Opportunity Gap: What You Need to Know

The opportunity gap exemplifies the manner in which factors like socioeconomic status, race, family conditions, and other important variables work hand-in-hand to create anti-intellectual impressions and attitudes in specific groups of students. In turn, this results in very low academic and soft skills levels, further reinforcing a sad cycle of generational lack, which led to the opportunity gap in the first place. Hence, the perpetuation of this unfaltering generational cycle continues.

In the K-12 setting, the opportunity gap is most frequently defined in a person’s life and for children from lower-income families. By the time a kid begins school, they can already be two to three years behind their wealthier peers in terms of school readiness and learning. If not addressed, the gap can broaden over time and impact future opportunities to approach certain career paths or further education. In a community, college is where the impacts of an opportunity gap might become most obvious. Often, a college degree serves as an equalizer, irrespective of an individual’s background. However, the opportunity to attend college becomes unattainable for many. Family obligations, lower rates of high school graduation, and the huge financial burden of college tuition are only some of the crippling aspects for numerous students. The opportunity gap adversely impacts many people long before they get the opportunity to enter their preferred career. This generates a broader gap between what can be accomplished, even for individuals working and living in the same place. This results in policies, companies, and entire industries failing to have the diverse contributions that foster an equitable community and workplace. This can develop a two-tier workforce, where employees are evaluated based on circumstances that are completely outside of their control.

There’re lots of reasons to strive to close the opportunity gap. When children get better academic opportunities, they get the chance to accomplish their career aspirations and options to create their most satisfying lifestyle. This creates an improved quality of life, enhanced earning potential, and developments within their communities. Closing the opportunity gap will help lower certain beliefs and stigmas that have adversely impacted some communities. The opportunity gap also runs parallel to some other social inequities and can even act as their source. If addressed properly, closing the opportunity gap will certainly help bridge the other gaps. Individuals can volunteer their time and search for mentorship opportunities to help peers at work or students in their community.

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