You can’t throw money at War on Poverty

Mar 24, 2019 by

A damning new study dispels the myth that more money is the cure for education’s failures. The report took a comprehensive look at 50 years of testing data and found that even after spending hundreds of billions of dollars, the opportunity gap among students remains as wide as ever.

Starting with President Lyndon Johnson and the War on Poverty, the U.S. government has taken a much more active role in helping children overcome economic hardship and succeed in school.

The fact these gaps remain so stark after decades of federal intervention should be a wake-up call to politicians and policymakers. And while it could be argued that without the infusion of money, the gap would have become worse, the goal was never to maintain the status quo.

“The whole point of the War on Poverty was to close achievement gaps,” says Eric Hanushek, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a lead author of the study.

Hanushek, a scholar in the economics of education, says he was “startled” to find the achievement gaps haven’t narrowed at all.

In the report “The achievement gap fails to close,” published by Education Next, the authors dig through data to study the War on Poverty’s impact — something that hadn’t been done previously to this extent.

Source: Editorial: You can’t throw money at War on Poverty

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