There is such a gap between the experiences of rich kids and poor kids, the differences between the haves and the have-nots will continue to worsen. David Brooks write in the New York Times about “The Opportunity Gap:”
A generation ago, working-class parents spent slightly more time with their kids than college-educated parents. Now college-educated parents spend an hour more every day…
Affluent parents also invest more money in their children. Over the last 40 years upper-income parents have increased the amount they spend on their kids’ enrichment activities, like tutoring and extra curriculars, by $5,300 a year. The financially stressed lower classes have only been able to increase their investment by $480, adjusted for inflation…
Richer kids are roughly twice as likely to play after-school sports. They are more than twice as likely to be the captains of their sports teams. They are much more likely to do nonsporting activities, like theater, yearbook and scouting. They are much more likely to attend religious services.
It’s not only that richer kids have become more active. Poorer kids have become more pessimistic and detached.
This “opportunity gap” is painfully evident in Upstate New York’s cities. The Urban Land Institute ranked 100 metro areas on gaps between white and black residents in income, housing, school test scores and employment. Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse ranked in the bottom 10.
A Brookings Institution study found that poor people have limited access to higher quality schools. Rochester also scored badly in this study.
The consequences to society of unequal access to opportunity can be dire in terms of unemployment, crime and poverty. But there are also moral reasons to strive for equal opportunity.
It remains very true that anyone can “make it” in America. But when the barriers are high, fewer people will.
Links of the Day:
– A study has found creating a countywide school system in Ontario County is feasible, but it may not save money.
– How can bus systems attract people who don’t need to ride the bus? Should they even try?
– Remember “Dirty Dancing?” The Catskills wants to be known as something other than cheesy resorts.
– A test shows whether your cancer is good and you’ll live or bad and you’ll die. Would you want to know?
– PETA named Frontier Field a Top 10 vegan-friendly ballpark.