Open lecture with Professor Rebekah Levine Coley: Community and Family Processes Which Drive Economic Disparities in Children's School Readiness Skills
The research group LiNCon at Department of Special Needs Education is hosting an open lecture with Professor Rebekah Levine Coley, Department Chair of Counseling, Developmental and Educational Psychology at Boston College. The lecture will focus on the forces that give rise to early academic and behavioral skills gap in young children.
Professor Rebekah Levine Coley, Boston College (Foto: Boston College)
Extensive evidence finds that children from poor families enter school far behind their advantaged counterparts in core academic and behavioral school readiness skills. These gaps serve as essential markers for continued disparities in educational achievement and attainment, and thus are primary targets for early intervention efforts. As such, it is crucial to delineate the forces that give rise to early academic and behavioral skills gaps in order to better inform efforts which seek to disrupt the evolution of disparities.This study uses nationally-representative panel data following U.S. children from infancy through school entry matched with a broad range of contextual administrative data to assess how investment and stress processes at both the community and family levels serve as key mediational paths linking family socioeconomic disparities to young children’s school readiness skills.
Structural equation models identify links between family socioeconomic resources and children’s exposure to both community investments (educational and cultural resources; stable housing) and stressors (concentrated disadvantage; crime; pollution).These community processes are linked with investment (cognitive stimulation; emotional support) and stress (harsh discipline) processes within families, in turn explaining variability in children’s academic and behavioral skills as they enter primary school. Results help to specify theoretical models of the intergenerational transmission of inequality, and identify key targets for intervention and policy initiatives seeking to expand children’s early opportunities and decrease inequality.
About the speaker
Rebekah Levine Coley, Ph.D. is Professor and Department Chair of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology at Boston College. She received her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan and postdoctoral training in Demography and Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Dr. Coley’s expertise lies in understanding the processes through which economic and social inequality affect children and families, and how financial, social, and educational policies and programs can ameliorate the negative effects of disadvantage. Dr. Coley’s research employs quantitative, qualitative, and evaluation methodologies to inform social and educational practice and policy at the local, state, and federal level. Professor Coley’s research has been published in dozens of leading journals and edited volumes, and has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Australian Research Council, and numerous private foundations. She is the founding Editor of the new Child Evidence Briefs series published by the Society for Research in Child Development which seeks to translate developmental science to federal and state policy makers, and holds leadership positions in the Society for Research in Child Development, the Society for Research on Adolescence, the Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium, and the University-based Child and Family Policy Consortium. Her research excellence has been recognized through receipt of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award and a Social Policy Award from the Society for Research in Adolescence.