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Should Schools Promote the Success Sequence? Why or Why Not?

October 30, 2018 |Originally published on The Institute at John Hopkins School of Education

Panelists included: Dr. Richard ReevesMr. Ian RoweDr. Karsonya (Kaye) Wise Whitehead.  Executive Director David Steiner moderated the event.

To what extent, and in what way, should school leaders, civil rights advocates, and policymakers address family culture? Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution identified the “Success Sequence” as a way out of intergenerational poverty. They found that among U.S. adults who graduated from high school, maintained a full-time job (or had a partner who did), and delayed having children until after they were 21 years old and married, only 2% lived below the poverty line and roughly 71% ended up in the middle class or above.

Even if this research is sound, is the school the appropriate domain for promulgating this message? Alternatively, is the message itself an affront that patronizes low-income families and blames those who are already the victims of institutionalized racism?  On October 30th, the Institute hosted an event on this challenging topic.