the last baby shower I attended, the new mom requested everyone bring a children's book, and everyone did. So right off the bat, even before she was born, that little one had her own library!

Check with your school to see how you can help. See if your doctor or dentist accepts children's books for the waiting room. Some docs are telling parents about the importance of reading, and making sure their kids have their own books by giving the kids an age appropriate book after each check up.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

BL, IME a definite percentage of students seem by nature not much inclined for academic study, or perhaps for inculcation generally. Some people do better just getting out there and doing things rather than spending long periods in formal training. Perhaps it separates those with an early ability to self-discipline from those who don't have it.

Anyway, what I meant is: if a person finds extensive schooling quite onerous, yet comes from a family that puts a lot of pressure on to complete extensive university schooling, is the person question better or worse off in terms of quality of life? I'm sure we all know someone like that who in fact sooner or later resisted that family pressure and ended up as the "black sheep". Such dark sheep are often more interesting and seem to have more fun than their brethren.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

I think our society has spent an awful lot of time grooming its members to measure success in dollar bills and "stuff" accumulated.

PNBrown, I am that black sheep you speak of... except I balked before college and went on to pursue my own path to happiness. The fact notwithstanding that my parents couldn't afford to send me to college, I could have found a way should that have been my dream. It wasn't.

But as many of us remember, that was also a time when good paying jobs were a dime a dozen, no college paper required.

I eventually attained that which I dreamed of... raising a family.

While others were continually working long hours to satisfy some need to have everything the neighbors got, I was happy without a dollar in my pocket, and three children whom I love very much.

Success and happiness can be measured in a plethora of ways, not all of them having to do with degrees or heavy portfolios. It's an individual thing, this right to pursue life, liberty, and what makes us happy.

And as soon as some folks come to their senses, those same rights will be extended to all in a legal manner...


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RE: The education / wealth gap

I wonder if test scores are a measure of ultimate success. Of course, you have to define "success" pretty precisely, then go back and see how well and how often that correlates to specific schools and/or specific test scores.

It's great that certain pools of students from various countries do well on tests, but how does that work out in Real Life (tm)? What happens after that, because people can't live on their test creds forever. Eventually you have to accomplish something or be good at something, even if it's not earth-shattering.

The thing about academic testing is that it only applies to academics. There isn't a large body of evidence to correlate those things to "success" and "accomplishment" once you grow up and get a life. If you're going to stay in academics throughout your life, those tests are more meaningful. If you are teaching and expected to improve the performance of students, those tests are meaningful. If you are responsible for developing curriculum and teaching methods, those tests are important. But how do those results actually apply to the product, instead of to the institution itself?

The few, scant studies you do see of people with a high net worth indicate that those who gave average to slightly above average performance academically are the ones who get into the wealthy brackets, at least as far as net worth is concerned. Well, at least among those high net worth people who respond to surveys.

Perhaps the genes that confer an average, but reasonably good, intelligence also confer the ability to see opportunities where others see none. Perhaps high intelligence, despite being a gift, makes you less fit at detecting/noticing opportunities; you just don't see them or lack other traits that would enable you to bring ideas to fruition.

Just speculating. Drat, wouldn't it be fun to have access to a database of people, their DNA, and all of those variables?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

The study, as far as I can tell, is limited to academic success - and as for tests, they talk about the ACT and SAT - which in turn are what gets you into top universities and scholarships.

This thread circles back to several recurring themes. The concept that 'anybody can make it if they just work hard enough and make good decisions' - eg hey, use your public library, thats all you need - vs the idea that there is an oligarchy that is becoming increasingly difficult to enter - the ones that send their kids to exclusive private prep schools, then onto ivy league schools, then onto serious positions of wealth and power.

This article points out one reason why, the oligarchy spends enormous effort on prepping their kids for high academic achievement. If you're putting your kid in Sidwell Friends at $35,000 a year....

It seems increasingly obvious that the wealth, and power, and thus opportunity to really make it big are on Wall Street. And from Wall Street, onto other positions of power. At the link is an article about the 'Ivy League to Wall Street pipeline'. Excerpt:

The recruiting processes of Wall Street firms (and consulting firms, and corporate law firms) exploit these (faulty) decision rules perfectly. The primary selling point of Goldman Sachs or McKinsey is that it leaves open the possibility of future greatness. The main pitch is, “Do this for two years, and afterward you can do anything (like be treasury secretary).” The idea is that you will get some kind of generic business training that equips you to do anything (this in a society that assumes the private sector can do no wrong and the public sector can do no right), and that you will get the resume credentials and connections you need to go on and do whatever you want. And to some extent it’s true, because these names look good on your resume, and very few potential future employers will wonder why you decided to go there. (Whether the training is good for much other than being a banker or a consultant is another question.)

The second selling point is that they make it easy. Yes, there is competition for jobs at these firms. But the process is easy. They come to campus and hold receptions with open bars. They tell you when and how to apply. They provide interview coaching. They have nice people who went to your school bond with you over the recruiting period. If you get an offer, they find out what your other options are and have partners call you to explain that those are great options, but Goldman/McKinsey is better, and you can do that other thing later, anyway. For people who don’t know how to get a job in the open economy, and who have ended each phase of their lives by taking the test to do the most prestigious thing possible in the next phase, all of this comes naturally. (Graduate schools, which also have well-defined recruiting processes, are the other big path to take.) The fact that most companies don’t want new college graduates makes it easier to go to one of the few that do.

