"If intelligence were deeply encoded in our genes, that would lead to
the depressing conclusion that neither schooling nor antipoverty
programs can accomplish much. Yet while this view of I.Q. as
overwhelmingly inherited has been widely held, the evidence is growing
that it is, at a practical level, profoundly wrong.
Richard Nisbett, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, has just demolished this view in a superb new book, “Intelligence and How to Get It,” which also offers terrific advice for addressing poverty and inequality in America.
The piece goes on to add:
"Intelligence does seem to be highly inherited in middle-class households, and that’s the reason for the findings of the twins studies: very few impoverished kids were included in those studies. But Eric Turkheimer of the University of Virginia has conducted further research demonstrating that in poor and chaotic households, I.Q. is minimally the result of genetics — because everybody is held back.
“Bad environments suppress children’s I.Q.’s,” Professor Turkheimer said."
The op-ed by Nicholas Kristoff goes on to list a number of things we could do to address this situation for the long-term. It's worthwhile reading in it's entirety.