WASHINGTON—Education is supposed to help bridge the gap between the wealthiest people and everyone else. Ask the experts, and they'll count the ways:
Preschool can lift children from poverty. Top high schools prepare students for college. A college degree boosts pay over a lifetime. And the U.S. economy would grow faster if more people stayed in school longer.
Plenty of data back them up. But the data also show something else:
Wealthier parents have been stepping up education spending so aggressively that they're widening the nation's wealth gap. When the Great Recession sruck in late 2007 and squeezed most family budgets, the top 10 percent of earners—with incomes averaging $253,146—went in a different direction: They doubled down on their kids' futures.
In the photo, Marisela Martinez-Cola help her 7-year-old, David, get ready for private school Tuesday