Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 5/Student Soapbox

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Foundations Chapter 5 Student Soap Box

A fairly common American belief is that anyone can succeed if they only set their mind to it. In contrast, others argue that societal forces, such as a lack of resources, preclude certain individuals from success. What do you believe?

Research has consistently shown a strong relationship between socio-economic status (SES) and academic achievement. Kids living in poverty score lower on standardized test than kids from middle and upper class households. Why do you think this is so?

Do schools have a responsibility to provide more resources to students of low SES, to help boost their performance to that of their more affluent peers? Or should equal resources be provided to all students regardless of economic status?

Add your response below. Extra credit will be awarded to multimedia responses.

Helping hand or help yourself?[edit | edit source]

I think equal resources should be available to all students. Just because a students' parents meet a financial cut-off doesn't mean they have access to all resources other students have. I think that students who need to use the resources will and those who have those resources at home will use their own.Jnemo001 (talk) 03:19, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I believe the saying that anyone can succeed if they put their mind to it, but if the proper resources are not available then how can they. I think schools should do everything to get the resources to help students, but not only in the lower economic status, but the middle and upper economic statuses as well. Another way to look at this is that not all schools have the money to give the students the resources that they need so this hinders the student from learning.Msmhobbs04 (talk) 19:14, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

I think everyone can succeed if they put their mind to it and work hard for what they want. I know some lack resources, however, people do rise above this. The first example that pops in my mind is the homeless girl that went to Harvard. She is quite the example, but it is a true story. She was so determined to rise above her homelessness and make it to Harvard for a better education that she succeeded. Not to say it was easy, but it can be done. The children living in poverty might score lower on standardized tests because they do not have the same kind of support that children from middle and upper class households. Some of these kids parents must work long hours and are not home to help with the homework. The students have to do it on their own, and some of them are not as disciplined or cannot do it on their own, causing their scores to go down. More resources, or at least help, seems like it would help students of low SES, instead of hinder. Hasn't it been proven before that there really aren't equal resources provided to all students regardless of economic status? Maybe if there were equal resources, students of low SES would be given more support and help than they are receiving now. Hcogg001 (talk) 16:48, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe that everyone can be successful if they work hard and put forth the right amount of effort. However, in some school systems children are suffering because they do not have the resources they need at home or in some cases in the classroom. The poverty in some neighborhoods and school systems can actually prevent a student from reaching the level of success they may desire. With the high rates of divorce today many children are being raised in a single family home where parents are forced to in some case work long hours and sometimes even multiple jobs. Children succeeding in school can happen but in some cases those children are going to have to work twice as hard because they do not have the resources or assistance from heir parents. Educators can help make a difference everyday especially when the children are not receiving the support they need at home. Lwill031 (talk) 14:34, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

I think anyone can succeed if they put forth the effort. Certainly, some of us have the odds stacked against us as far as money and living situations go...but that isn't to say a person can't escape poverty and make a better life for themselves. BUT, look at the demographic of the people answering this question. Obviously we are all college students who have been given the opportunity somehow to be here taking this class. If you asked someone else in a different situation they may feel completely opposite. Not everyone can come from a single-parent family and succeed in life enough to become PRESIDENT, but maybe everyone gets the chance. I remember learning in a class how it’s essential for children to develop good reading habits by being read to, and how the children who were read to in the program succeeded more as adults. In cases like that, I don’t think you can argue that some children aren’t given a very good start in life because of family situations, but these days there are programs to help these children like Head Start…etc.Ldomm002 (talk) 02:29, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

I am kind of on the line on this topic. I definitely believe anyone can succeed if they put their mind to it. But, if you are considered poverty level you have many more obstacles to face than someone who is not. Sure money is one main issue but what about home/family life. If your family is in the "cycle of poverty" how do you get out? If you go to a school that has a low quality education you are already at a disadvantage. What if you have parents that do not help you or even care if you are doing well in school? If you are a young child how do you overcome that? You have to be taught ambition and want to succeed. If this is not modeled in your home how do you know? Poor families are definitely less able than other families. It is stressful not having money. Poverty I think absolutely affects student performance. Also kids that are poverty level sometimes get bullied and picked on because of it. Their peers give them a hard time. Having said that, I disagree that there should be special circumstances for them. I believe the same resources should be available to all students regardless of SES. Aferg006 (talk) 20:34, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

