The Impact of Poverty on Education
How does poverty impact education? How can schools mitigate this impact? Where do we go from here? In this era of high-stakes testing and blaming teachers for school failure, the detrimental effect of poverty on academic achievement has been largely ignored by many educational leaders.
The mantras “you can’t fix the parents” or “we can only focus on what we can control” are repeated as excuses for ignoring the basic needs of students. Although poverty is not an excuse for school failure; there is no excuse for disregarding the barriers to learning associated with poverty.
A growing movement of community schools, children’s zones, and other innovations support the notion that both effective teachers and comprehensive wraparound services are critical for school success, especially in high poverty neighborhoods.
Peter C. Murrell, Jr., Ph.D., is Professor of Urban Education at Loyola University Maryland’s School of Education. He is a nationally known expert in the field of urban education. Murrell was charged with developing Loyola’s third distinct school, which is the only School of Education in Maryland with a dedicated focus on the advancement of achievement and development of city children and youth that is based on an analytical framework of identity, race and culture.
Jane Quinn joined The Children’s Aid Society as Assistant Executive Director for Community Schools in January 2000. As Vice President and Director of National Training Center for Community Schools, she directs the National Center for Community Schools and lends strategic planning and fundraising expertise to the Society’s 20 community schools in New York City.
Dr. Heather Weiss is the Founder and Director of the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) and is a Senior Research Associate and Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. From its beginning in 1983, HFRP’s mission has been to support the creation of more effective practices, interventions and policies to promote children’s successful development from birth to adulthood. A key emphasis of HFRP’s work is the promotion, documentation and assessment of complementary learning—strategies that support children’s learning and development in nonschool as well as school contexts.
Marc Steiner has hosted the widely acclaimed public radio news and interview program, “The Marc Steiner Show” since the show was launched on WJHU in 1993. In 2001 when WJHU came up for sale, Steiner led the movement to maintain community ownership of the station, playing an integral role in the founding of WYPR. He served as Executive Vice President of WYPR from February 2002 through August of 2005. Since May 2008, The Marc Steiner Show has aired on WEAA 88.9 FM, the NPR member station at Morgan State University.
This year we showcased a number of local organizations that are working to address the impact of poverty on education.
Baltimore Curriculum Project
Loyola University Maryland School of Education
Baltimore Education Coalition
BCPS Parent and Community Advisory Board
Family League of Baltimore City
Greater Homewood Community Corporation
Safe and Sound Campaign
The Baltimore Curriculum Project (BCP) manages a network of neighborhood charter schools in East Baltimore. BCP utilizes research-based instructional methods, customized professional development, performance monitoring and other key supports to transform underperforming, high poverty schools into successful charter schools. www.baltimorecp.org
Urbanite is a free, four-color, monthly magazine about cities and city life as seen through the distinctive lens of Baltimore. Each issue revolves around a central theme and uses a range of perspectives, voices, and devices to illuminate aspects of urban living and connect the city to larger issues nationwide, and beyond. www.urbanitebaltimore.com
Loyola University Maryland’s School of Education is the only one in Maryland with a dedicated focus on the advancement of achievement and development of city children and youth that is based on an analytical framework of identity, race, social capital, and culture. Its wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs promote leadership and scholarship in the development of teachers, counselors, administrators, and other professionals committed to bringing about social justice by improving education. www.loyola.edu/soe