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The wrath of poverty on education – edu|FOCUS
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Money and Education

The wrath of poverty on education

As a college student who goes to school in Chester, PA (Widener University), I have seen poverty and the effects it has on people. Poverty consumes lives in every way imaginable, from living situation to clothing and even diet. As a result of living in an area stricken by poverty for over a year I began to wonder, why? Why this area, similar to countless other areas in this country subject to endless poverty and crime? Now, that is a can of worms I discovered I was not willing to explore after brief investigation. However, this brief research sparked my fascination with how a society functions when it is stricken with poverty. More specifically the effects poverty has on the education of those born into it, the kids.

Poverty is known to effect a child’s school readiness, school readiness reflects a child’s ability to succeed both academically and socially in a school environment requires physical well-being and appropriate motor development, emotional health and a positive approach to new experiences, age-appropriate social knowledge and competence, age-appropriate language skills, and age-appropriate general knowledge and cognitive skills. (Kagan). If a child does not gain these skills prior to starting grade school, they have already fallen behind from the start. That’s what poverty does to children, they start out school behind and struggle to ever catch up. This video further explains the effects poverty can have on a child’s development in the early stages, setting them up for failure within a school system.


Undoubtedly reducing poverty is extremely complex and difficult matter. However, helping impoverished kids become successful in school is something that should garner more attention. Providing extra care for those children at school, providing a nutritious meal, clothing even a shower and a tooth brush. The less a child has to worry about necessities, the more room there is for a child to learn and grow. A healthier, cleaner and happier child can create an eagerness to learn within them. Join the conversation below with thoughts and ideas for helping students in poverty.

Kagan SL. Readiness past, present and future: Shaping the agenda. Young Child. 1992;48:48–53.

Connor Schlegel
No Comments
  • North Jersey reader
    Reply June 30, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Nowadays, it’s vital to contact legislators re funding for schools and other legislation. Reps in cushy suburbs need to know that their constituents value support for youngsters in low-income areas. E-mails can be blown off but if your phone plan allows, call & talk to staff. You may get to recommend a blog/educate them.

  • North Jerse reader
    Reply July 1, 2015 at 12:26 am

    See 6-25 post at School Finance 101 blog by Dr Bruce Baker (Rutgers Grad School Ed professor). He discusses fairness in school funding over time. Examples re Pennsylvania are included.

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