Avoiding the “Poverty Trap”

Poverty is a problem in America, and it is a more serious problem here than in many other nations including some with average incomes considerably below ours. However, it is not the only problem in America, nor is it the sole cause or even most important cause of our student achievement problem. Nevertheless, our debates about education policy and education reform typically focus on reducing the “achievement gap” between rich and poor. While this is an admirable goal, focusing on the achievement gap as the primary problem is a mistake—conceptually, practically, and politically.

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