Student Poverty Isn’t an Excuse: It is an Obstacle to Learning

Diane Ravitch's blog

Not so long ago, “reformers” belittled anyone who called attention to poverty and said they were making excuses for bad teachers. All children could reach the highest heights on academic measures, they insisted, if they all had great teachers. We still don’t have an existence proof of the reformers’ assertions, but the good news is that even reformers are beginning to acknowledge that poverty gets in the way of learning as well as harming children’s life prospects. It is true that we have not heard that admission by Arne Duncan or Michelle Rhee or Bill Gates or Wendy Kopp, but the time when they made proclamations about the unimportance of poverty seems to have past.

In this article, Helen Ladd, Pedro Noguera, Paul Reville, and Joshua Starr make the case for the renewed attention to the effects of poverty on children. The strategy of denying the effects of poverty has…

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