“Genes” a Reason Poor Kids Struggle at School, Says Government Report

Natasha Bita, News AU, July 10, 2013

Rich kids do better at school and poor children struggle due to genetic “inherited abilities”, the Federal Government’s top policy research agency says.

In a controversial new report released today, the Productivity Commission cites “parents’ cognitive abilities and inherited genes” as one of five main reasons why kids from low-income families lag behind those from wealthy homes.

Genes are listed before access to books and computers, parental attention and aspirations, and even schools.

In a section entitled “inherited abilities”, the 246-page staff working paper states that “one explanation for differences in educational attainment between children of low and high socio-economic backgrounds is parents’ cognitive abilities and inherited genes”.

Citing a British study, it suggests that “inherited cognitive abilities” explain one-fifth of the gap in test scores between children from the richest and poorest families, once environmental factors are taken into account.

“Genetic explanations for children’s success at school is a controversial and complex area because of interactions between genes and the environment,” the report says.

“Evidence is now emerging that the same genetic endowment can result in different outcomes depending on the environment”.

The Productivity Commission notes that Australia has one of the highest rates of joblessness among families in the developed world, with nearly one in five families unemployed.

It cites two research studies showing that unemployed parents have “poorer parenting skills”, with their children 13.4 per cent more likely to lie or fight, and 7.6 per cent more likely to be bullied.

The Productivity Commission also links learning success to “character traits such as perseverance, motivation and self-esteem”.

The report on “Deep and Persistent Disadvantage in Australia”, made public today, says poor children are “behind the eight-ball” when they start school and the gap widens as they grow older.

Poorer children may have less access to books, computers or study space than kids from well-off families, it says.

And parents’ aspirations and attitudes to education “vary strongly with socio-economic position”.

Better educated parents tend to spend more time reading to children and helping with homework, the report says.

“Evidence on why some disadvantaged children ‘buck the trend’ to succeed in later life suggests that the level of parental interest and parents’ behaviour are important,” it says.

“Attending school with higher-achieving or more advantaged peers seemed to be associated with a higher probability of bucking the trend.

“While inherited genes influence their development, the quality of family environments, and the availability of appropriate experiences at various stages of development, are crucial for building capabilities.”

The Productivity Commission cites the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) international PISA tests of 15-year-olds in reading, maths and science.

“Results from the PISA show that economically advantaged parents are more likely to have read to their children regularly, sung songs, talked about what they had done during the day, and read signs aloud to their children,” the report says.

Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Good theory, but what about all of the rich people who were raised dirt poor, or the spoiled trust fund brat who wasted his parent’s millions?

    It’s part genetic, but environment and surroundings play a part as well.

  • Well, it’s not Rushton, but it’s a start.

    We’ll know Australia is all the way back to sanity when they restore WAP.

    • Oil Can Harry

      Hopefully the Aussies who compiled this study don’t end up being fired like Jason Richwine.

      • WR_the_realist

        My guess is they will be fired. Australia is as PC as the United States, Canada, or Great Britain. It’s enough to make me suspect that speaking English causes a mental deficiency.

        • Sick of it

          You’re looking at it from the wrong perspective. The Fabian Society is a good place to start your research.

  • Spartacus

    “Attending school with higher-achieving or more advantaged peers seemed
    to be associated with a higher probability of bucking the trend.”


    And there it is – The euphemism for “We want to bring more non-white kids into white schools”. And then there’ll be white flight, with the poor white kids remaining to be terrorized every day by the dark-skin children…

    • JohnEngelman

      When black students have affluent, well educated parents and attend predominantly upper middle class schools they still tend to do worse than most of the white students. That is because of a well understood process called “reversion to the average.”


      IQ Scores of Blacks and Whites Regress toward the Averages of Their Race. Parents pass on only some exceptional genes to offspring so parents with very high IQs tend to have more average children. Black and White children with parents of IQ 115 move to different averages–Blacks toward 85 and Whites to 100.

      • Jefferson

        If you gathered up every Black on the planet with an I.Q of 115 or higher, it still would not be enough to fill up every seat in Madison Square Garden.

      • Ariadne and I disagree.

    • Sick of it

      Now now, they’d be culturally enriched by the kids who stare at them with hatred in their eyes, beat them, rob them, and God knows what else these days.

