Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

Susan B. Neuman Shares Her Latest Education Research at Manhattanville College


Susan B. Neuman, Ed.D,  former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, spoke at Manhattanville College about her most recent book:“Giving Our Children A Fighting Chance: Poverty, Literacy, and the Development of Information Capital” on October 1.

The lecture, provided students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to hear about Dr. Neuman’s experiences and findings on the “knowledge gap” that exists between children educated in impoverished neighborhoods and those educated in privileged neighborhoods.

“Too many children are not thriving in our schools and this issue is not tied to children’s native ability but by their environment,” Dr. Neuman stated. Ten years of research and hands-on experience working in the Philadelphia Badlands, drove her to the conclusion that: “Poor children have the same exact capacities as privileged children.”

The New York University professor added that the main difference in the educations received by children living in opposing socioeconomic conditions was the access to print and digital resources. For instance, children living in neighborhoods such as Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia owned personal computers, whereas in the Badlands only 2 out of 100 children had access to them.

Dr. Neuman believes that the solution for this lies on changing their environment, getting their parents more involved, increasing their access to digital and educational resources, and enforcing and strengthening fundamental literacy skills through the use of the Common Core State Standards.  

“It was an inspiring and powerful message from one of the greatest leaders in our field. We have to remember that every child deserves a fighting chance,” stated Katherine Cunningham, Ed.D, a professor in Manhattanville’s Education Department.  Susan Neuman

Dr. Neuman’s lecture was part of the Manhattanville College Distinguished Lecturer Series, and co-sponsored by the Manhattanville College School of Education, Putnum/Northern Westchester BOCES and the Teacher Center for Central Westchester.

“This lecture series really gets to the heart of Manhattanville’s mission: transforming society,” stated Provost Gail Simmons.