View Poll Results: Why do the poor do badly in school?

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  • lack of ability - poor can't do the work and feel stupid

    8 15.69%
  • lack of motivation - poor can't study way out of poverty

    18 35.29%
  • school is racist - not taught things important to poor's race

    1 1.96%
  • school is class-based - not taught things important to poor's class

    5 9.80%
  • schools are underfunded - don't have special programs to help the poor

    15 29.41%
  • urban schools don't attract talented teachers

    17 33.33%
  • rural schools don't attract talented teachers

    12 23.53%
  • socio-economic factors

    28 54.90%
  • gang culture

    23 45.10%
  • other... (please describe)

    23 45.10%
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Thread: Why do the poor do badly in school?

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    idea Why do the poor do badly in school?

    We recently talked about some of this in another thread. I am curious what others think are the driving factors for why the poor, both urban and rural, do so poorly in school.

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    Re: Why do the poor do badly in school?

    It just occurred to me that I am generalizing and that there may be many poor that do well in school. I don't know what the mobility is from poor to middle class, as a result of doing well in school. I don't know the number of poor, percentage-wise, that earn scholarships to university, or otherwise make it into university to work their way through school. I did know many guys in the Army that made it out of the projects and earn a degree, so there is obviously some level of mobility.

    However, I think for a majority of the poor, they end up poor as well. This could presumably be attributed to generational poverty.

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    Re: Why do the poor do badly in school?

    i'm guessing socio-economic factors. for instance, they'd be more pressed to get a job and help support their family than to get a proper education, and stuff like that.
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    Re: Why do the poor do badly in school?

    School quality is a big thing. It's hard to get an education when schools are having gang issues and so on. Schools in poor areas tend to have fewer resources, and I suspect it's harder to attract worthwhile teachers. Poor parents are less likely to instill in their kids the value of education. When kids do not value the education, they tend to be disruptive in school, and make it harder for those who do want an education, which leads back to the first thing. And so it goes, round and round.

    It's a hard problem to fix because you have to change so many things, many of them outside of the control of any one but the parents and students themselves.
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    Re: Why do the poor do badly in school?

    I said:

    1. lack of motivation
    2. urban schools don't attract talented teachers
    3. rural schools don't attract talented teachers
    4. gang culture (urban)
    5. socio-economic factors

    I ranked my answers. I think motivation is the primary issue, by a long shot. Second to that is lack of talented teachers.

    I don't know how to motivate the poor.

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    Re: Why do the poor do badly in school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    School quality is a big thing. It's hard to get an education when schools are having gang issues and so on. Schools in poor areas tend to have fewer resources, and I suspect it's harder to attract worthwhile teachers. Poor parents are less likely to instill in their kids the value of education. When kids do not value the education, they tend to be disruptive in school, and make it harder for those who do want an education, which leads back to the first thing. And so it goes, round and round.

    It's a hard problem to fix because you have to change so many things, many of them outside of the control of any one but the parents and students themselves.
    I really should have included the bold as a choice. That one is huge, at least in considering my life. I just knew I would go to college, even if I took a detour through the Army.

    Do schools truly have fewer resources? I mean, if kids are disruptive and cannot appreciate the resources schools already have, then what exactly is missing that could make a difference?

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    Re: Why do the poor do badly in school?

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    I really should have included the bold as a choice. That one is huge, at least in considering my life. I just knew I would go to college, even if I took a detour through the Army.

    Do schools truly have fewer resources? I mean, if kids are disruptive and cannot appreciate the resources schools already have, then what exactly is missing that could make a difference?
    To be honest, I cannot document it, but I am pretty sure it is true. Several factors involve lower tax base in the area, state funding based on head counts on certain days, and schools in poor areas tend to have a higher percentage of absenteeism. I think there is probably more to it than that, but I am not sure.

    The problems in poor areas for education are so diverse, it's hard to get a handle on all of them. It's also to my mind the number one social issue right now. Unfortunately, there are no good answers for it to my knowledge.
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    Re: Why do the poor do badly in school?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    To be honest, I cannot document it, but I am pretty sure it is true. Several factors involve lower tax base in the area, state funding based on head counts on certain days, and schools in poor areas tend to have a higher percentage of absenteeism. I think there is probably more to it than that, but I am not sure.

    The problems in poor areas for education are so diverse, it's hard to get a handle on all of them. It's also to my mind the number one social issue right now. Unfortunately, there are no good answers for it to my knowledge.
    This paper seems to be often cited: Ameican Schooling and Educational Inequality: A Forecast for the 21st Century. It has a very interesting opening paragraph which I am unable to copy here. Check it out. (It says racial inequality will lesson, but socioeconomic inequality will gain ground).


    Another paper that cites the above paper, from here: Differences in Urban and Suburban Schools: Disparities in School Facilties and Funding. It says:

    Public education is funded primarily by the federal, state, and local governments with the local and state governments providing the bulk of the proceeds. Most states and local communities support public education by using property tax revenues. Also, school districts in many areas can levy extra taxes in accordance to state and local guidelines (Marx, 2006).

    With that being said, because the homes in the suburbs tend to be worth more and those living in the suburbs tend to be more affluent, more tax revenues can be collected from them. This in turn means that schools in the suburbs tend to generate more income than those from the inner cities.

    More funding means more competitive educator salaries, smaller class sizes, more access to technology within the classroom, cleaner and more advanced facilities, newer books and classroom resources, and even healthier and more nutritious foods. It also means that those who have access to more money tend to get better access to more desirable educational opportunities (Gamoran, 2001).

    In other words, students at suburban schools tend to have a much more enriching educational experience than those from the inner-cities. It is not a great coincidence why they tend to outperform their urban counterparts.
    It further states:

    Finally, as the issue of race slowly transitions into a matter of economic discrepancy between the haves and the have-nots, it is important to understand that education is still the number one predictor of economic and social upward mobilization (Gamoran, 2001). Thus, inequalities within the educational system of the United States severely hinder the image of the United States as the rags to riches capital of the world. Horatio Alger would be very disappointed; but on a more serious note, this can further widen the gap between the affluent and the destitute.
    Last edited by reefedjib; 05-02-10 at 09:20 AM.

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    Re: Why do the poor do badly in school?

    Lots of poor people-lots of valid answers

    1) people who have hard working parents have examples that inspire them to work hard in school. People who don't have say a father at home don't get that support

    2) cultural reasons. Some ethnic groups -even when they were the target of oppression-overachieve because their culture values education. Other groups do not have that advantage


    3) schools that are infected with people who don't give a damn and teachers who either don't care or have given up caring. An environment hostile to educational achievement is not going to turn out as many good students as a school system full of kids who want to get into UCLA or Duke



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    Re: Why do the poor do badly in school?

    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleDude View Post

    1) people who have hard working parents have examples that inspire them to work hard in school. People who don't have say a father at home don't get that support
    If I was to rank them, this would probably be the top reason, though I would add peers along to it. If your parent(s) and peers don't provide positive feedback towards the importance of school, you are not likely to value it.

    Quick note: the military is a great equalizer, and I wish we could get more poor people interested in it.
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