The secret weapon to eliminating povertySave
By Joe Hildebrand
Why are some people rich and others poor? Why do some people thrive and others barely survive?
It's the question that has sparked both revolutions and wars. That has occupied Wall Street and wise minds alike.
We're often told that there is no easy solution. But the far more scandalous truth is that there is - it's just that you've probably never heard of it, reports Daily Mail.
Well now that's about to change.
Our story goes back to the 1960s, those heady days of high hopes, high ideals and even higher hippies.
Two education researchers called Dr Betty Hart and Dr Todd Risley were involved in the campaign launched by US President Lyndon B. Johnson known as the War on Poverty.
They designed a special program for a preschool in an impoverished part of Kansas City to build children's language skills and vocabulary.
At the same time they tried the same program on a group of university professors' children.
All the kids embraced the new activities and would learn the new words being directly taught to them, but when they weren't being actively given new words to learn the poorer kids' vocabularies didn't grow.
The language of the professors' kids, on the other hand, continued to expand faster and faster. The gap got wider and wider.
Why was this so? The researchers refused to believe that intelligence was hereditary and so they worked on the only other possibility - even when they got to the kids at preschool they were too late. They had to go right back to the beginning. They had to go into the home.
Three decades later Hart and Risley managed to assemble an incredibly in-depth study in which they tracked children in the homes of 42 families from three different socio-economic groups: professional, working-class and welfare.
The plan was both simple and staggering: They would tape record everything that happened in the home from before the babies even spoke until they were between three and four years old.
For an hour a month every month for two and a half years everything each child heard was recorded.
As they painstakingly transcribed and tallied every word they came to an astonishing realisation.
At the age of three the children of the professional families had heard 45 million words, those in working-class families just 26 million and those in the welfare families only 13 million.
In other words, there was a gap of more than 30 million words between the richest and poorest children and it was this gap that was key to how they were able to learn, increase language skills on their own and even build neural pathways. The more words they heard, the more their brains literally grew.
The children in professional families also heard vastly more positive words compared to negative words than those in the working-class group, who in turn heard many times more than in the welfare group. For negative words the results were the reverse.