Showing 112 posts tagged poverty
A new study has discovered that 48% of the nation’s 50 million public school students are in poverty, as measured by whether they qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches. In 17 states, the majority of schoolchildren are poor. Poverty rates are led by Mississippi, where 71% of children are in poverty.
These data represent a startling rise since 2000.
Laurel Sturt was a 46-year-old fashion designer in New York City whose career trajectory took an unlikely shift one day on the subway. A self-proclaimed social activist, Sturt noticed an ad for a Teaching Fellows program. Then and there, she decided to quit her job in fashion design and shift her focus to her real passion: helping others. She enrolled in the two-year program and was assigned to teach at an elementary school in a high-poverty neighborhood near the South Bronx.
A decade later, Sturt has written about the experience in her provocative memoir Davonte’s Inferno: Ten Years in the New York Public School Gulag. I spoke with her about how her time in the classroom affected her views on education today.
Read more. [Image: Jim Young/Reuters]
It’s parent-teacher conference time. But for many students across the country, finding a bed at night is top of mind. Host Michel Martin talks about the growing number of homeless students in the U.S., with NPR Education Correspondent Claudio Sanchez, and Larissa Dickinson, a social worker for Mobile County Public Schools in Alabama.
How closely associated do you think struggling academically and growing up in poverty are?
Ready to be shocked: Writing about a linear regression test that he completed using recently released 2013 testing data from public schools in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, Freemark found that the correlation between a child’s economic condition and the likelihood of passing North Carolina’s end of grade exams is 0.85 — TWICE as high as the correlation between spending your life chugging Kentucky bourbon and dying of cirrhosis.
Philadelphia is deep into worst-case scenario territory, but it’s not alone. In cities like Cleveland, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Chicago—all of them with sizable black populations and long histories of entrenched poverty—lawmakers have responded to budget crises with cuts to public education and market-driven education reform agendas. In a city like Philadelphia, which has the worst poverty rate of the ten largest U.S. cities, in which 39 percent of the city’s children live in poverty and in which blacks and Latinos are twice as likely as whites to be poor, robust public schools are even more vital. The consequences of the collapse of the city’s public school system is falling squarely on the backs of Stanback and her classmates.
According to the new NCHE report released this week, during the 2011-2012 school year, 1,168,354 homeless students attended schools across the country, a 10% increase over the previous year and a 24% increase overall since the 2009-2010 school year.
So how can teachers help homeless students in their own classrooms? After identifying and connecting them with the school or district’s homeless liaison, teachers can help them by being understanding advocates. Simple steps like talking with the students and letting them know they’re there for them, or setting aside classroom materials—pencils, pens, calculators, etc.—that the students can use are great ways for teachers to make homeless students feel welcome in school.
image via flickr:CC | tvanhoosear
Less than one in five third-graders from low-income families score at or above the national average in math, reading and science assessments, and only about half maintain a healthy weight and are in “excellent” or “very good” health.
Such disparities in early achievement and health are illustrated in a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation called “The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success.” The report tracks children’s well-being across multiple areas and in every state.
The report argues that for all children to have a strong foundation, they need better access to quality early care and education, and coordinated health care and support services for their families.
That compares with about half of children from higher-income families who are scoring above average on standardized tests and 62 percent of children from wealthier families who are in very good health.
It’s not poverty that makes the difference; it was the teachers. The difference was that the high-performing teachers actually “walked the walk.” First, the classroom and school climate was MUCH better at the high-performers. Secondly, the teachers at the high-performing schools didn’t complain about kids not “being smart” or being unmotivated. They made it a priority and built engagement, learning, thinking and memory skills every day. In short, they didn’t make excuses; they just rolled up their sleeves and built better student brains.
The boy is Jahzaire Sutton, 12, who explains how hunger affected his school work and how his mom would eat less so he and his brother could have more food.
What makes this important? Many school reformers have failed to give much, if any, attention to the problems that poor children bring into the classroom from their outside lives.
First, is there really a public education crisis in America? The answer to this question seems to be an emphatic “YES!” given the popular interpretation of the results of two international achievement tests (PISA andTIMSS). American students, after being at the top for years, have been in a tailspin and now finish in the middle of the pack in tests of math and science when compared to students in other countries.
But when these data are placed under real scrutiny, their conclusions don’t stand up to the definition of “crisis,” at least not in the way it is usually presented by the many Chicken Littles in public education these days. When the test scores of American students are separated by income level, the true differences and the real problems with public education in the U.S. become clear.
When the scores of American students are broken down by the percentage of students who receive free or reduced lunches, a generally accepted measure of poverty, a very different picture emerges. In schools with less than 10 percent of students dependent on subsidized lunch programs, American students placed in the top five in both math and science. By contrast, and not surprisingly, in schools with a student body in which 50 percent of the students receive free or reduced lunches, their scores are far down in the international rankings.
Hunger affects one in five children in America, and the problem often plays out in the classroom. Hungry children struggle to concentrate in class, visit the school nurse with daily headaches and stomach aches, and may act out because their stomachs are growling.
We know that hungry children have a tougher time learning. They feel sick, get distracted, and start to fall behind. We need to rally together to end child hunger, and educators are on the front line in this battle. School staff—administrators, teachers, counselors, and other support staff—see the issue of childhood hunger as a priority. Fortunately, a critical ingredient to ending child hunger is already in place: school breakfast.