School tend to succeed more than those with low

School readiness reflects a child’s
ability to flourish academically in a school environment. School readiness
requires cognitive skills, language skills, physical well-being and emotional
health, appropriate motor development, and social competence. Unfortunately,
many fall short when it comes to school readiness, especially those who grow up
in home of low-socioeconomic statues (SES). It is even more evident that many
children from lower income households perform significantly lower than those
from higher income households. Many who study this epidemic ask questions like
“Why do the rich end up performing better than the poor in school?”, “Why is it
that the government provide funds to private schools but doesn’t provide public
schools with the same?” Why is it that those with higher income tend to succeed
more than those with low income?”. Poverty and its impact on education has been
a controversial topic for many years. Not only has it been debated in the
United States, it is debated all over the world. Researchers believe that it is
imperative to understand this concept and continue to study the correlation
between students who are considered low SES and decreased academic achievement.
Therefore, poverty places children at a substantial disadvantage to their more
economically secure peers academically.

Impact of Poverty on Children’s Development and
Educational Outcomes

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First to understand poverty, one
must define it. Several definitions are provided in regard to poverty. Poverty
is often defined in economic terms, or as a social shortcoming or handicap and
is outlined using measures of income. However, because of this, many argue that
poverty doesn’t only mean the lack of material asset, but also the lack of good
health, well-being, capabilities, education, resources, social belonging,
cultural identity, respect, and dignity.

With the gap continuing to widen
between those from lower and higher income households, researchers have studied
the household structure of students from impoverished backgrounds and its
impact on their academic performance. Those who study this problem theorize
that there are many different poverty-related factors that negatively impact
child development and academic achievement to consider. They believe that when studying poverty in
in relation to one’s life, one must consider contributing factors such as the
incidence, duration, depth, the community characteristics (e.g., the level of crime
in their neighborhoods and school features), and the impact poverty has on the
child’s social relationships (i.e., their parents, friends, relatives, and
neighbors).

            When
researchers study the concept of poverty in families, they focus on how imperative it is
for the need of families to focus on immediate basic needs such as food and
shelter becomes a hindrance. The need to primarily focus on basic needs put
them at a tremendous disadvantage to those who don’t. Their ability to
prioritize school readiness is weakened when faced with stress to obtain
immediate needs. Their focus blurs the concept that the benefits that come with
education are long term. With problems like this, children in low-income
families, often do not receive the stimulation and do not learn the social
skills required to prepare them for school and to excel in it.   Other problems in low-income families are parental irregularity (i.e.,
absent parent or loss parent), lack of routine, lack of and/or poor role
models, lack of supervision, and frequent changes of primary caregivers.
Many of the parents also lack familial and social support. Studies show that
children who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to have
been born to a teenage mother and/or a single mother.  Data shows that about only half of children live
with both of their parents, or a two parent / caregiver home.  About 52 percent of graduates from low-income
families have parents who attended college in comparison to 83 percent of those
of who parents who are college graduates. The children of college-educated
parents are twice as likely to go to college as those of high school graduates
and 7 times as likely as those who dropped out of high school.  Studies show that the children of less
educated parents suffer more emotional and physical problems. These children
are more likely to report poor health, higher obesity rates, and have more mental
and behavioral health problems. Thus, evidence suggest that most that children
of lower SES begin school at a cognitive and behavioral disadvantage than their
higher SES peers.

Many support that although poverty may
play a role in the growing gap in academic achievement, is not the dominant
factor. Researchers theorize that the gap in academic achievement appears to
have grown partly because of an increase in the correlation between family
socioeconomic status and children’s academic achievement for families who are
considered to be above the median income level. Moreover, evidence from
multiple studies suggests that this may be in part a result of the increase of
parental and familial investment in children’s cognitive development and
building of social networks.

Low SES vs High SES

            The
challenges such children face compared to their more fortunate peers are
enormous. The achievement gap between children from high- and low-
socioeconomic status households is roughly thirty to forty percent more among
children born in 2001 (Reardon, 2011) which is nearly twice as large as the
black-white achievement gap. Researchers have found that on the day that
children start kindergarten, children from families of low socioeconomic status
are already more than twelve months behind the children of college graduates in
their comprehension of math and reading. Even some of the strongest set of
students from disadvantaged backgrounds, who begin kindergarten with strong
math and reading comprehension as high socioeconomic status children, still fall
behind in academic achievement.

Due to having much lower SES,
children are less likely to afford private school or the many developmental and
social enhancement opportunities (e.g., tutoring, music lessons, sports,
performing arts) that higher-educated and richer parents provide for their
children. Many theorize that one of the reasons why children perform well in
school is because they are enrolled in after-school programs. Parents with
higher SES tend to enroll their children more frequently for after-school
programs. Many believe that the reason behind this is that parents want to
provide their children with more opportunities to learn more “throughout the day- not just in
school”. After-school programs provide children with more one-on-one
help, especially for those who are struggling in different subjects. Those of
higher SES take advantage of these programs much more than those of lower SES.
The students with low SES who struggle with their subjects usually cannot afford
these programs or afford to pay for tutors to help tutor their children like
those of higher SES. The lack of ability to pay for these enhancements is believed
to be a principal reason why many low SES children continue to struggle and fall
behind their higher SES peers.

