George Farkas Interview – Trailer

George Farkas Interview – Trailer


George, thanks for coming in to talk with us today about how you became an educational researcher came to UCI the research you’re doing the work you’re doing in Orange County. In my research and other people’s research on how is it that when they get to school, children from lower income less well-educated parents do less well. Once again, I like to really get into the technical details of the science so that makes you want to know how do kids learn to read and You how do they learn to do math and you learn that in kindergarten There are already things the kid needs to know They really need to know all their letters there are 26 lowercase letters and 26 uppercase letters that’s 52 letters. A kid in kindergarten needs to learn Or know if they went to preschool and have already been taught it or maybe their parents started to them using plastic letters They need to know these 52 letters and they need to know not only the name of the letter but the sound it makes that’s a fair amount of information They need to know the numbers. They need to perhaps have had some rudimentary counting So it turns out that From the perspective of a five-year-old entering kindergarten There’s a fair amount of things to know and it turns out That the kids from the better educated parents Know those things a lot more than the kids from the less well-educated parents. In fact, if you give assessments of that and the developmental psychologists have learned how to do this They can in fact give very reasonable accurate assessments of what kids know starting as young as two years old One of the key things is vocabulary if you’re going to learn to read which is supposed to happen First grade after you already know all your letters and sounds. If you’re going to learn to read You’re going to need to sound out a word basically and after you’ve sounded it out You’re supposed to know what it means because you have an oral English vocabulary that contains a lot of words but it turns out that the better educated parents speak millions more words to their children between birth and kindergarten, than do the less well-educated parents and it’s both the number of word interactions. It’s how much they talk to one another but it’s also the number of different words, so The kids from a better-educated family tend to come to kindergarten with a much more extensive vocabulary and so they already have this advantage and if you follow the tests as kids go from kindergarten to twelfth grade You’ll find that the both groups learn a lot more But you’ll find that the curves move up in parallel so in fact the inequality that we see when kids finish high school and some go to college it was there at kindergarten entry and so that to me really changes how you look at the whole situation you get very interested in what happens from birth to age five and what happens from kindergarten to let’s say fourth grade because during that time period the kids foundation to do well in the later more advanced material is late and as I had found out so many years ago about Dallas if you start behind you will very much get to eighth grade with an average reading ability at fifth grade level and Basically, there’s no recovering from that in the real world with real people While you might imagine that some intervention could do something It’s hard for eighth graders who are maybe 13 or 14 years old and have all kinds of pressures on them It’s hard for them to make that kind of a change after all those years of being behind in school So for me it said that if you really want to reduce inequality You have to take it back to when school starts and perhaps before

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