Opinion
Education Opinion

Study Finds Income Causes Educational Inequality

By Matthew Lynch — March 21, 2016 1 min read

Income equality is a hot political topic as of late. Politicians use it as a wedge issue on both sides to ensure that voters will flock to the polls. But its more than political as many Americans struggle to earn a decent living wage.

Income inequality impacts education as well.

By way of new information from the Brookings Institution, students who reside in low-income states are more likely to drop out of school than students in who live in states of lower income inequality -- especially boys.

This is not necessarily earth shattering news, but noteworthy as we have conclusive evidence that shows a correlation between education and income inequality.

The areas with the highest income inequality are all in the south. States like Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana are where students face the toughest financial hurdles.

Moving farther north, states such as Wisconsin and Vermont are not under the same educational pressure as their economic outlook is much better.

Where the research becomes slightly heartbreaking is when it turns to why some low-income students choose to drop out.

The Brookings study concluded that it may be perception that causes students to leave school. Students likely feel that their chances of going to college -- let alone afford it -- are low, which in turn will severely limit their ability to attain a decent paying job.

Instead of continuing to face and experience the results of poverty as an adult, some students choose to drop out and find a way on their own.

To combat the problem, Brookings suggests policy initiatives such as mentoring and parenting programs. If these types of projects are already in place in the states where income inequality is a major issue, then politicians should focus more resources on them.

If our workforce is to remain strong and vital, then properly investing in areas where income inequality is prevalent is paramount.

Without attention, we risk losing a generation of students to poverty.

The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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