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Thread: Nature, not Nurture: Good Genes Beat Good Homes As Guide to Pupils’ School Success

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    Nature, not Nurture: Good Genes Beat Good Homes As Guide to Pupils’ School Success

    NATURE not nurture is the main determinant of how well children perform at school and university, according to a study to be published this week. The researchers came to their conclusion by comparing how well adopted children did at school when they were brought up alongside parents’ biological children. The relative effects of genes and the home environment were then separated out. Previous studies have suggested that the home environment, and in particular the level of family income, is the most important determinant of educational attainment.

    But the new study, to be published in the Royal Economic Society’s Economic Journal, will argue that while income and home environment account for about 25% of educational attainment, inherited intelligence is responsible for the rest. Doubling a family’s income would have only a small effect on educational performance, say the researchers, who examined more than 15,000 children, 574 of them adopted. It found that on average the adopted children performed less well. This of course need not be a bar to success in life. Many adopted children, including Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea owner; Kate Adie, the BBC journalist; and Eric Clapton, the guitarist, enjoy spectacular careers.

    The research may lead some to question policies such as the child tax credit and education maintenance allowances, which are aimed at improving the performance of poor children at school and university. Such policies, it suggests, will work only if targeted at able children. The study, Does Family Income Matter for Schooling Outcomes? by Wim Vijverberg, professor of economics at Texas University, and Erik Plug, an economics researcher at Amsterdam University, concludes that previous studies suggesting a strong link between family income and educational performance were flawed.

    “Children of higher income parents probably do well in school because they inherit superior genes, not because they can afford to buy their children a better education,” said Vijverberg. Adoption experts said the research failed to take into consideration other factors. Jonathan Pearce, director of Adoption UK, said: “A lot of adopted children have faced previous trauma or abuse.”

    Source:
    Times Online

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    On the other hand I see the problems of such conclusions, especially if they are not fully proven. I dont doubt that inherited psychic traits are more important finally if people get a chance to use them than the exact social background, but we should never underestimate social influences and even more important, some conclusions are somewhat erroneous.
    Furthermore people know that anyway, since in many areas much more money is invested in morons and mentally retarded (really, proven ones) than in normal healthy children in general. With the same effort some of this morons learn to read one page without understanding its content other healthy children could be trained to outperform people with the same genetical background.

    It found that on average the adopted children performed less well.
    I know people with high income who adopted and some with low, and I might add that the motivation of the parents and finally children (second being often the result of the first) can be more important than pure material background. So if poor parents really care for the success of their child in school, they can reach more than "rich parents" which dont really care.

    The research may lead some to question policies such as the child tax credit and education maintenance allowances, which are aimed at improving the performance of poor children at school and university.
    That would be an asocial policy if not:

    Such policies, it suggests, will work only if targeted at able children.
    Whats generally preferable! The main problem is again how to determien who's able and who's not. In every case to say, "poor can't do it anyway, rich parents get gifted children" goes not far enough and is in fact a justification of simple cutbacks policy, typical Neoliberal agenda. Its not racially or even genetically, but mainly economically motivated. I would add that it would be fair then, that children of rich parents can't study at elite universities if they are not gifted as well, but thats something you will never see in a Liberalcapitalistic society...

    Obviously certain requirements are always necessary to get social help for the education and even in the cases of less gifted individuals a certain education is preferable. If the aim is to get more people from a group which is simply less able into university, than its idiotic and goes against everything I believe in, but such simple economically based conclusions might help Liberalcapitalistic ideologies but not necessarily the folk or racial group.
    Still I agree on their general statement, that genes are always of great importance if its about successful educational and scientific careers and in general higher incomes are related to higher intellectual, and genetic levels. But still I reject a glocal statement - this sentence is the main point I can fully agree with:
    Such policies, it suggests, will work only if targeted at able children.
    Ok, but thats something everybody knew even before I guess
    Magna Europa est patria nostra
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