The Annie E. Casey Foundation (ACF) has released a study concerning the ability of low-income fourth grade student’s to read. The findings show that there is an obvious deficiency in these children’s capability to read and comprehend.
The gap follows income and status of the families as higher-income students showed a proficiency in reading.
The ACF analyzed data from fourth grade students provided by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) or the Nation’s Report Card (NRC) from 2003 to 2013.
The findings showed that the gap between students of lower and higher income was most pronounced in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
States involved in the study include:
• South Dakota
• West Virginia
• District of Columbia
• Rhode Island
Lower-income students are expected to receive benefits from the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
The report states: “Unfortunately, by the time they are 8 years old, many children — especially those living in low-income families — have not met the developmental milestones that are essential for future success in school and in life. This gap often starts early as a result of health problems at birth, contributing to lags in language and social-emotional skill development in early childhood.”
The researchers wrote: “Low-income children are also more likely to miss out on high-quality early learning experiences, which can help mitigate these delays. Once they reach the early grades, children in economically fragile families often attend schools that lack high-quality teaching and learning environments. They also face family-related stressors, such as parental job loss and housing insecurity, which contribute to chronic absence from school.”
According to the researchers “the The total of higher-income students not reading-proficient decreased from 71 percent to 57 percent while lower-income students not reading proficient dropped from 87 percent to 83 percent.”
Ivette Rodriguez Stern, director for the University of the Hawaii Center of Family (UHCF) commented : “What is most concerning is that the gap in reading proficiency based on family income continues to widen. Hawaii is also one of three states with the largest increases in that gap. Increasing the reading proficiency of children from lower-income families in the early years is especially important to making sure they are ready to succeed in school and can later attain economic security.”
Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and advocacy for ACF said: “The gap between Mississippi and New Mexico and Massachusetts is pretty huge. Just looking at that component across the country can tell you a lot about the economic vitality of those places and how educated their workforces are going to be.”
Speer elaborated: “The numbers also described a more complex picture, with some states that fared well on average showing among the highest disparities in reading between students from lower-income and higher-income families.”