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Impact of Poverty on Education

1. Poverty Issues Get Short Shrift in Today’s Education Debate by G. Bracey

Short article by Gerald Bracey cites some of the problems associated with poverty such as lack of pre-natal care and stunted growth which have consequences in education. He states that this is not news, but a problem that is persistent.


2. Poverty & Potential: Out-of-school Factors and School Success by David Berliner

Long and excellent article focusing on seven out-of-school factors that have a major impact on education. The author’s focus on these factors is to emphasize that the “achievement gap” will only be narrowed when these factors are addressed. The seven factors are birth weight, medical care, food insecurity, pollutants, family relations & stress, neighborhood norms and extended learning opportunities. brief and download full article

3. Class and Schools by Richard Rothstein

In this book the author establishes how economic conditions impact education and he also addresses some current arguments in Chapter 2 - Schools that “beat the demographic odds”. Other chapters are about testing, cognitive skills, non-cognitive skill and reforms that could help.

Summary of the book at

4. PISA: It’s Poverty Not Stupid

The 2009 PISA test results showed the U.S. ranking 14th among the nations tested, but test results also show a direct correlation between poverty and test scores. Schools in the U.S. with less than a 10% poverty rate had a PISA score of 551 which would rank it first among countries with similar poverty rates. The author comments that Sec. of Education Arne Duncan,“ doesn’t trust us enough to tell us the truth.”

Chicago Teachers Union