Education Lab The One Simple Way to Help Poor Kids Stay in School

Politico Magazine / October 19, 2017
By Debra Bruno

When middle-class kids stumble academically, their parents will often enlist pricey private tutors to get them back on track. No parent who can afford to intervene wants to risk their child falling behind or losing crucial tenths of a point off their class ranking. But that one-on-one remedy doesn’t exist for poor students. When they fall behind in subjects such as math, which depend on cumulative mastery of skills, they often stay that way. And the persistent failure of poor students to make up ground has become accepted as proof that no intervention—not even tutoring— can reverse the slide once a student has reached a certain age.

But a recent study run out of the University of Chicago’s Urban Labs of high school students in Chicago has proven that the conventional wisdom is wrong. And the results have the potential to change the ways educators think about one of the most confounding problems they face: How to keep kids on track academically.

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19 October 2017