The Parenting Gap

The deep divides in American education, from pre-kindergarten to post-graduate, threaten to create a class-based society. Advantage and disadvantage are inherited to a degree that undermines our claims to be open and fair. There is, quite rightly, a cacophonous debate on how to reform schools, open up colleges, and widen access to pre-K learning. But too little attention is paid to another divide affecting social mobility—the parenting gap.

Affluent couples are going to some lengths to get it right: marrying (usually later than average, but better than never), having one or two children, and investing heavily in their offspring—not just in financial terms but in other ways, too. Type “parenting” into Amazon and some 90,000 child-rearing products—books, DVDs, equipment—pop up. It is easy to parody overzealous parents shuttling their children from after-school tennis practice to cello lesson to Chinese tutor. But the truth is that those with more money are also doing a lot of things right. High-income parents talk with their school-aged children for three hours more per week than low-income parents, according to research by Meredith Phillips of UCLA. They also provide around four-and-a-half extra hours per week of time in novel or stimulating places, such as parks or churches, for their infants and toddlers.

Read more at Democracy Journal