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Parental Networks Effect on Children’s Education

A recent article (March 10, 2014) by the Berlin Social Science Center ( Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fuer Sozialforschung) suggests that a parent’s social networks affect their child’s education and potential for upward social mobility. Based on the demographics of the area, the presence of social closure correlates to a positive or negative impact such that if the area is poor (has greater than 14% poverty) and the parent has strong social ties, the child has a 5% decrease in the probability of completing high school. Similarly, in schools that have less than 15% poverty, the presence of these strong parental relationships increase probability of graduation by up to 8%.

These results are amplified by the strength of the parental ties and the presence of informal closure. In poor areas, the strength of parental ties acts as a multiplier for the decrease in the probability of graduating high school, decreasing probability of graduating by up to 2.5x. Not surprisingly, among schools with a smaller poverty percentage, this closure increases the probability of graduation by up to 2x.

The researchers believe this increase in education attainment among middle-class communities is due to reinforcement of realistic expectations about academic success and unified child-rearing logic. Contrarily, in poverty stricken areas, informal closure reinforces a contrarian culture, unrealistic expectations, and hope of natural, unaided academic growth.

Source:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/socf.12073/full

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