  • concernedcollegekid

    “Controversial” has become a euphemism for “not controversial among people who know what they’re talking about, but we’ve based policy on it not being true for a really long time and now we don’t want to admit how bad we messed up.”

    • Alexandra1973

      I thought it meant “invading everyone’s comfort zone.”

  • So CAL Snowman

    ““Attending school with higher-achieving or more advantaged peers seemed
    to be associated with a higher probability of bucking the trend.”

    Let me get this straight, since I am good at math, having low income Dentrovious attend the same school as me is somehow going to make him better at math? What?!

    • Oil Can Harry

      It will absolutely improve Dentrovious’ test scores because now during tests he’ll copy off of you and the other whites rather than copying off of Qua’isha, D’Brickashawntayvius and Rachel Jeantel.

      • So CAL Snowman

        Touche, but I rather doubt Dentrovious would be in my honors calculus class.

      • Hint: If you’re white, and you know some black is copying off you, sandbag the Bellcurvius by tanking whatever you’re doing that he or she is copying. But clear it with your teacher first so you can go back later and do the test or whatever as you really would have.

        I did it in seventh grade. I came up with the scheme after remembering everyone telling me never to cheat because the kid you’re cheating from might be dumber than you. I was going to be dumber than this cheating black for one test. After that, he never even had the gumption to look me in the eye again; he knew exactly what I did after we got the test back and my score was far higher than his.

        • Sick of it

          That’s a great idea. I just covered my papers.

    • bigone4u

      As a former educator, let me give you an earful. In schools today, even in colleges and universities, students are placed randomly in groups and they spend their time both in and out of class working in their group. Grades assigned are group grades. This is Cultural Marxism at its most evil because by random assignment, blacks and other minorities are placed in groups with whites. Theoretically, if the black does not pull his weight with the group, his grade will be lowered by the group voting on his performance, but in practice no white kid is going to downvote a black. That would be rayciss, as we like to say around here. So, the black kid doesn’t have to cheat. He gets the same grade as the other members of the group, which will usually be an A because you have 3 or 4 kids working on the problem or the project. God help the teacher if a group turns out to be all black through the use of the random number generator. All all black group would be working without being able to free ride on the mind of a smart white kid. Educational experts cite group work as the enriching experience of diversity. It’s a fraud, a sham, a lie. I used to promote group work in my job, but that was before I realized that the intention was to give blacks a free ride to the grade of A. Shame on me for being so stupid.

      • MBlanc46

        What about the group approach with a homogenous white student body?

        • bigone4u

          I haven’t deeply thought about your question, but my initial reaction is that learning is a solitary activity requiring concentration and the nose to the grindstone attitude. Group work, I’m speculating here, encourages a free rider mentality. When I chaired faculty committees, I did 80 to 90 percent of the work. Those committees were like student groups, so my guess is that in student groups a leader does most of the work and the others don’t benefit very much.

          • MBlanc46

            Free-riding is always a possibility in social life. I certainly wouldn’t suggest that all education be group-based (as you say, ultimately it’s about individual brains being changed), but as so much of what happens in the real world is group activity, I should think that the educational system should prepare students for that. Even in academia, in both the hard and soft sciences, especially, books and papers are joint efforts. Some high-energy physics papers have thousands of authors. To give a different twist to your point about leadership, group situations provide opportunities for people to step up and take leadership roles. That should spur competition.

      • 1Forced_Registration

        Group projects working with diversity reminded that again and again that I NEVER wanted to work with blacks ever again.

      • SFLBIB

        As a first-level supervisor [FLS], I had an interesting experience being a member of a working group of me and three other FLSs, although it was not consciously formed as a group by our manager.

        There was a minority employee engineer in another department who complained to his union that he was not being given meaningful work. So his FLS, a union rep, and he agreed that a transfer might be in order. My manager was assigned to decide where to place him, so we all met to discuss. Here is where the “group” concept came in.

        The FLSs were each given the task to come up with a unique proposed assignment for the employee, and he would chose which one he liked. He would then be transferred to that FLS. A week later, we all met again, but I was the only one with a proposal. I got screwed by my fellow FLSs, and I was stuck with a new employee, one who held out the specter of being a problem. To make the long story a little shorter, he picked up the ball and ran with it. He turned out to be an OK worker.

