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Scholars and activists have also critiqued the original word-gap study’s methodology and the way its findings have been interpreted by policymakers. Critics say that policies that grew out of simplistic interpretations of this study were racist, classist, and simply ineffective. One 2017study published in the Harvard Education Review even found that the word-gap research had the unintended consequence of perpetuating negative stereotypes about the children of Latino immigrants, with teachers in classrooms serving such students resorting to less-sophisticated instruction.
Did you know that kids growing up in poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age 3? Since 1992, this finding has, with unusual power, shaped the way educators, parents and policymakers think about educating poor children. But did you know that the number comes from just one study, begun almost 40 years ago, with just 42 families? That some people argue it contained a built-in racial bias?