It gets complicated when we continue to avoid one of the most telling aspects to student performance….. poverty. No one is talking about it (well, there are a lot of people talking about it, and you should support them) and in some cases, teachers are being told to NOT look at it. Why? The impact of poverty seeps into all aspects of education from reading levels, mental health, discipline, and nutrition to name a few. When we look at “under-performing schools and districts” we have to look no further than the zip code.
Some raw thoughts follow. I welcome feedback on the discussion.
The problem is that we don't control poverty. We focus on data that we can control. So, how can we control poverty? What solutions can we put in place to control it.
I lived in Russia for two years as a missionary for my church. When I spoke to people about the differences between communism and capitalism, they had a very clear description of what it was like: "There was no poverty during communism. We had all the money we could ever need. We just didn't have anything to spend it on. Now, with capitalism, we are all poor, and we have everything to buy."
I'm not saying to suggest that communism is Spike's answer, but rather to convey the idea that it is not about making sure everyone has money, but rather, it is about making sure we are providing the services necessary deal with the issues that arise with poverty.