After-School Activities Make Educational Inequality Even Worse

by Rachel Baker on November 14, 2013

Here is an interesting look at how middle-class parents use after-school activities to give their children advantage over others.

The group of 95 families I met almost all belong to the broadly defined “middle class,” although a few were lower-income and many were upper-middle class. Training a lens on more affluent families helps us understand how and why the professionalization of children’s competitive after-school activities has become an important way that the middle class has institutionalized its advantage over others.

Parents identified five skills they want their children to learn through participation in competitive after-school activities that help develop the “all-around (wo)man” in the 21st century. Together, I call these skills “Competitive Kid Capital;” this Competitive Kid Capital helps distinguishes middle- and upper-middle class children from their less fortunate peers as they compete in various credentialing tournaments that will determine their place in the socio-economic hierarchy as adults.

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/11/after-school-activities-make-educational-inequality-even-worse/281416/

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