I do believe that everyone can succeed if they set their mind to it. I went to a upper-middle-class private school, and just because of the SES, did not mean that all of the students did better on tests and assignments. I think that all schools should have access to all the things that students need to succeed, like a clean learning environment, qualified teachers, and technology. I do not believe, on the other hand, that teachers should give hand-outs to students who are in a lower SES. These students have the same potential as students from other SES's. I believe that equal resources should be provided to all students regardless of economic status. Sbutl016 (talk) 17:08, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe that anyone has the ability to succeed if they put their mind to it. On the other had, children have to be taught this mentality and given some resources in order to make it possible at a young age. I think there is some truth to the idea that children of lower SES score lower on tests as compared to their more affluent counterparts. If children are not guven support at home and do not have adequate nutrition, housing, help with homework (because one or more parent has to work to get by) this can negatively affect their schooling. At the same time, I am sure there are hundreds of children who are "middle class" and yet their parents could care less about schooling and support. I think it's unfair to say that its all one way or another. The bottom line is that there are children in our country, wealthy and poor, who struggle in school. I think that all children, regardless of SES, should be offered additional help and support if needed. When children receive this encouragenent, care and confidence in their abilities, they can succeed. I think SES plays a role in a child's ability to do well in school but in no way should it define their limits or hold them back from success. Khedl002 (talk) 18:02, 15 July 2009 (UTC)khedl002

As the old saying goes, "Where there is a will, there is a way!" If you look at the immigrants that came to our country in search of the American dream, they had a tough row to hoe. They had every possible odd stacked against them, but look at the numbers that came and made a life for themselves. They didn't have a ton of government help to make sure they succeeded when they came to our country. However, they did have some help. Schools today provide additional resources for struggling learners. While students from lower SES families often receive additional help, they are only one subgroup of students who receive additional help to boost SOL test scores. With all the focus on test scores these days, all subgroups receive additional help. Therefore, students are receiving equal resources. Jtmitchem (talk) 19:51, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

It's fairly certain in my mind that there's a distinct correlation between poverty and utter academic failure– however, it is not always the case. Interestingly enough, I'd rate some of the brightest people I know as having some of the worst economical backgrounds I've ever heard of: they used this growing up as a reminder to achieve as much as they possibly can, and it propelled them/drove them to success. I am well aware of how rare this is, and quite a few that are from such backgrounds are doomed to an academic destitute. It sucks, it really does. We do have half-ass financial aid system that seemingly goes to people that skip their college courses on a daily basis, wasting precious grant money with no return. It seems fairly ambitious but impossible to ensure the likely hood of equal education to those that cannot afford it without some radical, radical changes to this country. Hsmit022 (talk) 19:49, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

I absolutely believe that anyone can succeed. I do not think it matters in the least where you came from or the excuse a lack of resources. I believe if you want something you will do anything to get it. It is just the matter of getting off the couch and going out there to get and education, get a job, or even just to exercise. I think the difference in scores of socioeconomical groups has to do with working with children. In many cases the lower gorups do not spend time working with their children such as reading a book or even just spending family time together and instilling values and har work. I believe this also has to do with life experiences in general. Seeing different places and experiencing different things. I'm sure some would say there is the fact having money and being able to buy materials but I would argue that and say both socioeconomical groups can make due perfectly well with resources they have. I would say that if children who are categorized as low socio economical status and hav scored low or even just shown poor performance then yes there should be more resources provided. I believe it is the job of the teacher and schools to helps these children every way possible. Should these resource just be for loq socio economical? I would say not. These resources should be for any student that needs the extra help. Sston008 (talk) 01:16, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

