Carnegie Mellon University study: Low-income boys’ inattention in kindergarten associated with lower earnings 30 years later

17 Feb

Moi wrote about the intersection of race and class in Michael Petrilli’s decision: An ed reformer confronts race and class when choosing a school for his kids. It is worth reviewing that post. https://drwilda.com/tag/class-segregation/

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.
A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class http://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/https://drwilda.com/2011/11/07/race-class-and-education-in-america/

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity; one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. Science Daily reported one facet of the class issue.

Science Daily reported in Low-income boys’ inattention in kindergarten associated with lower earnings 30 years later:

Disruptive behaviors in childhood are among the most prevalent and costly mental health problems in industrialized countries and are associated with significant negative long-term outcomes for individuals and society. Recent evidence suggests that disruptive behavioral problems in the first years of life are an important early predictor of lower employment earnings in adulthood. A new longitudinal study examined boys from low-income backgrounds to determine which behaviors in kindergarten are associated with earnings in adulthood. The study concluded that inattention was associated with lower earnings and prosocial behavior with higher earnings.
The study was done by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Montreal, University College Dublin, Ste-Justine Hospital Research Center, L’Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Économiques, Centre pour la Recherche Économique et ses Applications, Statistics Canada, and Université de Bordeaux. The research is published in JAMA Pediatrics.
“Identifying early childhood behavioral problems associated with economic success or failure is essential for developing targeted interventions that enhance economic prosperity through improved educational attainment and social integration,” explains Daniel Nagin, professor of public policy and statistics at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, who coauthored the study.
The study looked at 920 boys who were 6 years old and lived in low-income neighborhoods in Montreal, Canada, beginning in 1984 and continuing through 2015. The boys’ kindergarten teachers were asked to rate the boys on five behaviors typically assessed at that age: inattention, hyperactivity, physical aggression, opposition, and prosocial behavior. Prosocial behavior is social behavior that benefits others, like helping, cooperating, and sharing.
Findings revealed that the teachers’ ratings of boys’ inattention — characterized as poor concentration, distractibility, having one’s head in the clouds, and lacking persistence — were associated with lower earnings when the students were 35 to 36 years old. In addition, prosocial behavior was associated with higher earnings; examples of prosocial behavior included trying to stop quarrels, inviting bystanders to join in a game, and trying to help someone who has been hurt.
Both findings took into account children’s IQ (assessed at age 13) and their families’ adversity (parents’ educational level and occupational status. Earnings were measured by government tax return data.
The study found that hyperactivity, aggression, and opposition were not significantly associated with changes in later earnings.
Because the research was observational in nature, causality was not assessed. In addition, the study did not examine earnings obtained informally that were likely not reported to Canadian tax authorities. And because the study focused on boys in low-income neighborhoods, its generalizability to other genders or individuals of different socioeconomic status is limited…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190211164015.htm

Citation:

Low-income boys’ inattention in kindergarten associated with lower earnings 30 years later
Date: February 11, 2019
Source: Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
A new longitudinal study examined boys from low-income backgrounds to determine which behaviors in kindergarten are associated with earnings in adulthood. The study concluded that inattention was associated with lower earnings and prosocial behavior with higher earnings.
Journal Reference:
Francis Vergunst, Richard E. Tremblay, Daniel Nagin, Yann Algan, Elizabeth Beasley, Jungwee Park, Cedric Galera, Frank Vitaro, Sylvana M. Côté. Association of Behavior in Boys From Low Socioeconomic Neighborhoods With Employment Earnings in Adulthood. JAMA Pediatrics, 2019; DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.5375

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the country and there must be good schools in all parts of this society. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.

The lawyers in Brown were told that lawsuits were futile and that the legislatures would address the issue of segregation eventually when the public was ready. Meanwhile, several generations of African Americans waited for people to come around and say the Constitution applied to us as well. Generations of African Americans suffered in inferior schools. This society cannot sacrifice the lives of children by not addressing the issue of equity in school funding in a timely manner.
The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century.

Related:

Michael Petrilli’s decision: An ed reformer confronts race and class when choosing a school for his kids
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/11/micheal-pettrillis-decision-an-ed-reformer-confronts-race-and-class-when-choosing-a-school-for-his-kids/

The role economic class plays in college success
https://drwilda.com/2012/12/22/the-role-economic-class-plays-in-college-success/

The ‘school-to-prison pipeline
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/27/the-school-to-prison-pipeline/

Trying not to raise a bumper crop of morons: Hong Kong’s ‘tutor kings and queens’
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/26/trying-not-to-raise-a-bumper-crop-of-morons-hong-kongs-tutor-kings-and-queens/

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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