It has long been known in education circles that poverty is the greatest predictor of student achievement. Those who actually look at education data without preconditions (such as we shall ignore poverty so as not to make it an excuse) understand that recognizing poverty and working to mitigate its impact on our children’s education is the only way we can achieve positive outcomes, and paths out of generational poverty, for many children and families. When we ignore poverty, and other serious mental conditions and unstable family situations we are doing our children no favors. Education reformers will hasten to point to an anecdotal success story, while conveniently overlooking or even hiding the preponderance of failures they create with their own malfeasance and destructive policies. If we truly want to move out society and our people forward, we must address the harsh realities of poverty and understand that the costs and impacts of poverty are not isolated to the poor, but shared by us all.
By Robert Mann
The evidence keeps piling up on the relationship of poverty to poor student/school performance. The latest is in a new report, “Poverty and Education: Finding the Way Forward,” released by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
Here are a few excerpts from the report:
While education has been envisioned as the great equalizer, this promise has been more myth than reality. Today, the achievement gap between the poor and the non-poor is twice as large as the achievement gap between Black and White students. The tracking of differences in the cognitive performance of toddlers, elementary and middle school students, and college-bound seniors shows substantial differences by income and/or poverty status. These differences undoubtedly contribute to the increasing stratification in who attends and graduates from college, limiting economic and social mobility and serving to perpetuate the gap between rich and poor.
Given the strong connection between educational…
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