I have always agreed with the common American belief that anyone can succeed if they only set their mind to it. No matter what obstacles the individual may encounter, it is possible to be successful at anything if it is your ultimate goal to do so. However, I do believe that it is more difficult (but not impossible) to succeed if there are societal factors, such as lack of resources, that prelude certain individuals from success. However, when the individual does overcome these societal factors, they will gain an even higher sense of pride. I also agree with the strong relationship between socio-economic status (SES) and academic achievement. I think it is so unfortunate that students living in poverty score lower on standardized tests than students from middle and upper class households. I think this is because there are more societal factors (such as lack of resources) that stand in their way. I also think a main factor is how the student is raised. Students living in poverty may have parents and family members with little to no education and they may not have the same opportunities to learn at home than middle or upper class households. Because of this, I think schools do have a responsibility to provide more resources to students of low SES to help boost their performance to that of their peers. Afett001 (talk) 19:09, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I think you can succeed no matter what the odds...if you set your mind to it. Part of the problem, I think, stems from the stigma placed on areas that are less fortunate and do not have the funds for resources. It is all about creativity! Instead of crying over the proverbial spilled milk, we must think positive and work with what we have. Getting parents to place a higher emphasis on their child's education would be a great place to start...however, I am sure this will be a daunting task. One of the problems, I think, starts with the welfare system and gushes over into the education system. In a perfect world, children would be fed and clothed properly. They would have an early bedtime during school weeks and their parents would spend time going over homework with them everynight. However, in this day and age...that is just a pipe dream unfortunately. Since the parents are not always as committed as we would like them to be...educators must go above and beyond to make sure the child understands what is being taught. This is where creativity plays a major role in presenting instruction to students who are economically and socially disadvantaged. Teachers have specific lessons that they must present and specific ways to do it in most school curriculums since NCLB came about. As a result, it seems that creativity has been shut out of the curriculum in most schools. If teachers were allowed to be more creative with presenting the required material, buying expensive resources would not seem as important.Scarlett1 (talk) 06:17, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I truly do believe that a person can pretty much be whomever and whatever they want to be. Drive and self motivation is the key. Education will only take them so far; a person has to want to succeed. As a teacher, the best I can do for my students is show them how these factors can positively influence their lives. I can't change their homelife, but I can provide a place where they feel safe and cared for. I can show them how a good education can help them succeed in whatever they want to do. Sciaston (talk) 13:21, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

I think that anyone can succeed when they put their mind to something. If resources are a problem, then I believe it causes the person to try harder to achieve their goal. If they have it in their mind that they will not fail, they won't. They will not let anything get in their way. I believe the children from low SES do not have the resources that high SES children do; however, I also believe that low SES children can still seek out resources from their public library or etc. One main reason they may not seek these resources is because of their parents outlook on their children's education. If the parents don't care then why should the children. Generally speaking the parents of higher SES students have obtained higher SES due to education they have sought out. So I guess I am blaming the parents for all of these results. I believe that equal resources should be provided to all students regardless of SES. Just because a student has high SES doesn't mean they are automatically provided with additional resources. Hcomb003 (talk) 17:22, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Determination is key as to how far a person gets in life. I absolutely agree that success comes not only with hard work and sacrifice, but "mind to do so". Education can provide chances to further oneself and open doors to success, but ultimately the person's dedication and will is the main factors. Some students circumstances in life have lead them to believe to 'settle'. As an educator, I would incorporate my own struggles as well as those of many others to show that anything is possible with heart, mind, and determination to be great. Ehern004 (talk) 21:13, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

This is a difficult question to answer. I do believe that all people can achieve whatever they set their mind too. However, children who come from lower socio-economic strata’s lack crucial necessities during their most important developmental years. They are not nurtured. Their home environments are usually confusing, sometimes hostile, and ultimately lack stability. The faces of children in America’s poverty are hungry, homeless, and truly left behind; especially during these rough economic times. I cannot say whose responsibility it is to primarily solve this problem. It is everyone’s responsibility. Families need support. Communities need more outreach programs. There needs to be greater funding for after school programs and food bank operations. Whether or not these kids become successful later in their lives is not our largest issue. It does not excuse the breakdown of the American family and the children who are affected by this “condition”. We really need to pull together on this one. No child should be left behind. Perhaps this should be the true meaning of that legislation. Abitt002 (talk) 03:56, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

