Thursday, 05 February 2015 00:37

Income, Education Dual Factors in Poverty Cycle Featured

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Dr. Michael Omidi is co-founder of No More Poverty, among other charities. Here he discusses poverty in American schools.

According to a CNN report, half of all children qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches this year, compared to just 32 percent in 1989. Steve Suitts believes that one of the reasons poverty is increasing, despite the economy being on the rise, is that there are not enough well-paying jobs to help lift families out of bad financial situations.

The performance gap between low income students and those who are not classified as such is large. In 2013, 20 percent of eighth grade students from low income families were proficient in math, compared to 49 percent of eighth graders not classified in the lower income range. The results are similar with reading proficiency. Concerns arise when these students become old enough to enter the workforce. Low income students will enter the workforce ill equipped to compete in a changing economic environment. As workplaces become more technologically oriented, and finding qualified employees becomes more difficult, there almost certainly will not be enough eligible candidates in the American talent pool.

A lack of skills will not allow lower income families to rise out of the cycle of poverty. also points out some key facts about students who come from low income families:

• Children who live in poverty have higher rates of school absenteeism or drop out because they have to work or take care of family members.

• Less than 30 percent of students who come from the bottom quartile of incomes go into a four year university, and less than half in that group graduates.

• By the time they hit fourth grade, low income students are two years behind their peers in terms of grade level. When they finish high school, the gap turns into four years.

Education is an important tool to help slow down the cycle of poverty. It provides people with marketable skills and the ability to adapt to a changing workforce. With the demand for technological skills on the rise, it is important for this country to create a good educational foundation for all of its students.

Striving to eradicate poverty can benefit our society as a whole. The easiest way to do this is to make sure low income students get the benefits and opportunities that higher income students have. This would allow those on the lower end of the economic ladder to contribute equally to our society, and possibly even make it better.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

The Omidi brothers, Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi, along with their mother, Cindy Omidi, are founders of several charities dedicated to making the world a better place.

Read 1086 times Last modified on Thursday, 05 February 2015 00:51

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