The third selling point - not the top one, but it’s there - is the money. Or, more accurately, the lifestyle. The glossy brochures never say how much money you can make. But they make it clear that you will be part of the well-dressed, well-fed, jet-setting elite. - snip

Its worth clicking through to the Ezra Klein link that embedded.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: The education / wealth gap

pnbrown - thanks for the explanation. And I agree with you. My kids always knew that they had to do something after high school and it didn't matter what. It could be a 6 month diploma of some sort or they could spend 10 years in med school. (Although we knew pretty quickly that the med school thing wasn't happening). This from two parents with those highly sought after degrees.

I want to address david52's point but have to run. I'll be back.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

The sad fact of the matter is that there are too many losers that need excuses for not attaining what they want in life, and who better than to blame it on than the winners.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Speaking of opportunity, many we know don't seem to have the ability to recognize, create or capitalize on opportunity.

Many others don't take advantage of opportunity as it often requires time, planning, investment, risk, hard work, sacrifice, delayed gratification etc.

I've presented many with opportunity served on a silver platter so to speak, yet they still turned it down, or failed.

Speaking of like minded people, we know many unsuccessful that only associate with other unsuccessful people, many of which effectively hold them back.

Many they associate with are can't do types that accentuate the negative, minimize the positive, blame others for their shortcomings, argue for their limitations etc.

Misery loves company...


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Again... who holds the ruler by which success is measured?

I hold my own... how about you?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Success is subjective.

I'm happy just to be fit and healthy.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Many they associate with are can't do types that accentuate the negative, minimize the positive, blame others for their shortcomings, argue for their limitations etc.

Misery loves company...

*

BINGO.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Lack of ambition or smarts is a separate factor from lack of access to opportunities, education and/or experiencing active prejudice. But we've discussed that so many times, we all know what we think.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

"This article points out one reason why, the oligarchy spends enormous effort on prepping their kids for high academic achievement. If you're putting your kid in Sidwell Friends at $35,000 a year...."

Not what the article said. Academic success begins with school readiness.

FTA: "...schools don’t seem to produce much of the disparity in test scores between high- and low-income students. We know this because children from rich and poor families score very differently on school readiness tests when they enter kindergarten, and this gap grows by less than 10 percent between kindergarten and high school."


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RE: The education / wealth gap

One of our highly successful friends that grew up in a poor Hispanic drug/crime infested household/neighborhood said one of the keys to his success was distancing himself from negative influences - his family included.

At one point 7 of his brothers were in jail/prison.

Several of his relatives jealous/angry about his success tried to hurt him financially via theft and vandalism and some even threatened him and his family.

One of the downsides of success is that the leeches and haters come out of the woodwork so to speak, especially in cases of winnings, inheritances or new money.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

How are you defining success? What's your measure? Good job, six figure income, relatively good health and the means to keep it that way, smart Ivy League bound kids, a couple of beamers parked in the driveway of the starter castle?

Does contentment factor in anywhere or is it a constant battle to set out more goals and contentment be damned - or, at least, become a seemingly unattainable goal?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

I often wonder that, too, Duluth... when IS enough, enough? Or isn't there such a thing once you begin down that path?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Duluth, I don't know when contentment fits in, but I know what I'm working towards.

Self-sufficiency
Off the grid
No debt

I want to have a life that's defined by me, rather than what others think I need to have. Someone made a remark about my (not even ten years old) truck the other day and I drove around for about a week looking casually at what I'd buy were I to go out and get a new car. (errr... truck. preferably one of those new 4x4 Toyota four doors in dark forest green) Hmmmm....

My truck is paid off. Reliable. Good enough looking that I don't mind getting her valet parked at a nice restaurant.

I think I'll keep her. ;) Even though I can afford a new car payment, the only reason for me to do it would be for vanity/show.

I think I'll go get another load of manure after work. No problem, because she's a work truck too :)

****** An aside - I was in a disastrous marriage that spiraled into consumerism. For those who remember, I'm still not divorced because he has some sick need to draw this thing out. He filed in May '12, we don't even have our first hearing for three more months.

Because of my relationship with Super-Consumer I have the gorgeous kitchen with an embarrassment of granite counter tops (approx 30' of them in length at least), the stainless steel top of the line appliances, a simply outrageous outdoor kitchen with four burners, restaurant quality air vent-thingies and a grill that actually probably was worth new what my truck is worth now, lol.

NONE of it made me happy. It cost a lot, took a lot of time, is difficult to maintain, and really, other than looking good, doesn't serve my needs.

I think people need to consider themselves on an individual level. What do I want? What do I need?

I personally NEED a garden. I'd like an outdoor sink, one that's not 2k worth of stainless steel. Yes, I bought (or my husband bought) a TWO THOUSAND DOLLAR sink.

Shaking my head. Again.

I'm middle class (unless you look at my tax return, in which case I'm poverty level...) and I've barely managed to hold on to my home, that I bought prior-marriage and have too much pride to give up without a fight. I was higher educated than my husband, and I worked more. Amazingly I'm much richer now that he's not living with me. I had to take on a second job, but luckily it's flexible enough that I can be home for my daughter in the afternoon/evening.

My daughter is not above average in intelligence. She has gone to the neighborhood school for the past five years. She's a normal kid. We read. We don't get TV in the house. We live in a "normal" neighborhood, but the demographics of the area are such that the majority of the students at the elementary school two blocks away are residents of the OTHER side of the tracks.

