Why Are We Giving The Least To The Kids That Need The Most in School?

Poverty and Education: It’s not just about classes, it’s about breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The link between poverty and education creates special challenges for educators in Michigan, both in Detroit and in the suburbs. As a part of the ongoing Detroit By The Numbers series, Sandra talks to Bridge Magazine‘s Chastity Pratt Dawsey, EdTrust Midwest‘s Amber Arellano and Detroit Edison Public School Academy Superintendent Ralph Bland. They discuss what schools are doing to help low-income children and families and the successes and failures they’re having. Plus, callers weigh in with what they’ve done and what they think would help.

Here are five things you should know from the conversation:

  • Research shows that the gap between low-income students and middle-income students is twice as large as the black-white gap. It’s the number one indicator in a lot of instances as to whether students are going to achieve,” says Dawsey.
  • A real difference could be made if wrap-around services could be offered by schools,” says Bland. This would mean that schools would partner with community resources to help provide health care, dental care and nourishment for students, providing much needed help to children that lack other support.
  • Michigan is among the worst 6 states in the country with respect to funding gaps between low- and high-poverty schools, around $1,700 per student according to Arellano.
  • High poverty among students does not mean that a school will necessarily be underperforming. EdTrust has found some high-poverty schools around the country that perform in the top 20 percent in terms of achievement in there states. 
  • Parents and teachers also need support. “It’s not just the kids that need support, but the parents and the teachers and the principals of the schools need support as well,” says Arellano.

​Click on the audio link above to hear the whole conversation.