Low-income children do worse in school than their higher-income peers. This should come as no surprise; if a family is struggling to put food on the table, stressed about its finances and unable to address health issues such as asthma, a child’s academic performance will suffer. Traditional approaches to education reform are insufficient. A NY Times article noted that “…the rich-poor gap in [standardized] test scores is 40 percent larger now than it was 30 years ago… Family income is now a better predictor of children’s success in school than race.” The article concluded, “…improving the quality of our parenting and of our children’s earliest environments [is critical]. Let’s invest in parents so they can better invest in their children.”
The FC + Schools Program makes that investment possible. Brown University, the Harvard Kennedy School, the Providence Public School District (PPSD) and Good Fund have partnered to run a Randomized Control Trial (RCT). The RCT will test our hypothesis that a family in which finances and health outcomes are improved is one in which the children will do better in school. 750 families will be tracked for 24 months; study results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. If the RCT bears out our hypotheses we will secure fee-for-service contracts with school districts nationwide.
Our FC+ Schools program targets the root causes of intergenerational poverty while improving student performance. Currently in the first round of a controlled study, we hope to offer further proof of the connection between household income and the academic performance of children. We offer the FC+ Schools program as a solution to this problem. Families of qualifying students receive FREE Financial Coaching PLUS, and learn how to manage their finances through modules covering Goal-Setting, Budgeting, Debt, Banking, Credit, Saving, and Health.