The Widening Education Gap May Tear the Economy Apart | The Covid-19 pandemic will exacerbate the disparities in educational outcomes, much as the Great Recession did.

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I’m a high school teacher in NYC. The disparity in educational outcomes will also increase from grades K-12, not just in higher ed, which this article focuses on. These kids will carry this disparity with them from grade to grade, and on into their adult lives.

It is very apparent to me that the kids in the suburbs with parents who WFH will largely be fine. Their parents are educated enough to help them with their online schoolwork, and they aren’t worrying too much about bills, or whether there will be food on the table. The kids who were poor and struggling before COVID are the ones who are going to bear the brunt of this. Their lives already had a lot of uncertainty, affecting their academic performance, and the pandemic fallout will only exacerbate this, resulting in one the most academically illiterate cohorts in modern times, which will only further hamper their ability to get good, higher paying jobs and pull themselves out of poverty. We are going to see deep, long term class divisions unless direct and profound action is taken.

What can we do about this? This is not something the market will magically correct by itself. Poverty breeds more poverty. Illiterate parents are more likely to have illiterate children. It is a cycle. There is no greater predictor of academic success than socio-economic status, and that status is about to nosedive for a large swath of already struggling people. If we want to decrease the recovery time of the country, the only solution is for the government to step in, and do the following:

  1. Tax the wealthy. Raise them overall, but also institute a one time heavy tax.

  2. Use those taxes to create a jobs program on par with the New Deal of the 1930s.

  3. Decrease funding to the military and other sectors of the government, and reallocate those resources into education, job training programs, and social services.

What can you do? If you’re in a WFH position and your financial situation has largely been unaffected by the pandemic, congratulations. I’m happy for you, but don’t be a selfish asshole. Volunteer/donate to food banks, school supply nonprofits, or tutoring services for underprivileged students. Lastly, don’t vote for idiots who do not believe that the pandemic is a big deal, don’t care about your fellow countrymen whose lives have been turned upside down, and have no ideas on how to fix things.

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, The Dismal Science reports

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