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Principals in U.S. Are More Likely to Consider Their Students Poor

The phrase “soft bigotry of low expectations” is inevitably associated with George W. Bush, who used it frequently. But whatever your politics, the idea has undeniable merit: If schools don’t expect much from their students, the students are not likely to accomplish much.

A new international study, set to be released Tuesday, argues that the United States has an expectation problem. More so than any of the other 29 countries in the study, principals in American schools believe that many of their students come from socioeconomically disadvantaged homes. Based on the views of principals, a larger share of children in the United States are “socioeconomically disadvantaged” compared with those in Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico, Romania and various other countries.