The results show that parents invested more in adopted children than in genetically related ones, especially in educational and personal areas. At the same time, adoptees experienced more negative outcomes. They were more likely to have been arrested, to have been on public assistance and to require treatment for drug, alcohol or mental health issues. They also completed fewer years of schooling and were more likely to divorce. In adoptive families, it appears that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Parents invest more in adoptees not because they favor them, but because they are more likely than genetic children to need the help.
Razib of Gene Expression points out:
In Western countries adoptive parents are screened. Many of them are of higher socioeconomic status, and they adopt children from the general population, with a likely skew toward lower socioeconomic status biological parents. The traits which determine your social status are a combination of environment and genes, the latter mediated through various personality dispositions and attributes. In fact there is plenty of data to show that shared parental environment has a marginal long term effect. This is not to say that there aren't environmental inputs which matter, and which adoptive parents bring to the table, but their direct guiding is not the operative element.
This study is consistent with the results of other adoption studies, such as the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study which found similarly disappointing results.
Apparently, changing a low-SES child's environment to a high-SES environment is not going to magically convert the child to a high-SES child that can be plopped into a fancy suburban school and expect magic results. No, that's not going to happen.
Berliner can put "studies" like this out every year in which he pretends he has some secret anti-poverty potion that will cure the education woes of the low-SES.
If high-SES parents aren't capable of ameliorating the biological/genetic factors of their low-SES adopted children, what's the basis for our believing that any governmental sponsored poverty intervention could produce the same or similar results given that the children will still be saddled with their less-capable biological parents?
Berliner's out of school factors (OSFs) as not as powerful as he thinks or at least his cherry-picked research has led him to believe:
[O]ut-of-school factors (OSFs) play a powerful role in generating existing achievement gaps, and if these factors are not attended to with equal vigor, our national aspirations will be thwarted.
This brief details six OSFs common among the poor that significantly affect the health and learning opportunities of children, and accordingly limit what schools can accomplish on their own: (1) low birth-weight and non-genetic prenatal influences on children; (2) inadequate medical, dental, and vision care, often a result of inadequate or no medical insurance; (3) food insecurity; (4) environmental pollutants; (5) family relations and family stress; and (6) neighborhood characteristics. These OSFs are related to a host of poverty-induced physical, sociological, and psychological problems that children often bring to school, ranging from neurological damage and attention disorders to excessive absenteeism, linguistic underdevelopment, and oppositional behavior.
Berliner is overselling the effects of prenatal care, the first of his OSFs.
The remaining OSFs would seem to have been taken care of in the adoption studies, and yet the achievement gaps persisted. In fact, the parents in the adoption studies would have been more likely to ameliorate the "linguistic underdevelopment" and yet they seemed to have been incapable of doing so. See Hart and Risley and Zig's explanation of the effect in the first six or so minutes of this video.
Most of Berliner's OSF's seem to be related to various distractions (hunger, sickness, bad peers, chaotic family environment) that low-SES children must contend with. Berliner seems to forget that middle-class kids and high-SES kids have their own distraction to contend with. We don't worry too much about those distraction but they certainly exist. And, with respect to the linguistic deficiencies, these deficiencies will remain in place unless there is some kind of high-powered instructional intervention put into place, i.e., the kind that form part of any preschool program that the the SES hustlers advocate.
So even if we were to follow Berliner's recommendations to the letter, we're still going to be left with children with instructional needs and language deficiencies that are different than the needs of high-SES children. These kids are still going to require compensatory education and improved instruction that takes into account their deficiencies. This is not the kind of instruction that you find even in high-SES schools.
The problem remains an instructional problem at its core.