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The Middle Class, Too, Is Keeping Poor Kids Back, U.K. Study Finds

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Natasha Hakimi Zapata
Assistant Editor and Poetry Editor
Natasha Hakimi Zapata is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American Literature at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. She also holds a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Boston University and both a…
Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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A report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission in the United Kingdom found that wealthier parents hoard the best opportunities for their own children, ensuring that smarter kids who are financially disadvantaged stay put in the socioeconomic hierarchy.

From The Independent:

Wealthy parents create a “glass-floor” to ensure that their less academically gifted children “hoard the best opportunities” over smarter but disadvantaged peers, a report has found.

The report, from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, found that children from wealthier families but with less academic ability are 35% more likely to become high earners than more talented children from poor families.

The study, entitled Downward mobility, opportunity hoarding and the ‘glass floor’, analysed the lives of 17,000 people born in the same week in the UK in 1970.

It found that: “High attaining children from less advantaged family backgrounds are less able to, or at least less successful, at converting this early high potential into later labour market success.” … The report also found that wealthier parents were using their resources and influence to give their children an unfair advantage. These included, finding them unpaid internships, using their social networks to form advantageous connections and ensuring they are able to access better education.

Read more.

Though perhaps many of these actions can seem harmless to parents who are trying to secure a positive future for their children, as the report points out, “a society in which the success or failure of children with equal ability rests on the social and economic status of their parents is not a fair one. … Not only is it unfair but it is a waste of the talents of those with potential from less advantaged backgrounds; damaging for the individuals, the economy and society.”

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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