Often the parents pick up their children and they are walking with a $5 pizza from Little Caesar's and big bottle of coke. That's dinner. Unless these kids are really motivated the chances are slim for them achieving the "middle class success" that was so easy, almost second nature, for me.

My daughter goes home to organic, GMO free tofu stir-fry which she eats while the 15 year old neighbor girl recites her Midsummer Night's Dream schoolwork (she came over for dinner last night because her parents would be out a little late, attending Toastmasters). My daughter ran around quoting Robin all night.

Her classmates probably watched television.

My hope for her is that she discovers who she is, and what kind of life she wants, prior to getting involved in something (like a marriage, or college loan debt for a career she hates) that is difficult to get out of.

People who are intelligent (enough), have good manners, integrity and a work ethic will find work wherever they go.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Trying to sort out how self-sufficiency and valet parking fit together....


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Helping the valet attain self sufficiency?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Ha ha ha...

For now I'm trapped (and I'm not getting any valet parking ;)

I own a home that's underwater and I don't want to leave my school district. DD is going to an excellent, very high rated, free charter next year. I'm really excited.

What I was trying to say is that although I've a piece of the dream, it's not what I want. I will be out from underwater shortly (at least, I think so), enough to sell and not lose my everything.

Start over. With a different perspective.

Like Jodi said, I have my own yardstick. Some will struggle their entire lives to get this granite countertop (or whatever is IN that year). I don't want it.

Discovering oneself and what is personally enjoyed is essential.

I'm paring down. Giving a lot away. Getting ready to get out, rather than buy in.

I hold a degree, and two pretty fancy titles. I'm going to use those to go into business for myself. Flashing around a title is great if that's fun for you, but I'm tired of it. I want to say I spent my days in nature and with people I enjoy rather than accumulating a big pile of stuff.

Sorry if that was confusing.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Lets say academic success means getting a degree from one of the Ivy League schools. Along with that success comes power.

27 Senators have at least one degree from these schools.

All the Supreme Court Justices went to either Harvard or Yale law school. So did the President and First Lady.

"Economists are starting to show signs of being optimistic about the post-recession job market, a fact welcomed by members of the Class of 2013. Today, companies that have survived the recession are revisiting this recruitment strategy and poising themselves to interview and hire the best and brightest straight out of America’s top talent pools - the country’s foremost universities and colleges. According to Forbes’ latest list of America’s top colleges, that group is led by Princeton followed by three other Ivy League schools - Yale (#5), Harvard (#6) and Columbia (#8). With the exception of Cornell (#51), all seven of the eight Ivy League schools were in the top 50 universities in the country.

Where will the graduates of these colleges go?

If history is any indication, many Ivy League grads will head to New York and take jobs on Wall Street. Many will march straight into Wall Street’s investment banks and financial institutions or even their close cousins, business consulting firms. Last year, the New York Times reported the results of a 2010 survey indicating that a significant percentage of graduates from Princeton, Yale, and Harvard opted for careers in finance (35.9%, 14% and 17%, respectively).

Thats the cycle. Power and money, and according to the OP, these folks on the top have increased their spending, in order to prepare their kids for these top schools, by 150%.

Somehow, I'd not seeing that all ya gotta do is read to your kid before kindergarden, and thats going to put you in the same ball park.

Quite aside from all the hysterical allegations, I don't really give a rip about the money these people make. What I do care about is that the folks get into power, and there is a growing distance between the trials and tribulations that these folks face in life vs everybody else. And given that so many of our political leaders fall into this same money>top school>power>influence>more money loop, its something to, at a minimum, be aware that exists. Particularly in the context of the current, massive redistribution of wealth upwards.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Dave, if your supposition is correct, that a degree from an Ivy league is a massive boost toward a big-earning career - and I strongly suspect that it is correct, then the good news for equality is that it is increasingly easier for a high-testing minority person from an impoverished family background to attend than an equal-testing non-minority person from a middle-class background.

Most of the kids I hear of getting into the ivy league, if they are not from well-off families, then they have to test super-high, top five percent at least. For kids from working-class families who test average, then even second-tier private colleges are out of reach, with their second-tier career connections.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

For kids from working-class families who test average, then even second-tier private colleges are out of reach,

I'd say 'increasingly' out of reach given they have pretty much the same tuition at the Ivy Leagues, and so you either have to get some serious scholarship help, or take out an awful lot of loans, or more likely both. Which is why I sure wish college-attending citizens would pay more attention to the politicization / serious cuts / potential re-privitization of federal student loans.

And in some states, particularly where the Republicans are on some tax cut / massacre the support to State Universities, its getting the same for state schools as well. Tuition is going up 10% - 15% a year. The ones with the 450 kids in a lecture hall being taught Biology 101 by some Master student, 'cause the prof is busy writing a research grant.

And even then, the connections > open doors just aren't the same as the ivy league connections.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

And even then, the connections > open doors just aren't the same as the ivy league connections.

*

Is there a problem with this?

Does everyone deserve an Ivy League education?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

OK, try hard to follow along.

-Many of the countries' economic and political leaders attend the highly selective private schools.

- These top, selective schools - have a well-established, well-known, well-respected network at the highest levels of power in the country. Thats both economic and political power. See: Wall Street, Congress, Supreme Court, etc.

