In February 2016, an interesting article came out of the Pew Research Center titled What Americans say it takes to be middle class by Anna Brown. While respondents to the poll agreed that job security and money management skills are necessary for a person to be included in the American middle class, an unexpected answer was given regarding the necessity of a college education. Only 30% (see Figure 1) of American adults polled believe that a college education is necessary to be included in the US middle class. In addition, some recent reports show that the percentage of high school graduates enrolling in college is declining (Norris, 2014). Meanwhile, the percentage of impoverished students attending public elementary and secondary schools has increased to 51% nation wide, indicating a growing percentage of Americans living in poverty (SEF, 2015). There seems to be a real disconnect between the perceived objective to gain economic stability in one’s lifetime, and the value placed on the resources (education) available to help achieve that goal.
These statistics beg the follow up questions:
- How does one achieve job security?
- How does one learn money management skills?
Poverty affects people across all lines – race, ethnicity, gender, and age – yet is one of the least discussed issues in our classrooms and communities. Poverty is one of the great levelers of human communities, depriving people of opportunity and resources equitably. Likewise, education is the greatest leveler of mankind, providing opportunities and access to resources for a lifetime of greater successes. It is the goal of this website to open the conversation to parents, teachers, students, and community members to discuss the effects poverty has on school performance and development of life-long learning skills. It is our hope to provide resources, analysis, and supportive materials to those interested in closing the gap between socioeconomic status and education achievement.
Brown, A., & Posts. (2016, February 4). What Americans say it takes to be middle class. Retrieved March 23, 2016, from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/04/what-americans-say-it-takes-to-be-middle-class/
Norris, F. (2015, January 9). Fewer U.S. Graduates opt for college after high school.Business Day. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/26/business/fewer-us-high-school-graduates-opt-for-college.html?_r=0
Southern Education Foundation (2015) A new majority research bulletin: Low income students now a majority in the nation’s public schools. Retrieved March 23, 2016, from http://www.southerneducation.org/Our-Strategies/Research-and-Publications/New-Majority-Diverse-Majority-Report-Series/A-New-Majority-2015-Update-Low-Income-Students-Now