Why are people poor? Why do children of the poor not thrive?
The latest explanation for why children coming from disadvantaged households do not rise in this land of equal opportunity, why they do not do well in school, is that they are exposed to “thirty million fewer words” by the time they enter school.
If only it were so simple.
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Over Thanksgiving weekend, my college-student daughter started singing. She knew, and claimed that her friends knew, hundreds of songs. My father, a pediatrician, asked what he thought was a rhetorical question, “Why do kids know the words to every song but they can’t memorize something for a test that will get them a higher grade?”
This is, actually, a real question.
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