        And my fellow FLSs didn’t suffer for failure to produce a proposal.

  • kjh64

    I think it is partly genetic and partly environmental. On average, low income people have lower IQ’s than high income people which is one reason. There are many, many exceptions however. Some rich people were raised in poverty and some poor people are very intelligent but have no ambition, such as the true story of the janitor with a 140 IQ. However, environment plays a role too. Less intelligent people tend to not care as much about their kid’s education or be as involved and they tend to have greater social pathologies such as having multiple kids with different fathers and the fathers don’t bother with the kids etc.

    • dd121

      IQ correlates quite nicely with IQ both on an individual and national level.

  • bigone4u

    The article states that one in five families in AU is unemployed. So, why is the country allowing massive numbers of immigrants from third world countries who would likely be low in “inherited abilities?” It sounds like a prescription for disaster for the schools and for the economy and culture. Of course, as we have been told by the power elites, we are not complete human beings until we have experienced diversity up close and personal. Ha.

    • Sick of it

      A lot of folks are getting diversitied out at this point, including your average conservative and even some liberals.

  • Sick of it

    Parents who read to their kids are not necessarily wealthy, but are good parents. They obviously won’t mention that white parents are much more likely to read to their children and help them with their homework.

  • The__Bobster

    It cites two research studies showing that unemployed parents have “poorer parenting skills”, with their children 13.4 per cent more likely to lie or fight, and 7.6 per cent more likely to be bullied.

    Which might explain why they’re unemployed. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  • The__Bobster

    The Productivity Commission notes that Australia has one of the highest rates of joblessness among families in the developed world, with nearly one in five families unemployed.

    So why the hell are they taking in more people, especially low-IQ turd worlders?

  • IstvanIN

    As much as I believe we are born with our basic personalities, talents and raw intelligence, and that the blank slate theory is bogus, a good argument can be made that good parents will help any child reach his fullest potential. Blacks rarely have good parents.

    • Creepy as a cracker!

      And the potential of blacks is not that great.

  • NM156

    The report has been taken down already. Man, they are vigilant, like hawks swooping down on mice a mile away.

  • IKantunderstand

    WARNING: NON PARAGRAPHED RANT: Holy cow! HT Hindus. Allow me to summarize: Smart parents have smart kids. Period. White people tend to be smart people. Black people tend to be stupid. Ergo, White people have smarter kids, Blacks have, well, stupid kids. Gosh, you would think the first clue about all this would have been settled by looking at Europe and North America vis a vis the rest of the world. Seriously, is there any comparison? The wonders of architecture, sculpture, painting, music, literature, scientific advancement,and technology, vs. well, let’s see, the Chinese did some stuff, the Arabs did some stuff, the Africans did, well, nothing. Yikes, it looks like White people win! I mean won. If we don’t fight back, we are down for the count. Do you people realize, for the first time in modern history, that White people are being defeated with no shot fired, no battle being lost, we are losing this war by capitulation. I know we lost a lot of our warrior DNA in all the battles we have fought over the centuries. Yet, we are still the smartest and the bravest and unsurpassed by any other peoples. “White Power”.

    • bigone4u

      I was reading recently about the invasions of Europe by Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan. It’s a miracle there are any white persons anywhere in the world. You can see the Asian DNA in many Eastern European whites, the result of mass rapes of white women by Asian warriers.

    • hastings88

      Our elites were defeated and pushed from all the levers of power by alien elites. The alien elites did not need to fire a shot. They decapitated us.

  • Lop_Eared_Galoot

    So many things are being missed here.

    First, it’s been awhile but my memory of _IQ And The Wealth Of Nations_ includes something like an SES correlate with ‘job satisfaction’ as IQ at a roughly .72 level, almost 20 years ago when the overall belief in the genetic basis of intelligence was at a mere 50% heritability factor instead of the 80% it is known to be today.

    In a non quota driven, productive, economy, smart people get the money to give their kids the best of everything and if those kids are grateful or innocent enough not to rebel against the path life has so kindly given them, their parent’s IQ will largely dictate their own developmental success.

    Something we should encourage because it means that the best of us are moving forwards.