- These folks continue the cycle, generation after generation, paying who knows how much - up 150% according to the OP - for private prep schools, vacations in Italy, tutors, etc, get their kids admitted to top schools, and then fork over $240,000 for a Bachelors degree, another $100,000 - $300,000 for an top school MBA, MD, PhD. Those graduates - via connections, go directly into well-paying jobs on Wall Street, top law firms, etc.

-nobody gives a hoot how much money they have

- people should give a considerable hoot when these same people, who never had to attend crappy schools, never had to sit through a community college class taught by 'some guy' with a masters degree, never had to take out loans, do work-study, work part-time jobs, etc. end up setting policy for the rest of us.

You might recall a recent example of this group, running for President, who suggested that young entrepreneurs just 'borrow money from their parents' to get started in bid'ness.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

But if your kid is not the sharpest tool in the shed, they are not going to qualify for the Ivies no matter how much money you spend on them.

Maybe if you make a really big donation/bribe and sustain it until the kid finally graduates, but even then why bother to spend oodles to prep the kid if you can just bribe his/her way in.

With a few exceptions, you've got to have the goods to get into these schools. If they just picked mediocre students then their product becomes mediocre and they no longer have a reputation for excellence.

Still, you can't buy genius and you can't buy intelligence. All you can do is refine what already exists, so I think parents who spend lots of money trying to give their kids a big advantage are just wasting their resources, not to mention indulging in wishful thinking.

Very few kids are prodigies no matter how much money you throw at their education.

Higher education is expensive, so people have to try to figure out what it is worth to them and what they are willing to pay for it. How much is it worth? It may or may not be worth as much as it actually costs. I think/hope that the concept of higher education will have to change to accommodate the reality that people don't have endless amounts of money to spend on this commodity.

Maybe they require fewer core courses to graduate. How many semesters of Literature or History of Religion (for example) does a budding physicist need? Lots of these core requirements are designed to be job security for the administration's favorite teachers and departments. When the so-called classical courses suffer a drop in enrollment, the next thing you know they change the curriculum to require more core credits in those disciplines.

Maybe they should offer different subject matter intensity for non-majors, or offer degrees in 3 years for those who show subject matter mastery. Obviously not every major can be shortcutted, but a good many can.

So it sounds like there are 2 issues here - competition for seats, and cost once you secure a seat. It is presumed that getting 4-year-old Johnny a tutor and a fancy program will make him an even more precious snowflake when he's 18. I really doubt that.

I think most research shows that the effects are very limited. It's completely unrealistic, but the problem is that, if the decision makers believe this crappola, then it doesn't matter if it's true or not; it will have an impact. Woo is very powerful, unfortunately.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

David--there's nothing to follow.

I still have the same question--is there a problem with people that have Ivy League educations getting jobs because of their excellent qualifications?

Do you think that everyone that wants an Ivy League education should be guaranteed one, or be guaranteed a shot at one?

Lionheart made the points I would have in this:

"With a few exceptions, you've got to have the goods to get into these schools. If they just picked mediocre students then their product becomes mediocre and they no longer have a reputation for excellence."

So, who says everyone should have the same higher level education?

So what if not everyone gets a shot at those schools?

Law of the Jungle.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Law of the Jungle.

Indeed.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

My husband calls me his "cheap date"... because it takes so very little to make me happy.

While others we know are up to their ears in hock, or trying to keep up with the neighbors or newest fad, or are working the better part of their lives away just to have all those material things... to us, none of it means squat.

We have each other... we have three wonderful kids and three awesome grandkids... we have three excellent dogs... and we pick and choose our own hours to work, and side jobs to take, usually based on how we feel physically on a given day.

Silver, when I made the decision to divorce many, many years ago, I walked away from everything... the house, the cars, the toys, the business, the money... everything. I grabbed my dog, some clothes and family mementos, jumped in my beat up old Bronco, and took off.

I could have fought for half of everything, but what's the point? It's just stuff. And to me, there are more important things than stuff, or material possessions. Things like peace of mind, happiness, feeling safe, being my own person and in control of myself, as opposed to being in someone else's control, and a lot more.

I must have been a good baby or something, because now I have a partner that is everything I could ever hope for and then some! And I was fortunate enough to get three loving children in the bargain! As a bonus, all the dogs I could ever love came with the deal! It just doesn't get any better than that!

Aside from a roof over my head, food in my belly, and my family and friends, both human and canine, what more could I ask for? I'd love a new body that could keep up with me and didn't hurt all the time, but it's not so bad. I can think of a lot worse ways to be.

I'd like some of the same, Silver... to be self sufficient as a family, off the grid, a little healthier, and have that garden that will sustain both body and soul... food producing, with plenty of flowers and fruiting trees, roses and vegetables, herbs and spring bulbs, etc... somewhere out in the boonies, with a very small home and maybe an out building or two for livestock or a shop to work in... that's our dream, that would be complete and utter success to us. And the beauty is... it's not an unattainable dream.

Success is not always measured by decimal points, or college degrees, or job titles, or by the amount of stuff one accumulates. We each measure success by its meaning to us.

Silver, I wish you every dream you want... I think karma will see that you get there. :-)


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Look back at the beginning of the Great Recession, and look at the players. Paulson, Bush, Obama, Geithner, all the top executives of the banks who got their bailouts. Look at who put the bogus deals together, look at who made that legal, who passed through the deregulation, etc. They all know each other. They all went to the same schools, their kids attend the same schools etc.

