Blame game not answer at schools
By Jennifer Braaten
In a 2001 report to Congress, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services states, “Poverty is the single greatest predictor of academic and social failure in America’s schools.” We must focus beyond standardized test scores to gain a deeper understanding into why schools are failing. We cannot afford to simply blame teachers and administrators for failure when it is society that is failing poor children. There are students who come to school homeless and wondering where they will sleep tonight. There are some students who must feed themselves to get to bed on their own because a parent could only find work at a second shift job. Often the poorest performing schools who fail to meet “Adequate Yearly Progress” have the highest percentage of impoverished students.
As a nation, we must acknowledge that setting a high standard is not enough to solving the extremely challenging issues our education system faces. It is not to say impoverished children are incapable, rather it is to suggest, if we want higher school achievement across the board we must begin to address the inequalities that exist outside of school. School failure goes beyond standardized test scores, it is suggestive of an economic and culture divide we struggle to recognize.