Poverty and Education

Over the past few months I have learned a lot about Rochester and the concentrated poverty within the city. Specifically, I have learned about the flee from the city to the suburbs by many who are not willing to raise families here and send their children to these schools. These families have the knowledge and means (money) to move the suburbs. The relationship between education and poverty can be seen throughout the Rochester community.

The following is information from Dr. Vargas’s (interim superintendent) State of our Schools address.

-There are more than 32,500 students.

-About 64 percent are African American, 22 percent Hispanic and 11 percent white. Three

  percent are Asian or from other backgrounds.

-Nearly 90 percent come from low‐income families.

-About one‐fifth of them have special needs.

-And they come from all over the world, with about 90 different languages spoken at home.

Many children in poverty live in a concentrated area and many children out of poverty live away from that area. Many adults in poverty live in a concentrated area and many adults out of poverty live away from that area. I have gained more knowledge about the continuous cycle of poverty. I have learned that urban school systems strongly effect this cycle (with some things in their control and some things out of their control). I have not learned how to fix it. I have not learned if anyone else within my organization cares to fix the big picture. I have learned that the educational system puts a great amount of time and effort into fixing problems as they manifest but this makes me question whether they are acknowledging the overarching problem…poverty.  I have learned that many systems are reactive instead of proactive and preventative. Until systems have strong, successful, well-researched, proactive and preventative practices in place, the cycle continues.

If systems were proactive and preventative, the illiteracy rate in adults in areas of Rochester would not be this high. http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20120308/OPINION04/303080017/Confront-adult-illiteracy-in-Rochester?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Home|p

 The Rochester Literacy Movement is reacting to this problem, as they should, by providing tutoring and resources to adults who are illiterate. But systems should be in place that prevent this problem from being so prevalent. If these systems are in place, which many argue that they are, they need to be revisited and strengthened. I have learned a lot about the connection between education and socio-economic status in Rochester …I hope to continue to learn and do my part to change the cycle.


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