Every child deserves an equal opportunity to succeed in school and in life. However, research shows that children born to wealthy families tend to become wealthy adults, while those born to poor families tend to remain poor.
One community offering a stark illustration of this fact is North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad region, where children of families at the bottom of the economic ladder stand less than a 5 percent chance of rising to the top as adults — one of the worst rates of upward mobility in America.
About 6,000 children are born in Guilford County each year, and about half start life in poverty. Only 38 percent of the class of 2010 completed a college degree within six years of high school graduation.
These low rates of educational attainment in adulthood are rooted in early childhood. Guilford County students achieve low rates of kindergarten readiness (45 percent) and 3rd grade reading proficiency (47 percent), which have been shown to predict later achievement and career outcomes. Racial achievement gaps in early literacy stretch as wide as 30 percentage points. Decades of longitudinal research suggest that these low, unequal rates can be attributed to disjointed, underdeveloped early care and education systems.