Thats the danger of this select, remote from day-to-day life, increasingly incestuous crowd running things.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, May 1, 13 at 21:07

The king rotates out frequently, and the court is a lot bigger than in the old days, but otherwise it's still the king and his court. If you aren't part of this group, you really aren't represented.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

When did the emphasis on high marks become so important? When did the emphasis on prepping for pre-school and kindergarten start? I know our kids are more worldly than I was at their age - the world is a smaller place because of the availability of instant information from anywhere in the world but are they actually IQ smarter than we are? And if so how and why? How did it become so competitive. Was there a shift from trades to university education that put a strain on the system?

I have a Commerce degree from a very reputable Canadian University, however these days with my high school marks I would still be able to get into the university but I would not be able to get into the Commerce program (now you need a 94% average) - or would my marks be higher these days? I do know, and perhaps too much TMI for you, my parents both have degrees and I did not know that there were other options after high school besides university. Because of that I made sure my sons knew that there were other options for them.

Many of you have commented on the definition of happiness and I want my kids to find their own definition of that - as long as they're not still living at home when they are 30 I'm good. :)


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RE: The education / wealth gap

At the link is story about a start-up private K-9 school in NYC.

It hired seasoned teachers and brought in consultants on everything from responsive classroom training to stairwell design. Mandarin or Spanish immersion begins in nursery school; each kindergartner gets an iPad in class. Students will someday have the option of semesters in São Paulo, Beijing or any of the 20 other campuses the school plans to inaugurate around the world. The cost for all this: $43,000 a year.

In September, Avenues opened with 740 students, from pre-K to ninth grade. And with those students came 740 sets of parents, many of them determined to design the perfect 21st-century school in their own high-earning, creative-class image.

Some description of the excesses, but I thought it was interesting that they try and teach these kids humility, as a key to future success

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Very interesting, David! OMG; what a school.

"Some description of the excesses, but I thought it was interesting that they try and teach these kids humility, as a key to future success"

I realize you didn't say that; I imagiine you got it from the link: "As Manhattan, and particularly downtown, is transformed by a staggering infusion of wealth, there is a growing market for creating emotionally intelligent future global leaders who, as a result of their emotional intelligence, have a little humility. In fact, when the nearby Grace Church School was researching whether to start its own high school, it asked top college-admission officers what was lacking in New York City applicants. The answers coalesced around the idea of values, civic engagement, inclusiveness and diversity ��" in a word, humility."

The author has an interesting definition for "humility."

Consider the attitude of these parents: "His aquarium was buzzing in the background, and his scooters, strollers and bikes filled up the entryway. The Kims may be concerned with ensuring that Jackson is humble, but they are also acutely aware of the advantages that speaking Mandarin will give him. “He will have such a leg up compared to his peers,” Ella said. “He’ll be so marketable coming out of college with that language fluency."

The article says: "The Kims said they chose Avenues because of the mission statement’s phrase about humility. “How do you build humility as early as possible?” Charlie wondered aloud."

That's a good question. One might as well say: How can you teach acting sincere as early as possible?"

Really provocative article, David; thanks for bringing it up.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Aside from the article referenced by the op, everything stated here as fact is anecdotal. Clearly, our experiences are valid, but they do not constitute the basis for any sweeping conclusions about Americans, schools, or success in general.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

I don't know what to say about the school. Talk about excesses. Is this school for the parents or for the kids. It's sad to think that one of the parents is only concerned about how "marketable" their child will be when they finish school. How wonder how they define happiness for their child.

The whole concept, both for kids and parents, seems to be so self-centered and there is no room for humility or acceptance.

I love it that some parents refused to apply for admissions to the school for their children. Although I wonder where their kids go to school.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

"Do not educate your child to be rich,
educate him to be happy,
so when he grows up,
he'll know the value of things,
not the price."

I'm not sure who to credit for that bit of wisdom, but I think it rather apropos to the discussion of today's push to raise "marketable" children.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Does anyone think this 'super' school can be extended as a model for all schools?

"740 students, from pre-K to ninth grade"

Less than a hundred students per class year. Against the millions, it doesn't seem relavent to the grand scheme.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

On any kind of practical level, I don't think so. This type of school will remain in the realm of the privileged few. Being that this is how and why they are established, they don't have to deal with the lack of financing, the sheer numbers of all comers with a diversity of abilities and needs like the public schools do.

There was a time before the great dumbing down when the U.S. led the world in math, science, and engineering. Suddenly it became important not to make anyone feel bad, to place emphasis on outcomes-based education. No more underscoring the virtues of excelling.

Can the old educational values ever be brought back?


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"Suddenly it became important not to make anyone feel bad, to place emphasis on outcomes-based education. No more underscoring the virtues of excelling.

Can the old educational values ever be brought back?

In a practical world, yes. In a politically correct world, no.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

There is a pretty valid argument that the current and future skills needed in the work place are not exactly the skills being taught in K-12, which focus on skills needed before the advent of computers, the internet, and globalization.


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There's one problem about being blissfully poor and following your dream--and that is who is going to be left pay the federal income taxes to support those that are poor?

I'd be careful about scorning those that make enough money to pay federal income taxes--particularly those that earn a lot AND PAY a lot.

They pay for other people's decisions.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Blissfully poor? I don't know any blissfully poor folks. I know a bunch of them that can smile through their pain. But blissfull? Nope. Demi, I think you live in lala land.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

y pls8xx z8a AR (My Page) on
Sun, May 5, 13 at 22:48

Blissfully poor? I don't know any blissfully poor folks. I know a bunch of them that can smile through their pain. But blissfull? Nope. Demi, I think you live in lala land.

