If the NCGA Wants to “Improve” Public Education, It Must Start to Actively Combat Poverty in NC

North Carolina’s minimum wage is currently at $7.25 an hour.

Over 20% of NC public school students live at or below the poverty level.

Most schools that received “D” or “F” as a school performance grade had a 50% or more poverty rate.

North Carolina did not expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of people.

NC has extremely gerrymandered districts.

North Carolina has extended some of the largest corporate tax cuts in the country in the past few years putting more of a burden on NC families to finance public education.

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From Diane Ravitch’s book Reign of Error, Chapter 10 entitled “How Poverty Affects Academic Achievement”,  pages 96-97.

Children born to poor mothers are less likely to receive regular medical care. They are less likely to see a dentist. They are less likely to have educated parents. They are less likely to have books and magazines in their home. They are less likely to be read to each day by a parent or guardian. They are less likely to be enrolled in a prekindergarten program. They are less likely to have their own bedroom and a quiet place to study. They are less likely to hear a large and complex vocabulary at home as compared with children in professional families. They are less likely to get three nutritional meals every day. They are less likely to live in sound housing. They are less likely to live in a safe neighborhood. They are less likely to take family trips to the local library or museum. They are less likely to participate in organized activities after school such as sports, dramatics, art or dance or music classes. They are less likely to take a family vacation or go to summer camp. (1)

“Children of the poor are more likely to be born preterm or with low birth weight and consequently suffer cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, and attention deficits. They are more likely to suffer ‘fetal alcohol syndrome,’ a collection of severe cognitive, physical, and behavioral problems that occurs ten times more often among low income black children than among middle-class white children. They are more likely to live in a dwelling infested by rats and roaches.They are more likely to have a parent or guardian who is incarcerated or unemployed. They are more likely to be homeless. They are more likely to move frequently and change schools frequently because their parents or guardians couldn’t pay the rent. They are more likely to have asthma (‘the disease is provoked in part from breathing fumes from low-grade home heating oil and from diesel trucks and buses… as well as from excessive dust and allergic reactions to mold, cockroaches, and secondhand smoke.’) Children who suffer from asthma are likely to wake up in the middle of the night wheezing and to be drowsy and inattentive the next day in school. Poor children are more likely to be ill without getting treated by a doctor. They are more likely to be hungry or to suffer from anemia because of a poor diet. They are more likely to have undetected vision problems. They are more likely to have undetected hearing problems. They are more likely to have toothaches and cavities. They are more likely to be exposed to lead in the paint on their walls. Lead poisoning may cause cognitive deficiencies, which obviously affect academic performance. (2)

“Children of poor families are more likely to be chronically absent from school, missing as much as as a month of the school year. This sustained absence from daily instruction widens the achievement gap. (3)

“The burdens imposed on children by poverty are physical, emotional, cognitive, and psychological. Because of poverty, the achievement gap begins before the first day of kindergarten. The advantage is definitely with children who have good health, regular checkups, good nutrition, educated parents, a literate environment, basic economic security, and an array of after-school and summer activities.”

Again,

  • North Carolina’s minimum wage is currently at $7.25 an hour.
  • Over 20% of NC public school students live at or below the poverty level.
  • Most schools that received “D” or “F” as a school performance grade had a 50% or more poverty rate.
  • North Carolina did not expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of people.
  • NC has extremely gerrymandered districts.
  • North Carolina has extended some of the largest corporate tax cuts in the country in the past few years putting more of a burden on NC families to finance public education.

And I believe what Dr. Diane Ravitch says about the relationship between poverty and student performance in school over anything Phil Berger has to say on the matter.

1.  Richard Rothstein., 19-32; U.S. Department of Education, Condition of Education, 2012, 18.
2.  Richard Rothstein, Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic, and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap (New York: Teachers College Press, 2004), 37-47.
3.  R. Balfanz and V. Byrnes, Chronic Absenteeism: Summarizing What We Know from Nationally Available Data (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Center for Socisl Organization of Schools, 2012).

 

 

One thought on “If the NCGA Wants to “Improve” Public Education, It Must Start to Actively Combat Poverty in NC

  1. HB 639 another power grab by the GA on behalf of their puppet Johnson. People need to be aware of this. Next step-elimination of the State Board of Education and replace it with the GA? We all know how that would go !!??

    Like

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