Experiencesof Poverty and Educational Disadvantage
Experiencesof Poverty and Educational Disadvantage
Thepurpose of the article “Experiences of poverty and educationaldisadvantage” is to show the relationship between lowsocial-economy and performance in school. Hirsch introduces thearticle by suggesting that the formulation of effective educationalpolicies and curriculum can only be achieved if factors thatinfluence social differences in the education sector are wellunderstood. The author uses the findings of the previous research toshow the relationship that exists between performance at school andpoverty and how a cycle of poverty is established in certainfamilies. In addition, Hirsch identifies five key aspects oflearners’ background that affect their performance in school. Thesefactors include gender difference, racial difference, homeenvironment, aspects of school quality, and the experience ofteachers in schools. The author asserts that children become aware oftheir social backgrounds and acquire some perception about theirlimitations from early stages of development.
Theauthor also discusses several factors that make a difference betweenchildren with regard to the effect of their perception about socialbackground on academic performance. Some of the key factors thatauthor identifies include early experience, attitude andrelationships, activities that students do outside school, andhomework. These factors account for the differences in the waystudents interact with the education scheme. For example, childrenfrom poor families lack confidence in their personal abilities andthis makes them develop a negative attitude towards the educationsystem compared to children from rich families. Consequently,children with a poor social background perceive schools deny them anopportunity to develop cooperative relationships. In addition,children from well-off families often get assistance andencouragement from parents, especially when handling homework, unliketheir counterparts from poor families where parents have little timeto spend with their children. The author concludes that the existingsocial gap in academics is caused by events happening in theclassroom and across the lives of children.
Majorclaims and their rationale
Theauthor makes four major claims pertaining to the differences in theinteraction of students with the education system. First, the authorasserts that children from the disadvantaged backgrounds performworse in school compared to those from better-off schools. The authoruses the supply of free school meals as the major indicator ofpoverty. This implies that students who receive free meals becomeaware of their poverty at an early age. This reinforces theperception that the poor children cannot excel equal to thebetter-off children.
Secondly,the author claims that socioeconomic conditions that childrenexperience contribute towards the transmission of poverty acrossseveral generations. This is attributed to lack of opportunities, lowqualifications, and skills among the poor parents. The poor parentsface the challenge of balancing between economic demands of parentingand devoting more time for their children.
Third,Hirsch claims that children who grow up in poverty ends up beingdisadvantaged even during adulthood. This claim is supported by thenotion that children with a poor background are less likely toachieve good academic qualifications and this affects their careerchoice and on-the job performance during adulthood. In addition,people who experience financial difficulties in early age performpoorly in the job market compared to people who are brought up inrich families.
Fourth,the author claims that students’ background has the capacity todetermine their performance in school. Some of the key aspects ofstudents’ background that affect their performance include gender,race, and the environment in which they grow up. Although there areno reasons given, the author asserts that academic performance of thedisadvantaged boys is affected more than that of girls. Similarly,the disadvantaged White children are affected by poverty more thanchildren from other races. In addition, children who are brought upin urban areas have low achievement in school, especially if theyreceive free meals. This is because their living conditions increasethe chances for them to acquire a perception that they are alreadydisadvantaged, which makes them lose confidence.
Iam in agreement with most of the claims made by Hirsch. To beginwith, the issue of giving some students’ free meal on the basis oftheir poverty is sufficient to make them feel that they are differentfrom those can afford the meal. Although the free meals offered inthe school are intended to support the poor children, it leaves anegative perception that affects their performance in the school andthe labor market. In addition, I agree with the author on the claimthat socioeconomic conditions transmit poverty from childhood toadulthood. This is because children from poor families begin life ona wrong footing, which means that they lack an opportunity to buildup a firm foundation for their future. Although I agree with theauthor on several claims, I disagree with the notion that race andgender are associated with low achievement among the disadvantagedchildren. This is because the effect of poverty on academicperformance depends on the extent to which children perceive thatthey are incapable, but not on their race or gender differences. Inaddition, it is not guaranteed that children from poor families willalso become poor in adulthood. In some cases, people work hard andchange their situations.
Inconclusion, the article “Experiences of poverty and educationaldisadvantage” establishes the association between poverty andchildren’s achievement in school. Children’s background affectstheir performance at school by determining whether they will acquirethe confidence of not in early age. Based on the association betweenpoverty and performance in school it can be projected that lack of asuitable background to prepare for the future subjects the poorchildren to the risk of living in poverty, just like their parents.This explains why the cycle of poverty remains in some families whilethe rich families continue getting rich. However, there are someinstances in which poor children manage to break the cycle and getrich in their adulthood.
Hirsch,D. (2007). Experiencesof poverty and educational disadvantage.Water End York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.