Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Joan G. Henley
Compensatory education predominately refers to programs instituted by the federal government targeted at low-achieving, low-socioeconomic, or otherwise disadvantaged children for remediation education. Compensatory programs are based on two interrelated concepts: “cumulative deficit” and the “vicious cycle of poverty.” The idea is that if a child begins school behind her peers that this deficit will continue throughout her educational career, resulting in her securing a low-paying job, which will then place her children at a disadvantage, and the cycle continues. Through compensatory education, this cycle can be interrupted. The premise underlying compensatory education is that disadvantaged children need remediation in core subjects (i.e., reading, mathematics, or languages arts) because of factors (i.e., poverty) that are beyond their control—the belief being that compensatory education will compensate for these disadvantages that many children have and put them on equal footing with their peers. The federal government has legislated two major compensatory education The ...