3 Studies: Poverty Is Toxic to Childhood Learning

Tanya H. Lee


The Children’s Defense Fund reports that nearly 1 in 5 children in America is poor. For American Indian/Alaska Native children, the number is 1 in 3. The organization reports, “American Indian/Alaska Native students fall behind early on and do not catch up. More than 75 percent of fourth and eighth grade American Indian/Alaska Native students could not read or compute at grade level in 2013, compared to less than 57 percent White students and less than 51 percent Asian students.”

Child poverty is a national security issue—losing so much of the next generation to poor educational outcomes puts huge pressure on our country’s resources. It is an economic security issue if so many of our people are too poorly educated to get and hold good jobs, contribute to economic growth and pay taxes. And it is clearly a human rights issue. Britain is one country that has proved that these child poverty numbers are not written in stone. Through a multi-faceted approach and an adequately-funded national commitment to solve the problem, Britain has cut child poverty in half—from 26.1 percent in 1999 to 10.6 percent in 2010.


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Dr. R's picture
Dr. R
Submitted by Dr. R on
"Poverty" is a term that must be defined to make one aware of it. If I live in a dirt home, with no running water and use an out-house for waste disposal; am I in poverty? If I choose to believe I live in simplistic terms how does that make my children know, before school age, that they live in "poverty?" How does their brain's physical development know that we live under a specified money income range? The term "poverty" is a trap, a means to addict those who do not live according to another's definition of wealth to demand for "free" items to bring one to some social standard. Instead this article should be emphasizing the need for all parents to address the nutritional needs of their children as well as the emotional/spiritual needs. Parents need to teach their children: which is what parents are: teachers of the future generations. Do not fall victim to the word-game: you are in poverty if you believe you are poor. But know that "poor" to those people means "less money." Not what your value is. And if you do subscribe to the european term of what "poverty" is then do something to live differently. If you believe that material goods and amounts of money are only a trap to ensnare one into someone else's version of what your life is about then make sure your children know they are loved, wanted and that you are the care of and the teacher of their lives: not some doctor who is making money selling other people's concepts and definitions.