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The Effects of Poverty and Inequality Education on Children Development

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The Effects of Poverty and Inequality Education on Children Developmetn

Mai Nguyen

University of Michigan

        The Effects of Poverty and The Role of Efficient Education

on Children Development

The Other Wes Moore tells a story of two kids who share the same name, were raised at the same time, both in poverty and high-crime neighborhoods. The two boys both had time struggling with academic performance and had committed to petty crimes around the same time when they were young. However, their lives took different paths, largely due to different education opportunities and positive role models. This essay will provide insights into what factors could make an individual develop healthily and successfully in spite of the stressors and challenges poverty brought about and discuss the role of efficient education system on children development.

Schools are important to children development as they are the second place after home that children spent the most time at. Schools provides students with opportunities and resources to learn basic social and cognitive skills, to explore their interests and talents, preparing them to become responsible citizens. However, the school system in America does not provide equal access to education to all children. The accessibility to good education is largely predicted by socioeconomic status. In particularly, Black and Hispanic students who live in poverty tend to attend public school where there is limited access to resources and teachers are low-paid. While both Wes Moore went to public school for primary school, Wes Moore’s mother insisted not let him continue his middle school education at a public school in neighborhood area. She worked hard to send him to Riverdale school, a white privilege where he and Justin were the only two black boys. Riverdale On the other hand, the other Wes Moore, like other black kids living in the area, ended up going to Chinquanpin Middle School where 99% of students are black and close to 70% of the kids are on the school lunch program. The two boys’ educational opportunities are different in terms of class size, access to resources and classes offered, teachers, peers and family support. The school that the other Wes Moore is going to tend to have bigger class size with higher teacher to student ratio. This makes it hard for the teacher to pay close attention to all of the students. In fact, Wes confessed that his teachers “spent 90% of their time dealing with 5% of kids” who perform well in class. In addition to that, big class size made it difficult for the teachers to keep an eye on each students’ progress and report it to parents. For example, while both Wes Moore had a time when they skipped class, while Riverdale noticed it and reported it to Joy, Chinquanpin School might not even notice his absence. This could be one of the reasons leading to his failure to pass 6th grade. Even though not mentioned in the book, we could draw some references from the reading in term of the resources that public school and private school could afford to provide for students. “We do not have the things you have. Clean bathroom. Parks. Have a gym but have to line up to use. No place for recess because there was no outdoor playground and no indoor gym”. And libraries probably didn’t exist too. What is more intriguing was that there could not even be basic sanitary supplies for the students, such as toilet papers, rats in the classroom, and air conditioning – these are the basic resources that a white private school would never lack of. With these resources lacking, how could the students even concentrate in class when the physical basic needs are not satisfied yet? The public school systems also have super strict academic demands and instructions for the teachers telling them how to achieve them. As a result, the school tends to cut out all the so-called frills (including arts, music, social science). This is why the school failed to keep students like Wes because they “didn’t hold my interests”. On the other hand, the reason why Wes Moore skipped class was not because of the lack of resources and boring classes at Riverdale, it was because the teacher’s discrimination behavior toward him and his inability to blend in with other wealthy, white students. Another

Both Wes Moore face the same challenges and risks associated with poverty, however, there are different protective and risk factors that makes one more resilient and more successful in life. First, their temperaments and personalities are different. Wes Moore are more easy-going and better at self-regulations. When it came to violence and challenges, he would critical analyses the situation and its impact on his mother, himself, thus forgo it and stay away from the trouble. However, he has relatively low self-esteem because of peer pressure from Riverdale school. He was trying hard to look rich, to act rich and to be accepted by his friends from Riverdale school and his neighborhood friends. Once it didn’t seem to work out, he not only hurt his self-esteem but also lost his motivation to attend class regularly. In contrast, the other Wes Moore had hot-tempered and “didn’t believe in taking things easy”. This temperament of Wes made it hard for him to control his anger, making him more prone to delinquent behaviors. On the other hand, Wes’ social skills are pretty good; he didn’t have trouble with making and sustaining relationships. This could have been a protective factor as it helps him find stable source of support. However, his peers are not positive and healthy.

Another reason why two Wes Moore ended up at different places were because of their family support and situation. Both Wes More were grown up in a single-parent family and their mothers both have to work for extensive hours to support the family, thus tend to be less responsive, more authoritarian and less involved in their school activities. This is a risk factor because children need parental guidance, love and affection. When they couldn’t find these needs in their family, they would go on the street looking for the wrong family. However, Wes Moore’s family great support have compensated for his mother’s absence for work. His grandparents play an important role as they not only provide parenting support but also financial supports to Wes’ mother and him. In contrast, the other Wes Moore had limited protective factors to help him cope with these challenges. Beside his mother, he did not receive much support from anyone else in the family but Tony, his brother. Even though Tony was trying his best to keep Wes away from drug-dealing business and make him focus on his study, Tony’s failure to escape from the street confused Wes. Since Tony was “the closest thing Wes had to a role model”, Wes looked up to him and want to be like him. In addition, Tony was not the only gang-affiliated family member Wes have. Wes also found out that his mother also consumed weed. Tony and Marry, Wes’ closest family members, had normalized the use of drug and drug business as socially acceptable to Wes, putting him at the entrance of the street business.

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