Stanford Study Reveals Surprising News About the Achievement Gap

The evidence is clear: Poor children start school already behind their more affluent peers ― and frequently stay behind. Closing this achievement gap has long been a goal of parents, educators, governmental leaders and anyone else with an interest in seeing children succeed.

That’s why new research from the Stanford Graduate School of Education (“Ready for kindergarten? Gap between rich and poor narrows, Stanford study finds”) is surprising. Using the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, it shows that the achievement gap has narrowed, despite widening economic and social inequities in the United States. The article explores why the gap may have closed and notes that the mere fact that it did suggests that such gaps “are not an immutable law of nature.”

The Bainum Family Foundation’s 2015 report, “Infants and Toddlers in the District of Columbia: A Statistical Look at Needs and Disparities,” provides a stark look at this achievement gap in the District of Columbia, noting that race and place historically have played a significant role in shaping children’s fate. Our goal at the Foundation is to create a well-resourced, coordinated early childhood system that effectively eliminates race and place as a predictor of whether a child reaches his or her full potential. Learn how we are doing that through a Birth-to-Three Policy Alliance that includes the District’s leading policy, advocacy and service organizations. Together, we are working to improve the odds for infants and toddlers and their families.