Poverty and Education: The Hidden Struggles and the Need for Change
The Disparities of Poverty: From Home to School Hallways
Poverty negatively impacts students in so many ways. From the beginning, students who come from families above the poverty line enter school more prepared than the students below it. Their parents read to them, play educated games, and even have conversations with them that promote learning language faster. Families with low income have minimum time to prepare their children for school. They don’t have the time to read to their child or play educated games because the parents are working two to three jobs to make sure they are fed. I went to a diverse high school, and I have come to know many people who came from less stable homes, and I have seen their struggles. There was a copious amount of delinquency in my school, and we had metal detectors and bag searches every time we entered the buildings.
Poverty’s Grip: The Overwhelming Struggles Inside and Outside the Classroom
Normal schools probably had security guards, but we had security guards and police officers. I had friends who used to work night shifts to support their families and didn’t even go home after work because there was too much stress at home, so they would just stay outside. Those kids obviously did badly in school due to lack of sleep and not having the time to do homework. Those were the same students who were always in trouble for fighting or disturbing the class. It is obvious that poverty impacts mental health, and one big factor that causes students to struggle in school is stress.
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These students don’t care if they pass or fail a test; they are too busy worrying about the rent and bills being paid. Stress can make it hard for an adult to think clearly, so imagine the impact an adolescent’s cognitive development takes when they are filled with stress and anxiety. Teachers play a big part, too. Some teachers knew and understood the student’s perspective because they grew up in the same area as kids, but some teachers just didn’t care, and I have seen what a teacher’s criticism does to a student. I have witnessed breakdowns and physical outbursts from students because they can’t handle the stress, and hearing someone say they are doing it to themselves or they are going to achieve nothing in life can make a person lose it.
When it comes to the resolution, I’m not sure what the resolution is; all I know is that there cannot be just one solution. Multiple things need to be changed, such as the school conditions, better-qualified teachers, and the way schools are funded. Something does need to change for students who live in poverty so they can have a fair and honest shot at succeeding in school.
- The Economics of Inequality by Thomas Piketty
- Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It by Eric Jensen
- The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne