Thursday, January 11, 2007

Eddie and Leslie – A New Census Report On "A Child's Day"

From Ash:

This morning, the Census Bureau released its report, A Child's Day. It's fascinating reading – and there are some very encouraging statistics. For example, 75 percent of children 12 to 17 are considered "academically on track" – that's up six points since 1994. More parents have rules for their children's television watching – 67 percent of 3-to-5 year-olds have rules about TV watching now, compared to 54 percent in 1994.

But for me, the statistics that were more amazing were the ones that dramatically show the Eddie and Leslie situation we've written about in previous blogs – the way in which parents' education affects children's upbringing.

Just to hit a few highlights: about 20 percent of parents with less than a high school education never read to their 1-to-5 year-old children, while just five percent of those with advanced degrees aren't reading to their kids.

17 percent of kids 6-to-11 play in sports if their parents don't have a high school diploma, while 50 percent of those kids play in sports if at least one parent has an advanced degree.

Kids whose parents don't have a high school diploma are about twice as likely to have been suspended than those whose parents have upper-level degrees.

And the kids whose parents have those degrees are roughly three-times more likely to be in "gifted classes," while kids whose parents aren't high school grads are three-times more likely to have had to repeat a grade.

Which starts raising a lot of interesting questions – are those kids really gifted? Are those other kids really more trouble and well, "not gifted"? Is it resources, genetics, upbringing?

I'm not sure, but it's something both Po and I want to tackle further.


Anonymous Bonnie said...

You hit on something that I deal with every day. Part of my job is to identify gifted children. I am required to use my current district's guidelines, which I believe are very lax and tend to favor children from language-rich environments.

For example, we use the ITBS to identify children "gifted" in language skills. I have found that just about any child from a home where everyone reads and the adults have a good vocabulary excels at this test. But many children identified as gifted in kindergarten or first grade using this criterium appear to be "average" or a little above by third grade. I think that sometimes this is because of the kind of underachievement discussed in your excellent article about Dweck's findings, but more often it's because the kids are not gifted to begin with. Of course, this identification method tends to favor high socio-economic groups.

My district is trying to address the issue by using more non-verbal tests with young children.

I am so glad I discvered this blog. You have so many links to really useful, thought-provoking information.

Thanks so much!


10:19 AM  

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