“Miguel, your grades were satisfactory and all of a sudden your head is always down and you have stopped doing your work, but not only in my class. If you need to talk about something after class, I am here for you. It is up to you” Mr. Johnson explained.
Two days later Miguel asked, “Mr. Johnson, can I speak with you after class.” Mr. Johnson shook his head in approval to meet Miguel after class.
Miguel went on to tell Mr. Johnson that he has been working long hours to support his family from finding a job to cooking, cleaning, and interpreting for both his parents and his siblings. Miguel described that when he got to school; it was the only time he could rest and he needed to put his head down, but apologized about not being able to do his assignments.
Mr. Johnson understood and helped Miguel find a job where money was better in order to help Miguel’s family. Guess what teacher Miguel made good grades in after that?
Poverty and education throughout the United States and the world has become a huge issue especially among Hispanic and African American students. Although poverty is addressed, the focus is maintained on better performing schools where poverty is rarely an issue. If teachers and administration work on better ways to improve poverty and education, then the American education system will rise to the top once again.
Causes of Poverty, especially in Schools
One of the most influential causes of poverty is illiteracy. Those who are poor must inquire other life skills in order to survive. For example, a labor market that requires little to no reading is in the construction field. Many can paint, hold a sign, and accomplish handyman work. For contractors, this can be cheap labor. Like Miguel, many poor people must work to provide for their families and they cannot afford to lose money by attending school.
Child Poverty in American Schools
Child poverty often comes from parents migrating to America in order to have a better life. When children enter into the education system, they may enter at a late stage and there will be an extreme language barrier. This language barrier creates difficulties in both reading and writing making a student feel inferior possibly leading him to drop out of school. Child poverty needs to be addressed and educational leaders need to find ways to keep children in schools.
Effects of Poverty, especially in Schools
Effects of poverty, especially in schools, are low attendance, high dropout rates, learning disabilities, and in some cases – development in maturity. With these effects on poverty, many teachers are misinformed or do not use the strategies needed to find ways to keep low income families having better attendance. So, is this even possible?
Creating a Better Solution
Educational leaders are always thinking of ways to persuade parents to get their students to school. Why does a student have to go to school? Why can’t a teacher go to the student? Many will argue that this is dangerous and others will argue that they won’t get paid for their time. The first excuse is ignorant. We are now a society that lives in fear and this is ridiculous. I have taught in homes in other countries where I do not speak the language, yet I was well respected for taking the time to help students learn. Why should it be any more dangerous on my own soil? And if you are a person who argues the latter, you are just selfish.
Poverty and education together have disastrous results, but if we all achieve one simple very common goal – working together – then we will have fixed our broken system. Yes, it is that easy.