COVID-19 could erase parenting gains of the last 30 years

Brookings research has attributed income-based inequalities in young children’s academic achievement and educational attainment in part to differences in the home environment; that is, to differences in what parents do and the goals that drive their behavior. However, in our studies using data on parenting behavior and parental goals over the past 30 years, we found that income-based differences in parenting have been steadily decreasing. For instance, since the mid-1980s, low income parents have greatly increased the time they spend in enrichment with young children, such as reading to them, telling them stories, and taking them to the library. And, when we look at parents’ goals for children, we see a complete convergence in trends over time, such that high and low income parents today are equally likely to value children’s ‘thinking for themselves’ and ‘working hard’ over ‘being obedient,’ a trait low-income parents consistently rated as more important than higher income parents throughout the 20th Century. #education

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