Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The effects of poverty on students must be addressed in education reform

There have been some great discussions over the years about the effects of poverty on students and the obstacles poverty creates for them in regards to school and education. I teach in a school district where 95% of the students qualify for free lunch and poverty is a major issue.

Richard Byrne started it off and the discussion is very thought provoking. You can see the conversation starter at Richard's Blog- and then follow it onto Google+.

Poverty is a huge factor in student achievement. Students in poverty have other things to worry about, like working to help the family, taking care of siblings, no where to do homework, and many more issues. They may have gotten a slow start in school, miss school for a variety of issues, and not see the importance of education. They may have no help at home from parent(s) or they may be the ones helping their parent(s) learn English or how to read. They may spend the evening cooking and cleaning and taking care of their siblings and helping them with their homework. They may not have any quiet place to do homework or study and may not have a computer to use. Poor nutrition, poor medical care, and poor living conditions can also contribute to developmental and health issues.

Poverty is a huge factor in these children's lives and their education. They can achieve and they can learn and they can succeed. But they face huge obstacles that we must address and help them overcome. If we can help them overcome these obstacles, we can help them achieve.

The Washington Post Answer Sheet (education column) also has a good article on the effects of poverty on children and how we must address this.

Here's a infographic about poverty and children from the Indiana Youth Institute. You can download the image or PDF from their site.


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