“You can do anything if you set your mind to it” I think this is the feel good statement of those who have, and never really struggled at anything. Yes a person can work hard and get out, but a person can also work hard and not. Economics is a big part of what makes everything move, and if you are in the lower end in SES then things move a little slower.Mlipl001 (talk) 23:58, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

I, too, believe that anybody can be successful if they set their mind to it. Motivation is the key to success. As the saying goes, wanting and doing are two different things. One must have the drive and ambition to be successful. I believe that SES has little effect on personal desire to be successful. Although children who live in poverty often receive less parental support due to a variety of factors, they make up their minds to put forth greater effort and strive to overcome any shortcomings. Schools should provide the same resources to their students regardless of their SES. Unfortunately that is not always the case and teachers are often left to make up the differences. Educational opportunites should not be based on class or paycheck, nor should they be used as an excuse for just not providing adequate resources. Individuals work to overcome obstacles everyday in order to meet their goals (and thus be successful). Perhaps school divisions need to take a dose of that medicine. Acrow005 (talk) 22:44, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree that everyone can succeed but surely some have a much easier time of it than others. Yes, it is possible to succeed even if your parents beat you and you are severely malnourished and live in an insalubrious environment. It’s possible. It’s just not very probable. Certainly the kid who is encouraged by loving parents, has plenty of nice books, a well lit clean home and gets his three squares daily is going to have a leg up. And that is before you consider the difference in schools these students would attend. Sure, the disadvantaged kid can succeed but you can also win the lottery. His chances of doing so are about the same. The advantaged kid can succeed in the same way you can drive down to the 7-11 and buy a slurpee. I think kids living in poverty score lower on standardized tests because, well, their lives are harder. This compounds and makes everything else harder, too. Consider the effect their status has on their self-confidence, not to mention the practical concerns they face that I previously addressed. The well off kid has nothing to concentrate on but school, while the poor child has to concentrate on twenty different things at once, on a rumbling stomach, in a crappier school. Ideally, I think all students should receive equivalent education. But this is America, we’re capitalists. Not that I think any other kind of economy works better, its just our sense of entitlement is crafted around this ideology and as such things like "equality" have an altered meaning here in the U S of A. I think we should address this issue as soon as possible, you hear everyone talking about the gap between the rich and the poor. The socioeconomic divide that inspires little things- like riots and coups in other countries. The difference in education is truly where this problem stems from. If we ever hope to truly be the America we advertise to the world, an America with equal opportunities for all its citizens I think that we must address education first and foremost. As it Is this problem grows larger everyday as college degrees become the norm rather than the exception. Poor parents have poor progeny and this trend continues as it has unabated through time, despite our nation’s promises on the contrary. BitterAsianMan (talk) 07:04, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

I do believe that people can achieve whatever they set their minds to, however I also believe that it depends on the amount of effort they are willing to put forth. I say this because those with less means or opportunities are going to have to put forth more effort than those who have access to resources more readily. I also believe that low SES can be linked to less resources and opportunities for people because if you do not have the money available to get the best resources and opportunities for both yourself and your family, then you are not going to be able to succeed as well as someone who comes from an affluent background. I do believe that all students should be given equal resources in the classroom regardless of SES. I don't think it is fair to give just the affluent students access to the best resources, because then there is a greater chance of lower SES students not being able to pass standardized tests in comparison to their higher SES counterparts. Rburt005 (talk) 17:10, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

