Data tells us:
At least one study has shown that teacher perception — not actual performance or work quality — plays the largest role in persistent gaps between low- and high-income students at the top of the GPA scale.
On average, America spends more on high-income students than low-income ones, making it among just three countries worldwide to do so.1 Because public schools are funded in large part by local taxes, those serving low-income areas are often under-resourced.
Course Options and Rigor
Low-income schools consistently lack the academic options of wealthier schools, especially in math and sciences. Some 500,000 American students attend high schools that do not offer a math course as advanced as even Algebra II.2
Low-income students are underserved by high school guidance counselors. High schools serving predominately low-income and minority students have counselor-to-student ratios twice the national average – 1,000 students per counselor versus 470 students per counselor nationally.
Standardized Test Preparation
The gap in SAT scores between students from rich and poor families has grown — from a gap of 90 points during the 1980s to 125 points today. An arms race of sorts has fed the private test prep industry, and prices for that help have risen twice as fast as average wages since 2012 tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The large gap in SAT scores indicates that we are failing high-achieving, low-income students by not adequately preparing them academically and specifically to the tests.