Last month The New York Times published the op-ed piece “No Rich Child Left Behind” by Stanford professor of education and sociology Sean F. Reardon. In his article Reardon addresses an unfamiliar problem in America: the growth of an educational gap between the rich and middle class, writing that “not only are the children of the rich doing better in school than even the children of the middle class, but the changing economy means that school success is increasingly necessary to future economic success”. Middle class families can overcome these academic disparities by investing in early childhood education outside of the classroom and in summer workbooks, tutors, and even time off work for parents.
Summer learning programs prevent middle class children from being ‘left behind’ during the school year, where the parameters of academic success is defined by the education of children from rich families. Summer workbooks play a dual role for middle class families in facing academic disparities, providing the means for children to develop academic skills without institutional structuring and the method through which parents can develop greater understandings of their children’s academic potentials. Sean F. Reardon sees this as a solution to income-based education gap and concludes, “The more we do to ensure that all children have similar cognitively stimulating early childhood experiences, [the more] our schools will focus on teaching the skills - how to solve complex problems, how to think critically and how to collaborate — essential to a growing economy and a lively democracy.”