How Do You Get 3Rd Grade To Memorize Math Facts Poverty and Academic Failure

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Poverty and Academic Failure

Educators and politicians alike have been concerned about the troubling academic performance of students in poverty. Efforts to change school failure from poverty began in the 1960s with Johnson’s Great Society and Head Start for four-year-olds. When these efforts failed to achieve their goals, he even began earlier schooling for three-year-olds. That didn’t work either, so education reform efforts continued to culminate in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The increased demands on students and teachers have produced no substantial change other than rising high school dropout rates due to students’ inability to complete the more difficult graduation requirements. The results have been decades of wasted money, work and personal effort from children to adults.

What went wrong

The researchers found that decision-making under pressure typically results in doing more of the same thing, longer and harder. The problem with pressured decision making is that human emotions (especially fears) limit our view of options. Consequently, creative responses to situations are lost in the mind’s search for the known or known. When in doubt, ask any artist; The pressure to perform reduces innovation and productivity.

Information from the 1960s could have been used to create change, but no one seems to have been thinking, analyzing or even looking for the underlying cause. Let’s be kind and generous: task analysis skills had not yet been applied to problem solving and public policy. But then again, the politicians driving education reform efforts tend to be lawyers and not trained in education or decision making, they just think processes around the rules (compliance, evasion, enforcement).

Researchers in the 1960s and 1970s and beyond have examined the structure of language, the role of language in learning, how language affects thinking, the relationships between perception and language, and other complex and esoteric topics. For most people, this information is irrelevant to education, because the fundamental information has been ignored: language is the basis of everything in school. Educators have also demonstrated another fatal flaw, that of assumptions. In designing the scope and sequences of curriculum materials and content, they assume that all children have the same developed language skills by the time they enter kindergarten.

Another research that has been ignored is that adults and children in poverty have different language skills and ways of using their own language compared to those in the middle and upper classes. Parents, who teach children language skills, have the same deficits as children. Is it a surprise? This should be a clue to the pervasiveness of the problem, but politicians and educators ignore the fact that oral language skills must be taught to bring children from poverty to the skill levels of middle-class children and high

What to watch now

Children in poverty lack oral language skills, both in structure and vocabulary, that allow them to describe objects, actions, and time. Yes, they can say simple things to convey information, and we don’t realize that their language skills are not the same as ours. They may say something like: A boy was playing with a ball. it is red He threw the ball on the pavement. The ball went over the fence. What they do have difficulty with is reading descriptive paragraphs that dominate reading books and texts above third grade. An example of such a description is: The short, active boy, while throwing the red rubber ball with extreme force within the confines of a fenced, paved playground, sent the ball sailing over the chain link fence.

Why the difference is important

The first is all simple sentences that tell what happened in an event. There is no description of person, objects, action, place, time, or relationships that are not direct (in, about, with).

The second describes the person (short, active), the objects (red, rubber, paved, chained), the action (with extreme force) and the time (while bouncing…). It allows for concepts such as cause and effect (force . . . send the ball), inference (a chain link fence forming a secure perimeter or limited access), and context clues (the end gains a pressure meaning by make a ball bounce high) . It is a complex sentence that establishes a hierarchy (dominance of one idea over another). This internal hierarchical relationship forces the brain to work differently, beyond the limits of sensory experience; allows the development of formal or adult reasoning skills.

When students do not have the linguistic structure of the example in the second sentence, the description confuses them when they read. They do not understand what they read in stories and other texts. They do not develop the abstract reasoning that allows the understanding of the invisible, as in concepts such as responsibility, democracy or genetic influence on cellular reproduction.

The impact on education is two-fold: teachers must simplify and/or “dummy” concepts for students to understand class assignments, and students cannot read and write adequately to pass classroom tests or state assessments (which, luckily for many, are multiple-choice tests that they can guess at to improve their scores).

Some Solutions

One solution to this unaddressed problem is for early childhood programs (Head Start, Even Start, Jump Start, etc.) to shift the emphasis from reading and math readiness to the domains of oral language development, social play creative and the thick physique (large muscle). activity These are the foundations of academic outcomes that do not happen for children who stay in enclosed spaces (homes and apartments) for safety, watch television for entertainment or babysitting services, and do not engage in extended conversations to learn social skills and sharing.

A second solution is to redesign primary education. Reading instruction should not begin before children are developmentally ready; it could easily be delayed until first or even second grade when children are more neurologically ready for instruction. Kindergarten could easily return to what it was before NCLB with social and imaginative play, lots of physical activity, and increased oral language stimulation. “Lag grades” could focus on developing oral language skills so that when children receive reading instruction, they will understand both the instruction and what they read.

A third solution is for schools to offer literacy classes for parents alongside their children’s classes. Unemployed parents could be asked to come into the classroom and help teachers teach their children the speaking skills needed for academic readiness. If schools offered structured training to these adults, the development of skills would affect the future of two generations simultaneously. An even more novel approach to doing this kind of family support would be to tie it to an increase in unemployment, welfare or disability pay, so that adults could re-enter the workforce at the same time as as they themselves experience skill development.

Others might come up with other solutions to the problem. The point is that emotional stress has been limiting our efforts at educational reform. Because education has been limited, lives have been limited or ultimately lost because of alternatives people choose to dull the emotions of failure. Our leaders must open their hearts and minds and allow others to contribute to decision-making processes. When that happens, we will find better solutions. For now, people have to make their own choices, some of which readers can find in Parents Teach Kids.

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