Socioeconomic status and what it means

Carrie is a fifth grader at Gorrie Elementary school—a school near an affluent neighborhood in a suburb of a major city. Carrie, who lives with her divorced mother—a high school dropout with a steady job as a minimum wage housekeeper—seems to have limited background experiences. In a discussion of the “Old West,” for example, she asked what a saddle horn was, when Mrs. Williams talked about the saddles cowboys used. Also, she had never heard of a wild turkey, thinking only of the turkeys people eat on Thanksgiving. However, Carrie “picks up” new ideas in class more quickly than most of her classmates, and she periodically asks questions atypical of fifth graders, such as, “Wouldn’t our country be better off if some of the money the Congress spends fighting with each other went to educating poor people instead?” How does Carrie’s socioeconomic status compare to that of her typical peers? Explain.

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