Basics like food, clothing, and shelter are necessities for impoverished kids if we want them to break the curse of #generational poverty. According to the #National Center on Family Homelessness, 2.5 million children are now homeless each year in America. This historic high represents one in every 30 children in the United States. Another way of understanding this is to say that in every public school classroom, 1 student is homeless and hungry each day.
A free public school education has long been heralded as the great equalizer. This gateway was supposed to be used by the masses, immigrants, and poor, to ascend to middle-class status in America.
My dismay as a teacher in an #urban school setting was the amount of time we had to devote to feeding the kids breakfast, lunch, and an afterschool snack. I can recall a fifth-grade overweight student crying after lunch saying that he was still hungry. I wondered how I was going to teach him. Needless to say, we were able to find another lunch that a classmate didn’t want.
I was concerned because this male student was obese and was performing significantly below-grade level in all of his subjects. His school records indicated a history of his single mom moving him and his siblings to different schools and states without completing a full school year. His focus each day was on what was for lunch and he watched the clock to make sure that we weren’t late for lunch.
I worked hard each day to build rapport and to bring him up to grade level. After a few weeks however, he was moved to a different school, because of his need for one-to-one individualized instruction. I wonder how that middle school student is doing today. Can he read beyond a third grade level? Is he still consumed with getting enough to eat? Will he ever break the curse of generational poverty?
Education Week reported that between the 2007-08 and 2015-16 academic years, there was a 23 percent decline in the number of people completing teacher-preparation programs. For existing teachers, burnout is high due to the demands of high stakes testing, crowded classrooms, excessive micromanagement, etc.
Public schools are where caring professionals have an opportunity to intervene in a poor student’s life and hopefully end the poverty cycle. However, to be effective in a low-income student’s life, teachers must be supported by parents, administrators, and the community.
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. Matthew 24:12 NIV