To help students, start by informing parents

Simply giving parents more information about their kids’ academic performance could be low-hanging fruit for reducing education inequality

Credit: Shutterstock

Mar 16, 2018

Sections Economics Video

When we talk about education inequality, we often think of disparities in things such as school quality or credit availability. But Chicago Booth’s Rebecca Dizon-Ross has identified a potential source of inequality that could be relatively easy to address: parents’ inaccurate beliefs about their children’s abilities. More-educated parents have a more accurate impression of how their kids are performing in school, which affects how they invest in those kids’ education. But when parents are given information about their kids’ academic performance, they adjust both how and how much they invest—and this is particularly true for poorer, less-educated parents. Dizon-Ross’ research suggests that simply informing parents could be low-hanging fruit for educators and policy makers hoping to narrow the education gap.