…the growing role that education plays in preserving class divisions. Poor
students have long trailed affluent peers in school performance, but from
grade-school tests to college completion, the gaps are growing.a long walk

Kenyon Sivels sent the link to this NY Times article on the alarming current trend of disparity of education for the affluent and the poor reported by Jason DeParle.

Thirty years ago, there was a 31 percentage point difference between the share
of prosperous and poor Americans who earned bachelor’s degrees, according to
Martha J. Bailey and Susan M. Dynarski of the University of Michigan. Now the
gap is 45 points.

Kenyon is a cadet at our College for Officer Training in Chicago.  In a few months he’ll be ‘on the field’ as we say in the Salvation Army.  Working with families, children, communities.  Doing the most good in the name of Jesus with those for who God shows a preference.  emanuel and brizard

While both groups improved their odds of finishing college, the affluent improved much more, widening their sizable lead.

It’s not the affluent.  There are forces, perks, networks, systems, powers in the world which favor particular individuals, families, groups, nations.  The poor are not among them.

“Everyone wants to think of education as an equalizer — the place where upward mobility gets started,” said Greg J. Duncan, an economist at the University of California, Irvine. “But on virtually every measure we have, the gaps between high- and low-income kids are widening. It’s very disheartening.”

I remember seeing boys in a meeting on the west side of Chicago making presentations on what they would be when they grew up.  Businessmen.  Professionals.  I think it was a Martin Luther King Day observance.  Hopeful.  Eager.  With that school yardforward-leaning kind of energy that says ‘I’m going somewhere and it’s a place not anything like where I am now’.  On the west side.  Trouble in the streets.  In the schools.  In my home.  Too many dead-end people around reminding me of where I will be if I’m not eager at school.

“It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that a low-income student, no matter how intrinsically bright, moves up the socioeconomic ladder,” said Sean Reardon, a sociologist at Stanford. “What we’re talking about is a threat to the American dream.”

Many, most of those boys, grew up, bit by bit losing that forward-leaning look, the brightness of eye.  Hope.

I am praying for Kenyon, his fellow cadets, my fellow Salvation Army officers, our friends of this Army in this American land.  That we do the most good we can for those who have come to expect the least.

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