There is a strong connection between income inequality of parents and the social mobility of their children. Rich affluent families have the money and resources to invest in their children’s educational growth and success, unlike middle-class families. They invest these resources in weekend sports, adventure activities, music, dance and art classes, and private tutors simply because they can financially afford these.
As per the article “Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say” in The New York Times, James J. Heckman, an economist in the University of Chicago stated that parenting and income together affect the formation of a child’s cognitive ability and personality in a positive way, especially in the pre-school years of a child. He states that the conditions in the early life of a child and whether the surrounding environment is stimulating or not, play a very important role in shaping the child’s future. Children from affluent families get more exposure than children from low-income families, as they travel to different places, visit shopping malls, fun and play areas outside their homes, and sometimes go with their parents to modern day-cares or pre-schools where they learn social skills very early in life. Children from low-income families on the other hand don’t get the opportunities to benefit from such programs as their parents cannot afford them.
In schools affluent children are more popular and everyone wants to be friends with them seeing the expensive and stylish bags and accessories they carry, how they talk with confidence and behave like a leader. I had a classmate in school that was from a very rich family and I remember how we used to admire the fancy pencil boxes he brought to school. His snack box used to be full of expensive and delicious cookies and chocolates. All of this tempted us in the class to be a close friend to him. In class we would want to sit next to him, spend recess with him and even seek for an opportunity to visit his home for a birthday party. In a way affluent children become leaders in schools or colleges as other children hover around them and admire their way of doing things.
Affluent children are always taught to soar and aim high in life so as to reach top positions in professional life. As they have a certain financial status in society, they are encouraged to maintain that or progress higher than that also. They learn about working strategies and professional development from their parents as well as from the well-renowned institutions where they study. Whereas, a middle-class child would see the parents struggle and work hard in life to meet the family’s needs, and would therefore follow the same footsteps. They can’t aim very high in life as they don’t have the resources to achieve that kind of educational and vocational training as their affluent counterparts.
I have seen that the parents of affluent children know important people in the society, so it’s easy for them to get support for admission to good colleges. Their parents have a high status in the society due to which people give them importance and esteem. This puts the children also in the limelight and they benefit from all the attention they get. On the other hand middle-class or low-income family children like myself have to pave their own way of success and struggle all the way up to their goal. They may have to please people to get a good grade or job for example when it’s tough. They may have to even wait for a long time to get a promotion, while someone from an affluent family overtakes them owing to his high social status. It is seen everywhere that children from affluent families have the motivation, the financial resources and the social help they need to reach the top and be successful in their endeavors as compared to the unfortunate low-income families.
R. Murnane & G. Duncan, Sean F. Reardon. CEPA. Stanford University. The Widening Academic Achievement Gap Between the Rich and the Poor: New Evidence and Possible Explanations. 2012. Center for Education Policy Analysis. Web. 2 May, 2013.
Sabrina Tavernise. Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say. 2012. The New York Times. Web. 2 May, 2013.