So where do I go w/ the aspect of poverty? I'm not sure...the demographic this school serves is extremely poor. Let me just lay out some data that I've researched:
- In NC, poverty is classified as a family of 4 making a total yearly income of $23,000. Over half the demographic of this school is AT or BELOW the poverty line.
- 100% of the school receives either a free or reduced cost lunch. That's huge! In my child's school, only 20% of the students need assistance. There are 450 students at this school while there are almost 800 at my child's...incredible.
- Test scores in reading and math for 3rd-5th grade are 30-50% lower than the state average
- Children in 4th grade who read at a 2nd grade level or lower
- Children who come to school with a myriad of emotional, behavioral and physical issues
- Children who are not fed, bathed and taken care of on a daily basis
I've only been at this school for a few months, but in that time, I've realized that there is a huge problem. I know what I read in the papers and hear on television - American schools are broken. But I think it's more than that...and I think public education has become the scapegoat to fix all that is wrong in our society. How can educators be expected to fix what they can't control? How do we tackle poverty in our schools and our communities? How do we give children a chance at life between the hours of 3:30pm-6:30am? or in the summer? How do we get parents, who can't even take care of themselves, to take care of their children, let alone their child's educational needs?
I don't know the answers and I have a lot more questions.