This is a hard question to answer. I believe that some people can overcome extreme obstacles and even meet seemingly unreachable goals. However, societal forces can make those goals much harder to attain. Kids that live in poverty simply do not have the same opportunities as those who live in a middle or upperclass SES. I think think schools should do what they can to put everyone on an equal level. If this means giving the lower SES students more resources than the higher SES students then that is what I think they should do. Alucy001 (talk) 15:21, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Ok, so this question hits very close to home with me. I come from a low SES environment and family from my mothers side. Allthought my father has his PHD in Engineering and live a wealthy life with his wife and my two half brothers, I grew up in poverty in Puerto Rico. Despite the lack of economical resources I am proud to say that I was the first to graduate college on my mothers side of the family. People who have not lived in this situation do not understant that there are so many other worries besides education on your mind when you live in this situation as a child. I was had household responsibilities from the age of 14. And no not chores like taking out the trash or doing laundry, financial responsibilities. I have worked hard and had to jump through many hoops to get to where I am today. There have been times where I just wanted to give up, but for some reason I just don't. The amount of success a person can achieve is initially dictated by their family’s economic status, the amount of work that the individual puts into what he or she wants to achieve and the amount of support and involvement from the parents. I do believe that the lack of success is determined greatly by the amount of resources available to the student. That does not necessarily mean that they can’t achieve success, but they do have to jump through more difficulties to be able to achieve it. These difficulties can either motivate the student to push forward or give up, this is entirely up to the person. Students that come from a low SES family do score below the average standardized test scores because there is not enough pressure on these kids to succeed from the parents and teachers. When parents and teachers have low expectations for children, they simply do not feel the need to achieve more than what is required. Children from low economic status environments have other community distractions that take away their attention on education. Also students that come from low SES families or poverty areas are not offered the same education, resources and opportunities as those for children who come from middle and upper class households. I do believe that schools have the responsibility of providing more resources to at least give hope to students who really want to do more but simply do not have the means to do so. I went to a public private school, the number 2 in Puerto Rico. I was about to quit by the time when I was about to enter high school because the financial toll that was placed on my family and on me to able to attend this school was stressing me out. One of my teachers saw that I had not filled out the ticket to attend the next grade and called my house to find out why I was not enrolled for the following year. She had no idea of my economic status at home and when she found out she singed me up to receive a scholarship that I qualified for because of my grades and low SES to pay for school so that I would stay. If it were not for teachers who really care about there students succeeding I would not have received the kind of education I did. I think that if all schools provided the same education to all students regardless of their economic status students would not have an excuse not to succeed, this would be more of a personal choice. If this were possible the American society would not be what it is today. Bpenn005 (talk) 16:46, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

It is the American dream that anyone with the right amount of effort and determination can achieve almost anything. In many ways I believe that this is still true today. In some instances of low SES where limited opportunities are available, extra drive and determination are necessary. However the American dream is not unattainable. Poor children have the possibility of succeeding just like anyone else. It maybe less probable but not impossible. We as humans can not change the circumstances we are born into. Although, we as individuals can strive to level the playing field but adding that much extra effort. I do not believe that it is the government's place to attempt to level the playing field. Often when the government steps in they actually state taking away resources from the middle class. Scrai010 (talk) 17:34, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

America has always been referred to as the “land of opportunity”. A place where anyone, regardless of their race, gender, class, religion or disability, can succeed through hard work and persistence. However, in another placed referred to as the “real world”, society, resources and individual hindrances can prevent people from accomplishing the American dream. This includes also includes race, gender, class, religion or disabilities. However, a solid foundation in education is required to be successful in American society. By education, I am referring to having at least an Associate degree because today’s economy and workforce almost demands it. I honestly believe that any person in America can accomplish their goals if they have the passion and drive. I also believe that we must give them the tools necessary to achieve that task, by having a better educational structure, especially in urban schools. One of the flaws of our education system is that pre-service teachers are taught in a way that would be suitable for suburban schools. By the time these new teachers are employed in urban schools, they quickly realize that their foundation of learning is ineffective because it is not appropriate.

There could be many reasons for the correlation between socio-economic status and academic achievement. One of the most obvious would be the quality of schools and quality of surrounding neighborhoods and communities. Schools often reflect the people who live near it, therefore, if a community consists mostly of families who have a high socio-economic status then the school is most likely going to have the better computer labs, better programs and (but not limited to) better teachers. With all of these readily available resources, students of these schools will score higher on standardized tests. Conversely schools located in communities where there are many families of poverty, they tend to have very little funding for even basic resources like chalk, few or poor school programs and unqualified teachers. Ultimately, it appears that the socio-economic state of community represents that academic state of the school. If a community has the money to support the school, then the students have a better chance of scoring higher on standardized tests which I believe is another fatal flaw of America’s educational system.

