Atlanta’s (non) upward mobility: ‘Better quality public education is consequential’
Editor’s note: Lots of media types have chimed in around the lately released Harvard/Berkeley study that documents the outcome of geography on social mobility. And it is been broadly noted-in your area and across the country-that metro Atlanta ranks low with regards to the chances of a kid born in to the cheapest rungs of poverty becoming an adult to become a grownup within the wealthiest earnings bracket. To obtain perspective, we’re approaching experts outdoors the press sphere to discuss the research generally and also the metro Atlanta findings particularly. Here, Michael Leo Owens, chair from the governing board from the Urban Matters Association and affiliate professor of Political Science at Emory College, offers his take.
My very own scientific studies are inside a different vein in the Harvard/Berkeley study. However, my read of the study/findings considering other studies/findings on economic mobility-that we educate in courses at Emory and depend on for many of my research-is the fact that they’re around the mark.
One factor that sticks out is they did decide to visit a possible correlation between earnings segregation and earnings mobility. The hypothesis, and also the causal argument you might make by doing this, is a straightforward but longstanding one for social welfare scholars: Closeness matters. That’s to state, the closer poor people are spatially towards the non-poor, the higher the likelihood they have use of better possibilities that can result in movement in the socioeconomic ladder. It’s one good reason, for example, many policymakers and students support the thought of de-concentrating poor people, especially by razing public housing and fostering a mixture of incumbent upgrading and gentrification.
The outcome of segregation by earnings is another reason many scholars, especially urban historians and sociologists, indicate the exodus from the middle-class from metropolitan areas-the “secession from the successful” as Robert Reich once place it-like a decision with dreadful implications for that poor.
That connects, obviously, towards the Harvard/Berkeley team’s other finding-the correlation between quality of public schools and earnings mobility. Higher quality public education is consequential towards the prospects of low-earnings people’s kids getting decent educations along with other possibilities connected with education. Including apparently simple such things as field journeys, quality lunches, and recess, in addition to more complicated factors such as top quality teachers and curricula. A minimum of, that’s the idea of change behind movements for vouchers, charter schools, and scholarships to personal boarding schools within the Northeast and elsewhere.