Another crucial factor in determining education inequality is the family background of students. There is a proven correlation between the academic successes of parents with the academic success of their children. In a Harvard’s “Civil Rights Project,” Lee and Orfeild identified family background as the most influential factor in student achievement. Only 11% of children from the bottom fifth earn a college degree while 80% of the top fifth earn one. This translates to a home-life that is more supportive of educational success.
As mentioned in family background, access to resources play a hugely important role in education inequality. In addition to the resources, access to proper nutrition and health care influence the cognitive development of children. Children who come from poor families experience a disadvantage from the start. The lack of resources is directly linked to ethnicity and race. Black and Latino students are three times more likely than whites to be in high poverty schools and twelve times as likely to be in school that almost everyone is poor. Therefore, parental involvement and awareness is extremely important. Additionally, children from poorer families, who are often minorities, come from families that distrust institutions. Disadvantage parents must educate themselves in order to assure the success of their children and their children’s children. Education must become a priority in the home and the schools must make these parents feel welcome and important partners.
High poverty schools must have all the characteristics of an effective school. The schools of the poor students must focus on achievement and monitor student progress. There must be a cooperative working environment and the school’s atmosphere must be safe and orderly. With strong leadership, dedicated highly effective teachers, parental involvement, and high expectations for all students, and time on task any schools with poor students should meet with academic and personal success.