Gaps in educational achievement between high- and low-income children are growing. Researchers Katherine Michelmore and Susan Dynarski look deeper into the problem and examine the differences among children based on how long they live in poverty. Using eligibility for subsidized school meals as a proxy for poverty, they find a negative, linear relationship between grades spent in economic disadvantage and eighth-grade test scores. Half of eighth graders in Michigan are eligible for a subsidized meal, but just 14 percent have been eligible for subsidized meals in every grade since kindergarten. These children score 0.94 standard deviations below those who are never eligible for meal subsidies and 0.23 below those who are occasionally eligible.
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