Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success
David C. Berliner
Arizona State University
The U.S. has set as a national goal the narrowing of the achievement gap between lower income and middle-class students, and that between racial and ethnic groups. This is a key purpose of the No Child Left Behind act, which relies primarily on assessment to promote changes within schools to accomplish that goal. However, out-of-school factors (OSFs) play a powerful role in generating existing achievement gaps, and if these factors are not attended to with equal vigor, our national aspirations will be thwarted.
This brief details six OSFs common among the poor that significantly affect the health and learning opportunities of children, and accordingly limit what schools can accomplish on their own:
(1) low birth-weight and non-genetic prenatal influences on children;
(2) inadequate medical, dental, and vision care, often a result of inadequate or no medical insurance;
(3) food insecurity;
(4) environmental pollutants;
(5) family relations and family stress; and
(6) neighborhood characteristics.
These OSFs are related to a host of poverty-induced physical, sociological, and psychological problems that children often bring to school, ranging from neurological damage and attention disorders to excessive absenteeism, linguistic underdevelopment, and oppositional behavior.
Also discussed is a seventh OSF, extended learning opportunities, such as preschool, after school, and summer school programs that can help to mitigate some of the harm caused by the first six factors.
Because America’s schools are so highly segregated by income, race, and ethnicity, problems related to poverty occur simultaneously, with greater frequency, and act cumulatively in schools serving disadvantaged communities.
These schools therefore face significantly greater challenges than schools serving wealthier children, and their limited resources are often overwhelmed. Efforts to improve educational outcomes in these schools, attempting to drive change through test-based accountability, are thus unlikely to succeed unless accompanied by policies to address the OSFs that negatively affect large numbers of our nations’ students. Poverty limits student potential; inputs to schools affect
outputs from them.
Therefore, it is recommended that efforts be made to:
• Reduce the rate of low birth weight children among African Americans,
• Reduce drug and alcohol abuse,
• Reduce pollutants in our cites and move people away from toxic sites,
• Provide universal and free medical care for all citizens,
• Insure that no one suffers from food insecurity,
• Reduce the rates of family violence in low-income households,
• Improve mental health services among the poor,
• More equitably distribute low-income housing throughout communities,
• Reduce both the mobility and absenteeism rates of children,
• Provide high-quality preschools for all children, and
• Provide summer programs for the poor to reduce summer losses in their academic achievement.
Click here to download the complete research.
From the Journal of Education Finance , Fall 2012 by Kern Alexander The story goes that tuition voucher schools and charter schools a...
by Robert Slater High-stakes tests and testing policies are now being reinforced with value-added teacher assessment. But gains in te...
B Y J A M I E R O B E R T V O L L M E R America’s public schools can be traced back to the year 1640. The Massachusetts Purit...
Local School Boards to Duncan: Back Off! by Diane Ravitch The U.S. Department of Education is not supposed to control U.S. education...
Reflections on a Half-Century of School Reform: Why Have We Fallen Short and Where Do We Go From Here?By Jack Jennings, President and CEO, Center on Education Policy When I studied history in college, I was impressed by those few individual...
by D iane Ravitch North Carolina is a plum market for the online for-profit charter industry. Today, the state board of education ...
b y JULIE UNDERWOOD (Editor's note: Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), global corporati...
Jack Hassard Source: The Art of Teaching Science Today, a committee in Georgia Senate will discuss the Parent...
ALEC is still at it, Julie Underwood, dean of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, cautions in “ School Boards...
Cartoons on Common Core Standards by Larry Cuban For this monthly* post of cartoons, I have selected images about the impending Commo...