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Student 112228
Sociology 463
November 4, 2005


                                 Educational Inequality
                          Head Start & Effects of family background


In 1965, Head Start program was created for low income families to help promote school

readiness for children ages from three to five. According to the US Department of Health

& Human Services, the knowledge and skill level of low income children are far below

national averages upon entering the program. Even though the program is federal and

state funded, many families are not eligible for the program. For example, a family of two

children can make up to $12,120 a year in order to be eligible. In contrast, the Ohio

legislator raised the income requirement to $22, 422 for a family with two children, but

5,000 children statewide were cut from their head start program due to state budgets.

Another example from an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer, reports that 140 children in

Hamilton County were cut from their Head Start programs due to budget cuts. The CAA

officials dropped the children because the families’ income exceeded the income

guidelines. One family, who has recently moved from Hamilton Ohio area, recently

placed their four year old son Joseph, in one of Columbus, Ohio Head Start programs.

Joseph’s mother and father states that,” We were really disappointed in the way the

government officials handled the situation with the budget. I have a two other children

who are two and three and I can not afford to pay $ 125.00 a week per child in daycare”

.
Based on a study conducted by the U.S Department of Education’s Early Childhood

Longitudinal, young children were observed by race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status

(SES). The findings concluded that children from high SES groups are above 60% above

cognitive scores of the lowest SES groups. Within these groups math achievement is 21%

lower for black than whites and 19% for Hispanics. In addition, another study was

conducted on family structure and educational expectations. This study concluded that

race and ethnicity with young children impacts their cognitive skills. For example, 15 %

of white children live with only one parent, whereas 54% of black and 27% of Hispanic

children live in a single parent homes. Furthermore, the study states that low SES

children begin school at kindergarten in lower quality elementary schools than their more

advantaged counterparts. The higher the school quality the more resources, more

qualified teachers and better neighborhoods.

In conclusion, many researches have also shown that children from low income families

who have received welfare at some point have a greater risk factor of falling behind in

school. Some studies have shown 49% of these children scored low compared to 22% of

children whose families not receiving welfare. On the other hand, researchers have also

shown that early childhood implemented with quality, well trained teachers can make a

big difference in the development of children’s knowledge and skills.

Cited Resources

http://www.epinet.org

National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. Children’s
Reading and Mathematics Achievement in Kindergarten and First Grade, March 2002.

National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. The
Kindergarten Year: Findings from the early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten
Class of 1998-1999, December, 2000.
Sociology 463
Student 112216


       The Annie E. Casey Foundation did a nationwide survey of the 50 largest cities in

the United States that looked at the well being of the children living in those areas. The

five key factors that were focused on are:



    Children living in poverty

    Children living in single parent homes

    Teenagers who dropped out of high school between the ages of 16-19

    Children with difficulty speaking English who are between the ages of 5-17

    Children with parents that are not in the labor force



       Children living in poverty are children under the age of 18 who live in with a

family with income below the U.S. poverty threshold. The average poverty threshold for

a family of four people was $19,307 in 2004. Children living in single parent homes

are children under the age 18 living in families with just a single parent—male or

female—without a spouse present in the home. Teens who are high school dropouts are

teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 who are not enrolled in school (full or part time)

and have not graduated high school. A GED or equivalent is considered a high school

graduate in this measure. Children with difficulty speaking English are children

between the ages of 5 and 17 who speak a different language at home other than English

and can not speak English “very well.” Children with parents that are not in the labor
force are children under the age of 18 living in families where no parent is in the labor

force.

         These five factors were believed to capture the entire range of conditions that

could shape a child’s life and are the key measures that are indicative of child welfare.

The U.S Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) conducted this

nationwide survey that was intended to provide communities with economic, housing,

social, and demographic data every year.

         The 50 largest cities in the United States lagged behind the United States as a

whole in all of the 5 key indicators of child well-being in the 2004 survey. The following

graph shows the National Average compared to the United States five largest cities.



                 Children In    Single          HS              Difficulty     Parents not
                 Poverty        Parent          Dropouts        Speaking       in Labor
                                Homes                           English        Force
United           18%            31%             8%              5%             9%
States

50 Largest       28%            43%             11%             10%            14%
Cities
Average


The 50 largest cities individual statistics (in percentages):

                         Children     Single      HS              Difficulty       Parents
                         in           Parent      Dropouts        Speaking         not in
                         Poverty      Homes                       English          Labor
                                                                                   Force
Albuquerque, NM          22           42          12              5                11

Atlanta, GA              48           60          21              0.2              9

Austin, TX               17           38          7               14               4
Baltimore, MD          35   66   13   3    22

Boston, MA             27   53   9    6    20

Charlotte, NC          20   37   6    4    5

Chicago, IL            31   46   10   10   19

Cleveland, OH          32   64   17   2    13

Colorado Springs, CO   18   36   5    3    7

Columbus, OH           23   45   9    4    12

Dallas, TX             30   46   11   21   13

Denver, CO             25   34   13   11   5

Detroit, MI            48   70   18   2    23

El Paso, TX            41   46   11   20   9

Fort Worth, TX         23   39   15   15   10

Fresno, CA             32   40   2    12   11

Honolulu, HI           17   25   4    7    12

Houston, TX            29   40   15   16   10

Indianapolis, IN       20   44   14   4    9

Jacksonville, FL       19   43   9    2    8

Kansas City, MO        31   48   11   2    16

Las Vegas, NV          17   36   18   7    13

Long Beach, CA         45   48   8    17   22

Los Angeles, CA        25   35   10   16   12

Memphis, TN            39   56   18   2    13
Mesa, AZ             18   28   16    4     1

Miami, FL            41   61   10    19    27

Milwaukee, WI        41   60   7     8     14

Minneapolis, MN      30   32   14    7     10

Nashville, TN        27   44   24    6     15

New Orleans, LA      38   62   15    2     20

New York, NY         31   43   11    13    18

Oakland, CA          34   40   5     15    21

Oklahoma City, OK    19   40   4     3     15

Omaha, NE            20   33   8     5     8

Philadelphia, PA     36   58   6     6     26

Phoenix, AZ          22   30   13    11    9

Portland, OR         23   33   7     9     10

Sacramento, CA       23   39   12    13    19

San Antonio, TX      30   40   12    7     15

San Diego, CA        20   34   6     16    10

San Francisco, CA    13   29   2     17    9

San Jose, CA         16   24   0.2   12    10

Seattle, WA          22   32   3     8     7

St. Louis, MO        30   59   5     0.3   17

Tucson, AZ           25   41   13    7     14

Tulsa, OK            26   36   1     5     19

Virginia Beach, VA   11   41   4     3     7
Washington, DC   34   68   10   3   16

Wichita, KS      13   26   21   2   4

				
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