Poverty impacts student achievement in a variety of ways. The most obvious and important is the instability it creates in children’s lives, children who don’t have stable, secure housing, children who are not eating regularly, children
who don’t have access to good healthcare, and who have other needs not being met, social, psychological needs, basic needs like being able to see a dentist, or get eyeglasses, all those things impact learning, impact the child’s development, and invariably will undermine
efforts to achieve and to learn in school. And I think we don’t pay nearly enough attention to that, even though it seems obvious, but in a country with very high poverty rates,
much of which is concentrated in particular communities, both urban and rural, poverty is still largely ignored as a social problem and as an educational challenge in America
today. And I often say that given our focus on the
achievement gap, we should be much more concerned about poverty and how it impacts children and the way it impacts schools. Because schools that are serving large numbers of impoverished children are usually the schools that are struggling the most. And they struggle because often they are overwhelmed by the needs of the children and lack the resources to meet those needs.