If I had to recommend one book for parents to read on education, I might recommend Outliers. Malcolm Gladwell studied the “greats” – those out on the edges of performance – and revealed what The Learning Consultants has promised Connecticut parents for years: greatness comes through work character. There is a lot to be said about “deliberate practice” and other techniques lead to exceptional students. But there is one area that every Connecticut parent should focus upon: summer
Gladwell discusses a Johns Hopkins study of Baltimore City public schools. The conclusion: there was no difference in ability between lower and upper income children when students started elementary school. There was little difference in how lower and upper income children progressed during the school year. The major difference in how lower and upper income children progressed was during the summer. Lower income children – often with single parents who worked – had little to no access to educational programs. Upper income children either had parents who paid for outside educational programs, such as tutoring and test prep, and/or were able to spend time themselves educating their children.
Since The Learning Consultants started in the early 2000s, we have provided different educational enrichment programs for our students. During the school year, we almost exclusively focus on school subjects. During the summer, we focus on test prep and/or areas of enrichment (math and writing tend to be popular) that will help build our students. The success of our students helps proved Gladwell’s point.