Research Papers on How Poverty Affects School Aged Children
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Reviewing the current literature on the impact of poverty on education, it becomes clear that many authors agree that a lack of education is one of the most fundamental predictors of poverty. Individuals that do not have the education needed to secure employment will find that they are unable to raise themselves above the poverty line in the long-term. For these individuals, the inability to secure employment is often predicated on a vicious cycle that begins with a lack of education and ends with a series of low paying jobs that offer no real advancement opportunities, training or skills that can be used to secure more lucrative employment.With the realization that a lack of education has such a significant impact on the development of poverty across the lifespan, a number of authors have noted that new initiatives geared at improving education have been undertaken in an attempt to stop this downward spiral. According to one author, “…investment in education leads to formation of human capital, which is an important factor of economic growth. Education together with training imparts skills and productive knowledge, and transforms human beings into more valuable human capital”. Thus, by the same token that a lack of education can contribute to the downward spiral of poverty, the availability of education can improve the individual’s chances of achieving a higher standard of living.
With the realization that more education can reduce the individual’s chances of living in poverty, schools across the nation have adopted a number of new programs in an attempt to keep students interested in school and further, engaged in the system of education beyond high school. According to recent statistics on high school students, research shows that more than 1 million students drop out each year. As such, in large cities such as New York and Chicago, inner city schools are partnering with local colleges to offer expanded opportunities for individuals at highest risk for dropping out of school. These programs focus not only on extending education into college, but also on practical programs that teens can use to empower themselves to change. For instance in New York City, LaGuardia Community College’s Middle College High School and Hunter College’s Pregnancy Prevention Program have helped many teens deal with issues of sexuality and unwanted pregnancy.
In addition to utilizing community resources to help children achieve the education that they need to acquire a higher standard of living, researchers have also noted that many schools are calling on parents to form cooperative relationships with school to track and monitor the progress of students throughout the course of middle and high school. Because students are more prone to drop out of school during these years, researchers in various communities have created programs that employ the use of parents to help in tracking the student’s progress, ensuring that homework is complete, and addressing academic issues as they arise. By working with children and parents on an individualized basis, the student receives the attention that he or she needs to remain connected to the school and actively engaged in the process of education. Without these programs, it is clear that many more students would fall through the cracks.Clearly, the issue of poverty as it relates to education cannot be ignored. If children are to exceed their parents in their ability to accomplish a higher standard of living, education is critical to this process. Although there are many notable examples of programs that have been developed to ensure that all children receive the education that they need to be successful, the reality is that the high school dropout rate remains exceedingly high, especially for students that are considered at risk. What this effectively suggests is that if society wants to change the tide of social discourse, more effort from communities will be needed to ensure that all children have access to a basic education. Without this, another generation will face the harsh realities of poverty and be unable to achieve a standard of living commensurate with meeting basic daily needs.