For those who live in neighborhoods
with high-priced homes that are financed by real estate taxes, public education
is said to becoming much more compartmentalized. Well-funded schools where the children of high
SES have a much easier time attracting well qualified teachers and staff in
comparison to schools that serve low SES children. Teachers in private schools
are much more likely to have a graduate or doctrine degree, while public school
teachers are only required to have a bachelor’s degree and or a master in their
subject. So, because of the high quality of teachers, the level of educational
material provided is much more difficult than of that for public school. Students
who come from families with low SES attend public schools are about 33 percent
are more likely staffed with inexperienced teachers that do not provide
material needed for college prep to ensure their students are ready for higher
education according to NAME.
Some argue that some classrooms with more low SES students are more problematic
to teach, therefore teachers are forced to provide more basic education because
low SES children are often far behind. When children academic performance suffers, their
development is restricted because they are more likely to be held back a grade.

With being more financially stable,
most high SES families are able to afford tuition for their children to attend
private schools. Parents with low SES tend to enroll their children into public
schools because they are free and cannot financially afford the tuition for
private schooling. In private schools, classes are much smaller than public schools
with 15 to 20 students per classroom. Public school classes often have 25 to 30
students to one teacher- which is often way too many students for one teacher
to be able to provide one-one-one interactions. Having a smaller number of
students per teacher allows students to receive a higher level of teaching and
attention in class. Financial assistance from the government also play a part.
The government provide the assistance that is needed to keep public schools up
and running. In
comparison, since private schools charge tuition for per student, they raise
enough money to avoid having to rely heavily on the government for financial
support.

Academics have argued that
standardized tests are also a contributing factor. Many believe that
standardized testing is economically biased. Many theorize that the tests are
biased because the design of the tests is said to be based on material from a
privileged vantage point that is incomprehensible to those from
socio-economically disadvantaged schools and communities.  Recent study (…..) reported that students
from lower SES often score significantly lower on measures of math, and
communication proficiencies, symbol usage, aptitude of concentration, and social
play with other children than that of children from higher SES. Researchers
have also established that children from lower SES households often score lower
on receptive vocabulary tests than higher
SES children (…..).

Interventions to
Improve Educational Outcomes

The effects that poverty have on
education need to be changed. Those who advocate for this change believe that existing
power held by the those in high SES ranks should give the power to make change
to the community leaders who have the resources to make change in their
communities. When making these changes, it has been an extremely difficult task
without the help of those who have the lived-in experiences of being low SES
and are motivated in reaching out and giving back to their communities to
improve the education system. The focus on SES and its impact on education is
critical when understanding how to serve underserved communities. Many argue
that the generous support from policy makers that are responsible for
developing policies and standards on education, are rarely coming from leaders
within the community that truly understand these decisions. Unfortunately,
impoverished communities whose voice is often left unheard, just don’t have decision
making authority or access to much needed resources. Supporters theorize that
one of the most fundamental ways to battle the impact of poverty in the
classroom, is by being more empathetic of students before judging them and
their abilities.

Research has shown that not only being
more empathic with students but implementing interventions to improve school
readiness, familial support, and children’s development reduces poverty-related
disparities (….). These interventions include early intervention, family-based programs,
encouragement parents to support early learning, and utilizing programs that
support children’s development prior to starting preschool. Interventions must
go as far as improving the quality of teachers and curriculums taught in
classrooms, and making an investment in providing students with resources to struggling
students to bring them up to par with their peers.

Regarding college education, researchers
believe that early interventions could help increase college graduation. By
using early interventions before and in high school, it would help support reducing
proficiency gaps that appear before college and increase the nation’s college
graduation by proving easier terms on student loans or proving them with more financial
aid.  

            In
conclusion, I believe that if students with lower SES could receive some financial
support from the government to help them pay for higher quality material for curriculums,
after school programs, college, and tutors, it would help them to perform better
and succeed in school just as their higher SES peers do. The government can
help if they make after school programs free for any student. The more that low
SES students are able to join after school programs or get a tutor, the better
results they will have in school. It is essential to increase academic
achievement not only for high SES children – but for low SES children as well. No
matter the SES, all students should all be given the same resources and tools
to help them through K-12 grade and be held to the same high expectations. I also
understand and support that to encourage change that will support our low SES
students so that they can flourish in school, changes need to be made. Changes
need to be made within the low SES family households, the government, and in the
education system in order to eliminate the disparities in the education of low and
high SES students

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