*

That smart aleck personal comment was not necessary.
Please refrain from those type of comments to me.

There are most certainly people that consider themselves poor, that have no desire or initiative to make much money, and are very happy with their lives. There is no pain for them to smile through, as you put it.

Some of those are people that live "off the grid" and some of them are people that conceal what income they do have by bartering or taking cash for jobs--under the table--and some are people that just don't need much and prefer to live life on their own terms.

Good for them--as long as they aren't dependent on tax dollars.

The problem is, whether these people receive welfare payments or not, they're not contributing to everything else the federal government pays for that they enjoy.

People that pay federal income taxes are the ones shouldering that burden.

That was my point.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

To me, the most important point of this interesting thread is that the vast majority of those who end up with ivy league educations are those who come from not just money but true wealth accompanied by power. Wealth and power that is more than likely generational. The wealth provides the means for those with innate high intelligence, the ability to learn quickly, to qualify for a seat. The background the child comes from doesnt hurt either - if little Jason had very good grades but not the overwhelmingly outstanding grades that others coming from lower means have, his parent's connections could help him get his foot into the door ahead of others- there are only so many seats available after all.
Once he graduates, his background might help get him into the important positions of location which are the training ground for the career ladder they intend to climb.
From the moment of conception until they die, the likely success they will be (if they have the innate intelligence necessary) they have had the funds, the contacts and the training ground that provides them the ability to run on a social maturity level while the rest of the kids in this country are still learning to crawl.

Just by living their life they are exposed by osmosis to the way very successful people think, talk, conduct themselves in simple conversations and social situations. Listening to his parents talk about their work day at the dinner table gives insight into the tools necessary to successfully conduct business. In pre-school, they meet and befriend the very people who later in life will be the necessary business contacts.

The wealthy have advantages that give them the means to run the world. More importantly, they have and use the ability to directly effect my own life and all forum members here without exception, in a big way.
It wasnt the head of the big Micron plant in the city that, along with his peers screwed up the world finances in such a way that ruined the lives of who knows how many? It was not just the financially very comfortable people with some local power - it was those with great wealth, mostly of generational wealth and it's power who have the real power and who tends to screw up the country in so many ways-
I worry because it is these people who run the world.

They have the power and means to be or to choose who will our world leaders. These are the same people who need to be taught humility in a classroom setting. Some might do very well and great social good with their power, perhaps wanting to come up with decisions that will enrich all the people of their country more so than the already wealthy friends they shared their snack with in first grade.

And maybe not.

I consider it incredibly dangerous for our country to be run by such a tiny number of people who come from pretty much a tiny single source with pretty much the same backgrounds.
Though it may be true that a person from very modest means ( like the current president) might gain great power, it happens only with the backing and support which comes from the powerfully wealthy class of this country. I find that a frightening thought. They arent very good at using their power in a universally productive way in the long haul.

On another note:
Jodi, I think you make important points, but I also believe that it is entirely possible to have what you, yourself treasure most in life and also have financial comfort - even great financial comfort. I dont really believe at all that the general rule is that if one wants career and financial success that it usually results from the sacrifice of family, not in time or quality or by the sacrifice of involved parent. I might have continually misunderstood you in the past, you have said what you stated may 1 at 20:30 and I usually end up with the impression that your basic belief is that if one has ended up successful financially through diligence, a family sacrifice was made - or that the level of importance placed on career with the result of financial success necessarily lowers the level of importance placed upon all those other values you listed that you have great wealth in. I understand that I may not fully get the point you make, but these are the impressions I walk away with when you respond as you did above in this thread..
If I am correct in my impression, I have to say that I think you are incorrect in your surmise.

Being a good, involved parent who's children grow up with a sense of having been a greatly loved and valued member of a tight and loyal, loving family depends upon the parent and the parent's involvement with their child.
One can do both and do them both very well. It happens all the time.
There are a middle class and upward who enjoy beautiful homes, nice things, better food and wonderful educational holidays abroad who are self absorbed, lousy parents.
And a lot of wonderful parents, too, I would venture to say more financially successful people who are excellent parents.

Just as there are really great parents who are poor, there are also lousy parents who are poor, for probably all the same reasons behind those who are succeeding financially due to their careers and are also parents.
A good value system isn't dependent upon an empty pocket but a room bursting full of love - sometimes that empty pocket can cause damage and heartache for children that no amount of love can ever really overcome. Just as too much 'everything' can cause some damage to some children despite good and loving, involved parenting, so too can living in continued financially stressful conditions or actual poverty damage some children, despite having good and loving, involved parents.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Great post, mylab.

Good points.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

demi,

So, I saw your post as one outside the nature of the discussion on education, another post with seemingly little value but to denigrate the poor. The misconceptions of poverty astound me. But that is a subject that deserves it's own discussion.

When I decide to start such a discussion, I'm sure you will recognize it. But I warn you, you will probably not like the serious side of me any better the the 'smart aleck' one.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Posted by pls8xx z8a AR (My Page) on
Wed, May 8, 13 at 23:30

demi,

So, I saw your post as one outside the nature of the discussion on education, another post with seemingly little value but to denigrate the poor. The misconceptions of poverty astound me. But that is a subject that deserves it's own discussion.

