professornana (professornana) wrote,

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It's about the economy, stupid!

Remember this mantra from Bill Clinton's campaign for President? It could well be the mantra for those of us who fear the current education reform is missing the central issue: poverty. Perhaps this article from the Washington Post will make this clear:

How can anyone see the two charts comparing poverty levels in schools and the change between 200 and 2011? Especially how can any politician from the states where school poverty tops 50% not be moved to immediate action? It defies logic that there are still those reformers (deformers) out there, some of them from the states where poverty has grown exponentially, who label anyone who talk about poverty as an issue as a person with low expectations. As if expectations can provide food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities? How, exactly, does that work?

Notice also that poverty's effect on test scores is not slight either. “When you break down the various test scores, you find the high-income kids, high-achievers are holding their own and more. It’s when you start getting down to schools with a majority of low-income kids that you get astoundingly low scores. Our real problem regarding educational outcomes is not the U.S. overall, it’s the growing low-income population."

Folks refuse to accept the role of poverty in education. If you need confirmation of that, read some of the comments that follow the WaPo article. It is almost enough to make you lose your faith in the compassion of your fellow man. It is not about expectations. It is about poverty. It is about a two-tiered system. It exists. In a democracy, ow can we let it PERSIST?
Tags: poverty, schools
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