    In this, the important factor is that the child’s IQ itself is a skew function of the parental mean and the racial mean. So the 2-3% of blacks who have 115-120IQs sufficient for college will still most likely have children in the range of high-90s because their racial group has a mean of 87.

    Where culture is the expression of a people’s genetic wealth and cities are the expression of culture, is it any wonder that we should NOT want to have a population genetics contribution when their base condition leads to urban areas like Dharavi, Kibera or even Mexico City in which the third largest metropolitan population on the planet exists as a gleaming hub of elitism, surrounded by slums as Colonia? That’s the same thing as saying 10% of your population has it together and 90% are losers in the game of life!

    Whites are so -very- fortunate that we have a relatively even distribution of IQ around 100. With the higher skews (they cluster rather than forming even distributions on the Bell Curve) running well up into the 135-145 range, to give us a total of 16% of our population who can benefit from collegiate educations to help serve and manage our society as a whole.

    We do not want to fund mediocrity, headed the other way.

    Why can’t people see this? when Philly, Chicago, NOL, Mayfield, Compton, Detroit and so many of the other minority dominant population centers serve as arrow-going-down indicators of what a society which _doesn’t function_ as a white culture looks like?

    A society so poor in a literal sense that specialist skillsets galore can no longer find places for all the high IQ potentials.

    Blacks and Hispanics cannot or choose not to participate in our level of society. But by breeding like rabbits and being granted special dispensation for doing so they GENERATE the population-dominant nature of our children’s cultural future!

    In giving accomodation of other races, at the cost of our own white base genome, we destroy the very genetic basis by which our own brilliance can fuction at a class as well as genetic level above all others.

    Poor whites will breed dumb across the racial boundaries they share with other poor black/hispanics.

    Rich whites will no longer be able to function as high level engineers, doctors, teachers or scientists because there will be no money coming out of the poorer classes to support their specialization.

    And we will die as a people, apart, who failed to live as a gene group, looking out for our common benefit, together.

    Can nobody see this?!

    Wealth is inheritable because it buys beauty and access to more of the same as a process which is additive and fixative to the genetics. A smart woman going to college was once a means of providing her access to the kinds of men who would make her comfortable and her children’s, children _rich_.

    In all those things which we once were not ashamed to call elite status.

    It is in looking down on IQ disadvantaged races that we find ourselves without any pride in looking _up_ as our own progress towards something better.

  • Yale2001

    I was poor and did fine. We had nothing but books, a blackboard, and a teacher. We don’t need more money thrown at the issue, and why are we acting like genetics is a new concept. Call me a terrible person but it was actually part of my decision making in selecting a mate. Genetics are real. Sorry if this offends minorities.

    • Alexandra1973

      My parents were low-income but I was in a gifted program in junior high.

      And there were no black kids in that class, either.

      • SFLBIB

        Hey, wait a minute. The parents in this article


        claim that the SCHOOLS create differences in students.

        VISTA [CA] – Parents of Latino students at Vista’s
        most ethnically diverse school are incensed over a campaign by other parents to preserve an honors program there.

        The policy debate is taking place at Lincoln Middle School, where the principal is proposing mixing some of the school’s most gifted students with others of mixed academic abilities in an effort to pump up test

        The proposal to dismantle the Gifted and Talented Education, or GATE, program at the school is supported by the Latino parents, opposed by parents of the GATE students.

        “All students should be treated equally,” Latino
        parents said in a letter to the board and district administrators. “We believe that the school should not create differences between students who know
        more and students who know less.”

  • Creepy as a cracker!

    Let us not forget that the apple does not fall far from the tree!

  • MawellAxel

    So the score of the white children in this study is as high or higher than asians in other studies.

  • MawellAxel

    Well none of this matters because in a democracy, the non achievers just vote to rob from and kill the achievers. That is what it is coming to, all in the name of democracy and freedom… oh yeah, and the biggest farce of them all -eeeeee-kwahhhhhh-lihhhhh-teeeeeeee.

  • Iron Helm

    Would this report have been published in the US or UK with their large black populations. Perhaps with Asians being a relatively large proportion of Australia’s diversity it makes sense to publish this for the multicultis.


    What’s the message between the lines, here? That we need the government to tax more of our income to make things equal?