Despite all of these arguments, one question still remains- Is it the responsibility of the school to provide better resources for students of low SES, or should equal resources be provided to all students, regardless of their class. Personally, this is a very hard question to logically answer considering all sides of the case. A school as a whole has the responsibility of providing the best education possible to their abilities, but only to their abilities. I do not think it is fair to judge a school simply because the school board, government, and community in general do not give enough support. There are countless cases where teachers pay thousands of dollars over their career to create an engaging classroom environment for their students. People typically argue at this point that funding should be equal among all schools, period. This makes sense, but I still see it as the lesser of two evils. It is not because I think students with high SES should receive a better education. Financially speaking, I think it would harm the quality of some schools. If the education budget is like a pie, and all schools get an even slice, the poorer schools would benefit greatly because they would be granted with the rich education they deserve. However, schools that usually receive high funding may suffer because money that normally went to them suddenly went to improvised schools. I really hope that I do not sound cold or inconsiderate, because I am a big supporter of poverty schools receiving better. I just think that a balance needs to be found where all students receive a high-quality education without some kind of financial backlash. Adart001 (talk) 19:32, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

While it is hard to not deny the statistical evidence that correlated between the SES and the test scores, it ultimately will come down to the community as a whole to realize that there is a real need to raise these students up and give them a helping hand. Remember Maslow's Heirarchy, safety and security is a basic need that must be met with our students. With the economy in such a poor state, more and more students will be in jeopardy of no home or basic needs. There are some students who are able, in the face of struggle, to overcome and excel. Those students are survivors, and they should be applauded, but who cheers for the ones that don't have that drive? WE DO, the teachers that they will see every day. I have heard it over and over again that teachers are not just teaching the knowledge basics but life skills as well. If they do not feel safe at home, we make them feel safe at school and help to find resources for them to help their life. It is part of contributing to the community as a person and most importantly as a teacher. Jnewh001 (talk) 21:28, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

So the concept that "everyone can succeed if they put their minds to it" is completely overstated. While it may be true that SOME can achieve what they put their minds to, others may be at a huge disadvantage when it comes to a support system. What if those are unrealistic? If this statement were true we'd have millions of singers, models, and actors in Hollywood. Instead, some of the most talented singers are left touring the country eating tuna while the socioeconomic status of other individuals (Paris Hilton) are awarded multi million dollar recording contracts. This example parallels a child in an institution that can't afford after school programs or extra materials to facilitate his/her needs. They have to work twice as hard just to make it, and three times as hard to really get somewhere. Yet a child in a wealthier school has a much greater advantage at doing well. Though it's possible, it's quite unfair how hard some individuals have to work just to get by. This being said in a perfect world equal resources would be provided if to every student regardless of their economic background. Rpaige (talk) 03:32, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

I think that this statement is very accurate. It is possible to accomplish any task that is set in front of an individual if the just focus on what needs to be done. I also do not think whether or not you live in an area should really affect your learning. It might make things a little difficult at times. I think that maybe one reason that students that live in poverty scored lower on standardized tests could be a lack of support from within the household. Or maybe the urge to get a job to help support the family. I think that schools should help with certain things like basic school supplies for students who maybe just can't afford them. Rcoll029 (talk) 03:51, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

These questions touch upon the famous nature verses nurture debate. The terms of the nature verses nurture debate are: is genetic composition or environmental influence more influential for intellectual and social development? The answer I believe to this question is that both are influential. Genetic composition makes a big difference as to how people perform on standardized tests. Environmental influence also plays a major role for students' academic success, even on standardized tests. If a child does not have a healthy uprinbing in his or her early years, this can affect intellectual development. Also, poor children are probably more prone to being less motivated when taking standardized test than non-poor students. Yes, I think it is a good idea to pump more financial resources into programs targeting the educational development of poor children. This will decrease the chances that the child will remainin poverty his/her life, with the effect that poverty in the United States as a whole may be decreased. Mbrowder (talk) 16:14, 16 August 2009 (UTC)