Dr. Tyra Seldon: We Can’t Educate Our Kids Because We Don’t Pay Attention to Poverty

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By Dr. Tyra Seldon

Why do some children perform so poorly in school? Some practitioners and researchers point to an American culture that is generally apathetic about education. Others suggest that inadequate facilities and poorly trained, underpaid teachers are the true culprits. Yet another school of thought would advocate that everything could be traced back to a lack of parental involvement.

A new study argues that the ultimate villain is poverty.

A recent report titled, “Poverty and Education, Finding the Way Forward” suggests that 22% of all American children live in poverty.  According the report, the United States has the second highest child poverty rate of the world’s 35 richest nations (second only to Romania).

The authors believe that children raised in poor households are less likely to finish school; they will grow up to earn less than their peers do; and they are three times as likely to have poor health. In addition, poor males are twice as likely to be arrested whereas poor women are five times more likely to have children outside of marriage. Coupled together, the effects of childhood poverty costs the United States an estimated $500 billion a year.

The study suggests that the educational system needs to be revamped to meet the needs of poor children. Amongst other solutions, the study advocates rethinking how funds are allocated for schools in high poverty areas; increasing access to high quality early learning centers; and addressing the racial and economic segregation that is prevalent in most American schools.

Of course, this is not the first study to highlight a correlation between poverty and educational outcomes.  What makes this educational study unique is the fact that it begs the question of how one of the richest nations in the world can have some of its poorest children?





  1. We do need larger investment in public education and there needs to be changes in the way we provide education to our children. One of the reasons poor children don’t have access to high quality education is that most public education is funded by property tax revenue and most states match the funds based on how much property tax revenue is paid in a community. Obviously, many poor neighborhoods have a low property ownership rate. That’s one thing that needs to change.

    Secondly, we must expand Early Childhood Development and Education programs especially in poor neighborhoods where children are more at risk of things like “poverty-to-prison” pipeline. We need universal preschool as well as Early Childhood Intervention programs to respond to children and families most “at-risk”. Another idea is in underserved urban areas there needs what is called Community Wraparound Model, where a child receives academic assistance, health care services, and social services where they go to school.

    Off course, the wealthy and the coportations need to pay their fair share of taxes. Remember, we the people are the best ones to speak up for our children and remind the government why children matter.

  2. Why don’t these poor parents get up off their azzz and put in the work necessary to improve their kids schools? The problem is f*cked up priorities. Black parents or should i say single black mothers got time to get their hair and nails done or go clubbing or lay up with some dude or dudes but don’t have time to come to a school board meeting, pta meeting, parent teacher conference or open school night. They got time to do everything but raise up their kids right so they don’t make teaching a nightmare for teachers to have to deal with. They got time for everything but they dont have time to talk to teachers who call them about their bad azz unruly undisciplined kids. Kids got time to line to buy $200 sneakers but don’t have time to get to school on time, do homework, or study. Ask me how I know, my moms worked in one of the worst schools in Newark and took an early retirement because she was tired of the violence and the disrespect she got from the bad azz kids and their ignorant azz mothers wouldnt even come to the damn school until they found out their dumb azzz kids were gonna get left back for the 2nd time, then they wanna come to the school screaming at my moms and other teachers saying they didn’t do their jobs, naw the bitches didn’t do THEIR job as parents when my moms and other teachers kept calling to tell them that their kids weren’t doing the work or weren’t showing up at all. Then these same trifling azz mothers want to sneak their kids into good schools in good neighborhoods where people of all races live and have to pay taxes up the azz for their good schools. They when they get caught and arrested and locked up they wanna cry about how they wanted their kid to get a good education, naw, they were just too dayum lazy to do the legwork to improve the schools in their own neighborhoods. As long as black people keep doing slacking off and not doing their job to make their schools in their neighborhoods better nothing is gonna change and 50 years from now yall will be making the same stupid excuses for why some of these black kids ain’t learning sh*t.

  3. This is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Short but very precise info… Many thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

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