Low Wages and Education

The United States has a much higher proportion of low wage jobs than most other developed countries according to a new OECD report (ht to Monica Garcia).

Low-paying jobs as those paying below two-thirds of a country’s median income.

Just some of the ways that this matters for education — and for the abiding belief that we can educate our way to higher wages for everyone:

  • Low income parents live in stress.
  • Low income parents have less housing stability, leaving many low-income classrooms as revolving doors over the school year.
  • Low income families often live in less safe neighborhoods, adding to stress and limiting children’s opportunities for free play with other children.
  • Low income parents can’t afford quality child care for their children.
  • Low income parents can’t afford quality preschool.
  • Low income children have less access to consistent quality health care.
  • Low income children have less opportunity to go to museums or performances that are part of the “cultural capital” of school.
  • Low income children are more likely to be bullied than other children.
  • Low income children are humiliated in separate lunch lines, when they can’t afford field trips, when they can’t try out for arts programs or sports that require fees.
  • Low income families are able to invest less in the sports, arts activities, tutoring, and other enrichment activities that more privileged parents now routinely provide for their children to build social and other skills.
  • Low income children have less access to high quality technology now often expected for home work and learning.
  • Low income families can’t afford private college counseling even when their children attend schools where guidance counselors have huge case loads.
  • Low income families can’t afford the admissions test prep courses that middle class kids take.
  • Low income families have to take on debt to send their children to college.
  • Low income adolescents can save less money for college.
  • Low income college students have to work more hours to pay for school
  • Low income college students can’t leave their jobs to take  unpaid internships that are now expected in many fields.
  • Low income college students can’t leave jobs to do even short term study abroad.
  • Low income college students can’t afford the clothes that are expected for professional interviews.
  • The growing chasm between low wages and the wages and wealth of others places obstacles in the way of moving “up”, since “up” is a moving target protected by layers of privilege that protect privilege.

And this is all just off the top of my head.

And pretty much all of this is google-able, something that commenters on this article seem to have missed.

Please add things I haven’t thought of in the comments!

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