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The College of Arts Sciences

Cornell expert: study on disadvantaged boys challenges U.S. to pay attention to suffering children

October 22, 2015

Travis Gosa is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University, and is affiliated with the Cornell Center for the Study of Inequality. Gosa says that the study, “Family Disadvantage and the Gender Gap in Behavioral and Educational Outcomes” that shows boys from disadvantaged backgrounds suffer more than girls from the same backgrounds is most important for its focus on how poor social conditions negatively impact a child’s future, regardless of gender.

Gosa says:

“The analysis is clear that social conditions, not biology, are to blame for large gaps in achievement. Likewise, the analysis confirms that crappy schools and poor neighborhoods contribute to the problems. However, the paper is also clear that the data does not tell us what aspects of ‘family disadvantage’ are responsible for any of the early achievement gaps, and the researchers caution that they don’t have any proof that any of these early gaps are the cause of gender gaps later on in life ... We should be asking why, as one of the richest countries in the world, we have decided to allow so many children and families to suffer.”