Poverty, which forms a specific way of life and culture, is an ever-growing issue in the United States. Over the years, the number of Americans who live in poverty becomes increasingly high. Poverty is defined as the condition where people’s basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing are not met. It is the extent to which emotional, financial, spiritual and physical resources are lacking. Student’s academic success is directly affected by poverty due to the lack of resources necessary for academic achievement. Lack of resources is one of the contributory factors to low achievement and there is a direct link between low achievement and a family’s socioeconomic status.
Although there are several contributory factors to the issue of poverty, one of the main cause of poverty affecting children and their families is lack of proper education. The academic success of a child can be determined by the parent’s level of education at the time of their birth. Oftentimes, if a child’s parents did not finish high school, it is likely that they will follow the same pattern which puts them at a greater risk of dropping out of school. This is mostly due to the low level of education attained by their parents and the insufficient exposure to educational experiences. Parents living in poverty possess so little, thus the educational resources needed to foster growth and development in the child is almost non-existent. Without these means necessary for development, the readiness gap for low-income children is greatly affected.
In addition to the lack of education in low-income families, poverty can cause a major breakdown in the structure of the family. The family and the home is always considered the most important unit where a child is taught how to socialize, but this is not so in low-income families. It is the family’s duty to ensure that important educational values are passed down to the child, which will ultimately play a major role in helping them to adapt to the many opportunities that society presents, again, this is not the case in poverty-stricken households. Initial parent-child relationship is almost non-exist in low-income households, as a result several aspects of the child’s life is affected. Social withdrawal occurs as a result of not being exposed to an environment that involves interactive learning that fosters growth and social development. Therefore, a child may not be willing or is unable to interact effectively with peers or adults, which will have a direct impact on learning.
While America is considered one of the most developed countries in the world, it is said to have one of the highest number of childhood poverty globally. Children who were born or raised in low-income household, are at a greater disadvantage in the educational setting. This is so because poverty minimize a child’s readiness for school, which affects their ability to focus and ability to remember information. Motor skills, the ability to stay motivated and alert is also greatly reduced. With the readiness gap affecting their chances of being on the same level as their peers, they are more likely to perform more poorly on standardized tests compared to their wealthier peers. This puts them at a greater risk for dropping out of school.
With the issue of poverty disrupting the structure of families, a bigger concern comes into play, and that is stress. Normally, families experiencing economic hardships tend to have a higher level of stress because of the unforgiving reality of poverty. This will have a vast impact of the parent’s mental health and well-being, which will result in them using methods of parenting that are a lot more harsh and controlling. That is to say that parents who are constantly stressed and overcome with the pressures of poverty are not able to cater to the emotional, psychosocial, and cognitive needs of their children, and this will likely result in behavioral and developmental problems.
Altogether, poverty is a prevalent problem affecting several aspects of family life and children’s academic performance around the world. Educating oneself is the most important factor in breaking the unforgiving cycle of poverty, while the lack of education remains a primary cause of poverty. Children born or raised into poverty-stricken families are no less intelligent than any other individuals, they simply have not had meaningful parent-child relationship to foster their growth and development. Students born or raised into poverty-stricken homes have great potential that can help them escape poverty, but this will only happen if intervention programs for both parents and children become mandatory.