Poverty Is The Main Hindrance To Education—Not Teachers

Jan 9, 2019

  Commentary: On Friday evening January 4, I and a middle school teacher friend of mine went to Centennial high school where State Senator Bill Soules talked about education issues they were going to address in the upcoming legislative session. Superintendent Greg Ewing was also at this session, along with about 50 teachers and parents.  Soules was glad that newly elected Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham would discontinue the use of the controversial PARCC standardized test. In general, teachers and parents at this meeting applauded this action by the Governor. Senator Soules said that an alternative testing approach had not been put forth yet but would be addressed when the legislative session begins.

The current evaluation process of teachers and school management is unrealistic. According to David Berliner, Education Psychologist at Arizona State University--the key factors that lead to good education are not improving or reforming the schools, changing the curriculum or the training or commitment of teachers. The root of Americans educational problems is the number of Americans living in poverty. It is the number of kids living in dysfunctional families where drug addictions or mental illness are not treated. Where food insecurity or hunger is a regular occurrence and with no access to computers in the home because of limited Wi-Fi connections. Homework today is mainly electronic, and testing is done on the computer.

How can teachers demonstrate progress with students that have these problems? There not miracle workers. Any evaluation system put in place must take account of these factors plus the culture and background of families that live in the area.