When I decide to start such a discussion, I'm sure you will recognize it. But I warn you, you will probably not like the serious side of me any better the the 'smart aleck' one.

*

I don't know enough or care enough about you to like you or not.

I don't care what you thought about my post.

As I asked, please knock off the personal comments about me living in lala land.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Demi, just because a person lives off the grid does not mean they don't contribute to the system. They have to buy their propane and solar panels, their Paloma water heaters and wood and everything else from someone... I just don't want to continue to pay SDGE outrageous prices for their subsidized energy. I hardly think that makes me a system-mooch.

Demi: "Some of those are people that live "off the grid" and some of them are people that conceal what income they do have by bartering or taking cash for jobs--under the table--and some are people that just don't need much and prefer to live life on their own terms.

The portion of my tax dollars that goes to pay for my community is negligible. Picking up trash on the side of the road, etc. does more for my community than paying a few cents to pave the roads. Living life on their own terms... you do realize that taxation is a very new concept in America, don't you? That communities used to do things better than the government we're paying?

Good for them--as long as they aren't dependent on tax dollars. The problem is, whether these people receive welfare payments or not, they're not contributing to everything else the federal government pays for that they enjoy. People that pay federal income taxes are the ones shouldering that burden. That was my point.

There are a lot of moochers- but that doesn't mean that people who take cash under the table or are living off the grid are taking more than their share.

In my experience, those who don't go to a 9-5 commute (of 20 miles, is the average), end up NOT polluting the environment, using foreign fuels, buying clothes made in other countries by people getting paid pennies on the dollar, buying lunches from McDonalds (rainforest massacre, cow polluting, Coke, etc)....

Instead, they help other AMERICANs by trading homemade bread for zucchini, childcare for vehicle repair, massages for lawn service.

I do wonder how one would quantify the return a person gives to the Earth, their neighbors and their country.

***********************************************

As an aside, I was approached by a Greenpeace activist the other day outside a store, he wanted me to give him money, I explained I donate in my community and not to large organizations. He argued with me that the only way we could get anything done was through large groups, because they're getting everything done of importance, etc. After all, did I save the whales (etc) last week?

I walked away feeling really crummy. I might not have saved whales. But after thinking about it I realized I did make a difference. I gave away many grocery bags stuffed with green, organic, healthy vegetables to my neighbors, co-workers and friends and when they tired of them, to strangers on FreeCycle. (I even got thank you notes that said their children had never eaten so many greens before) I helped the neighbor by watching her daughter, as I do every week for a few hours. Unpaid, because it's really no skin off my teeth. I picked up a bag of trash on my way to get my daughter from school. I donated my notary services to a young person. I also planted more food, that I will give away.

I may not have paid into the Greenpeace kitty, but I did pay into the system.

Oh, by the way, I also worked my two jobs, contributing enough taxes that when I do go off grid, and under the table, I will have no feeling of social responsibility guilt that I didn't pay my share.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Thu, May 9, 13 at 14:04

Where what you are doing would have a significant effect would be if a billion other people were doing likewise. Otherwise, what he said is true: the problems of the day call for organized group action on a large scale. You can certainly be assured - so to speak - that destructive commercial (profits above all else) organizations are very busy taking over the world these days, with and without governmental assistance/collusion.

It is also true that once conservation groups become big membership organizations a bunch of what you pay them with your donations and dues goes to the cost of maintaining a big organization. But it takes a big group to affect modern problems, all you can do is monitor them to be sure they are doing the work you think you are paying for.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Silver, while you may not be paying much in the way of federal taxes, it certainly doesn't sound as though you are a "taker".


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Silversword--I understand your points, and have no problem with the way some people live "off the grid."

For those that truly do so in most every sense of the word, the circumstances you outlined usually apply--they aren't around to receive many services and in some instances, reduce costs.

I know of a few people throughout my lifetime that just left everything and left it all and built a cabin in the woods and stayed there. One man did collect his social security, but he was a doctor for decades before doing that.

My point was, some people that live a large portion of the lives "off the grid" in the sense that they do not hold conventional jobs, but take payment under the table, or barter and do not report to the IRS, yet they enjoy infrastructure, military protection, federal dollars spent on social services, etc. without paying a dime in federal income tax.

I'm not referring particularly to those that don't pay federal income tax because they don't make enough--I'm referring to those that do not report the income as they should, and would otherwise pay some federal income tax.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

I thought this article pretty well illustrated my thesis that, today, the richer are perhaps more smarter than the rich of yesterday and that's the reason their kids, even before they set foot in the first grade, test higher on tests. They're smarter, pure and simple, just because their parents are smarter. Smart people have a better chance at becoming wealthy in this era. Smart people have smarter kids.

The Next Billionaire: A Statistician Who Changed Medicine

Today he's a billionaire. Yesterday he would have been the King's astrologer, a university professor, (which he was) or maybe an accountant for Scrooge.

Hay

Here is a link that might be useful: Just in case that link doesn't work.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Certainly, Mylab... I would agree. It all depends on the priorities one has, and whether or not one wants or has the capacity to get that financial comfort.

There's nothing wrong in being financially comfortable AND happy... I don't believe I've ever said that one can't be... what I find distressing is the push toward the top of that financial ladder, while forgetting there are other important aspects to life.

It's when "enough is never enough", and pushing for more comes at the expense of other human beings that I think there's a flaw in there somewhere.

One does not require a life of poverty to be happy... but one doesn't require a mountain of money to be happy, either. I'm happy without all the trappings of materialism. Would I like to be a little more financially stable? Sure. But not at any price.

