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Slavery and Poverty not a choice

Kevin Palmer

Slavery and Poverty not a choice

By Kevin Palmer

Poor families are to blame for their poorly educated children, so says a Georgia Budget & Policy Institute (GBPI) website article, Tackle Poverty’s Effects to Improve School Performance. Citing a summer 2017 GBPI school district survey, “Seventy percent of Georgia’s school district leaders say poverty is the most significant out-of-school issue that limits student learning. Poverty imposes significant barriers to learning on children. Low-income children often are not ready to learn when they enter the classroom, from Kindergarten to twelfth grade.” The article is must reading for white and Black conservatives who love to blame poor Blacks for their lack of academic achievement.

District leaders from 124 of Georgia’s 180 districts responded to the survey in such a way as to throw poor black students under the bus. Their responses suggest poor students are responsible for low performing schools, not inexperienced, uninspiring principals and teachers. Even the article stated, “Teachers are the most influential factor in student learning. Principals are second only to teachers in fostering high levels of learning.” The problem is inexperienced principals and teachers are assigned to neglected schools with majority disadvantaged students. Furthermore, they lack the skill-set to effectively administer and teach. As a result, over 25 percent become frustrated and leave. This has an adverse effect on the school climate and public perception.

Moreover, the article mentioned schools earn low scores where low-income black students comprise the majority of students. The article explains, “Too often these schools are in communities whose members have long faced barriers to well-paying jobs, post-secondary institutions, healthcare, safe and affordable housing, and other resources that build the pathway to economic opportunity.” The barriers are racist policies which ensure the majority of blacks remain low-income and poorly educated.

Therefore, to say disadvantaged Black children are responsible for low performing schools is just as ignorant as Kanye West suggesting slavery was a choice.

 

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