Monday, February 20, 2012

The Growing Education Gap Reflects a Marriage Gap

A set of new reports show that the educational achievement gap between rich and poor kids is growing.  These same reports show that the gap between black and white kids is shrinking.  But the race gap is still large.

I think both of these movements point to a crucial third term: the growing marriage gap between the haves and have-less.

Marriage doesn't cure everything.  After two generations of educational assortive mating - brains marry brains - there are growing ability differences between the top and bottom of the educational structure.

Still, people who marry before they have kids and stay that way do invest in their children's learning more, both inside school and out. They can close much of the educational gap by investing their time and improving their own knowledge, for their children's sake.

Most of the education gap is a family gap, which poor families can best address by making stronger marriages. This is a hard project, and not one the government can do much about.  But it is by no means hopeless.

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