Would financial stability make me any more happy than I already am? No.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Interesting read, Hay. The wife is involved with medical research - particularly genetics, and clinical trials, so I've absorbed some info via osmosis. What I found most interesting is this guy is a statistician. And these days, with the enormous amounts of data out there and the computers to analyze it, the world is being run by stat guys.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Several sites report that the threshold for money making one happier is $75,000 income per year. Anything over that and apparently you're not significantly happier.

Of course all that depends on the individual and situation.

Certainly, not worrying about how one is going to pay for food, fuel, shelter, or medical care will most likely factor into one's happiness--if they're constantly worrying about how to pay for these necessities, they are less likely to be happy.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

I remember that - was a Princeton study of 450,000 respondents a few years back. Interestingly enough, it cited two types of happiness - day to day mood and satisfaction about how your life is going.

A lower income didn't cause sadness but provided more awareness of existing problems. Having money took the sting out of the more unpleasant things life can throw one's way.

But to put it into some perspective - 75k in rural Alabama is a world away from Manhattan.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

But to put it into some perspective - 75k in rural Alabama is a world away from Manhattan.
*

Yes.

That's why studies don't mean much to me.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

"Too much of everything is just enough".

Anyone having a problem with having too much, please give me a call.

Dave, for you

(And knowing I can't get anything to link lately, I'll include it in the box below.)

Wanted: Data scientists. No math chops? No problem.

Again, supporting my thesis: If you're good with numbers, then you have a much better chance of being wealthy in today's time than you would have in the good ole days.

"Big Data is such a fast-growing field that employers are still figuring out exactly which mix of skills they really need. Even so, they're hiring like mad."

Did the word, "Quants", those "Rocket Scientists" with a mathematical bent that you see mentioned in the article, did that word even exist a few years ago?

Be a smart computer nerd with a bent toward mathematics and you've got a bright future in today's world.

Ever hear of a guy named Mark Zuckerberg?

Hay

Here is a link that might be useful: Why can't we embed links?


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Thats pretty much what genetics is about these days, as well as risk management for climate change. Running advanced probability statistics on massive amounts of data.

Whats fun to watch is that some guy will think he's God's Gift to Data Analysis, worth a fortune in salary, but then some other smart guy has posted a program on the internet, so you can run the same data through and get the same results - for free.

So now its all about guarding access to the data.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

They're smarter, pure and simple, just because their parents are smarter. Smart people have a better chance at becoming wealthy in this era. Smart people have smarter kids.

Those are generalizations that mean nothing.

Additionally, higher education and intellectual capability do not always equate with financial success. There are many happy idiots like the guy who owns Papa Johns Pizza or Herman Cain that have seen financial success but do not seem to be very bright. How about Paris Hilton? Noelle Bush?

And there are many children of wealthy individuals that we will never know whether or not they would have been able to compete on an even playing field because they have never played on one. George W. Bush comes to mind - the quintessential Fortunate Son.

This post was edited by heri_cles on Sat, May 11, 13 at 23:09


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RE: The education / wealth gap

David, in the circles of people we run within, programming is generally created with the idea in mind that the exchange of information should be free for the sharing.

And while certain entities either guard it with their life for fear of losing a few gazillion dollars, or spend too much time pretending it's hackers that are the bad guys, it's generally the free programming that's better... and the "hackers" are the guys and gals in white hats doing good work and outing the bad guys to the public.

But people in general will believe what they will... or what their favorite "news" commentators tell them to.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

"Additionally, higher education and intellectual capability do not always equate with financial success. There are many happy idiots like the guy who owns Papa Johns Pizza or Herman Cain that have seen financial success but do not seem to be very bright. "

Warren Buffet tells a joke about himself. He says that one of his friends has said to him,

"If you're so rich, how come you're not smart."

Hay


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Regression to the mean applies to both unusually high intelligence and unusual wealth, but with intelligence the regression is generally much more marked.


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RE: The education / wealth gap

I thought this paragraph was interesting:

To make this trend concrete, consider two children, one from a family with income of $165,000 and one from a family with income of $15,000. These incomes are at the 90th and 10th percentiles of the income distribution nationally, meaning that 10 percent of children today grow up in families with incomes below $15,000 and 10 percent grow up in families with incomes above $165,000.

So these are the dollar signs we're considering? A "family" with an income of $165,000 is very likely to be two adults with college educations in well paying jobs indicating, at least, an average level of intelligence, and most likely a number of above average folks.

Are we likely to see as many people of above average intelligence in those making less than $15,000? Really? Or is it just politically correct to think that?

I have no doubt that high intelligence resides at EVERY level of the socioeconomic ladder, but I also have no doubt that those who do well in school and seek higher education are "more likely" to be of higher intelligence on average.

And let's face it: you can further subdivide intelligence in higher education by looking at college majors, generally speaking, again. On average, physics majors have higher IQs than education majors. (And, yes, I know some very bright teachers. No offense to teachers. :) )

This post was edited by bird_lover6 on Wed, May 15, 13 at 18:48


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RE: The education / wealth gap

Are we likely to see as many people of above average intelligence in those making less than $15,000? Really? Or is it just politically correct to think that?

That would include people who are disabled and on a fixed income, and I know a few people who are highly intelligent who prefer to live a simpler life style - hippies in Yurts. But you make a good point - there aren't an awful lot of them around.


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