Poverty’s Grubby Fingers

Last Monday I quoted our elementary school principal as saying that “the best predictor of if a child will drop out of high school or not, is if they are reading at grade level by third grade.”

I want the students I tutor to succeed, so this article by David Sirota’s opinion caught my eye: “The Connection Between Poverty and Education.” He talks about a study by the Southern Education Foundation that reached this conclusion:

“Social science research over the last few decades has shown that two thirds of student achievement is a product of out-of-school factors — and among the most powerful of those is economic status. That’s hardly shocking: Kids who experience destitution and all the problems that come with it have enough trouble just surviving, much less succeeding in school.”

So what is the solution to helping poor students succeed? You can read Sirota’s whole article, but here is my favorite solution:

“We wouldn’t only be looking to make sure that schools in high-poverty districts finally receive the same amount of public money as schools in wealthy neighborhoods — we would make sure high-poverty districts actually receive more funds than rich districts because combating poverty is such a resource-intensive endeavor.”

Sadly I don’t see it ever happening.

But it does mean we need to think about poverty and the way its tentacles reach out and strangle life in so many ways.

So what is the solution, do you think? And what can you and I, separately and together, do to bring it about?


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