The Brains of Impoverished Children

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tyler B., Mar 8, 2015.

  1. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    In this brief article, the authors point out that poverty affects brain development. Poor kids have different brains. However a stimulating environment can help fix the problem. They define stimulation as "not flashcards" but giving children time to explore in a safe environment. The article is more directed towards parents than teachers.

    Here's a slide show that's designed to help teachers of impoverished children. [You need to click the purple right-pointing-arrow to move through the slides.]

    Our governments, including President Obama's DOE, ignores poverty as a cause of low test scores and focuses on improving outcomes for impoverished learners by trying to get rid of their teachers, closing their schools and forcing them into for-profit charters.

    To help close achievement gaps, wouldn't it make more sense to reduce class sizes in impoverished schools? Make sure these schools have adequate resources? Send in experts to help the staff? Establish high-quaity preschool programs in each school district? Put a school nurse in every one of those schools? Make sure they have a library, after-school programs, and a school psychologist? (Last paragraph cloned from Diane Ravitch's blog).
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    As much as we've disagreed Tyler on macro-level educational policy, I do agree that a narrowed focus on accountability, without providing resources, doesn't make a lot of sense. Some of the supports you mentioned are already pretty widely available, and I don't agree with the statement that Obama has ignored poverty, but I do agree that where we're spending our money and time is too heavily focused on the accountability piece, rather than the supports piece.
     
  4. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    What would a school nurse be able to do?
     
  5. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    IA to an extent with most of what you said especially the importance of Pre-K. I could never imagine so many kids being held back in grades K-2 before I started working here and I think a lot of this has to do with students receiving no/inadequate "academic" stimulation before they get to kindergarten.

    Above all, I think we need to focus on teaching some of these young and impoverished parents how to parent and how to help their children be successful in-and-out of school. I could go on for days about this ..
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Just as a quick idea here... we have a nurse one day a week, and a clinic aide all five. The clinic aide does not get a substitute when she is out, and the school secretary handles clinic-type issues. On those days, if a kiddo comes down complaining of anything other than needing a quick icepack, the kid is going home, period, because the secretary doesn't have time to figure out what the problem is or how to solve it. If we didn't have at least a clinic aide (who is in constant communication with the local health department), we'd have a lot more kids getting sent home midday. Or alternately, the teachers would have to spend more time functioning as a nurse... simultaneously taking time away from the other kids in the class.
     
  7. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I agree, we have a health tech. What does the nurse do that is above and beyond your clinic aide?
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I won't pretend to know everything that the nurse does on days she is there. I imagine there's probably a lot of handling paperwork that the clinic aide isn't authorized to, but don't really know the other day-to-day stuff. She does offer trainings to staff on some medical needs, and trains IAs to handle things like overseeing diabetes care (we have several students with diabetes that are reasonably self-sufficient, but they need an adult overseeing blood sugar checks and basic pump maintenance), as an example. The health aide could oversee those students, but they couldn't offer the training (and therefore, would have to shut down the clinic every time they needed to go to the classroom to oversee diabetic care, since one of the parents has a care plan from a doctor mandating all care be done in the classroom, etc).
     
  9. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I've only taught at title 1 schools, but one school was 98% free and reduced lunch. At that school, kids would come to school with notes from parents to send the kid to the nurse as soon as school starts. The parents either sent the kids to the school nurse or to the emergency room. That was the extent of their health care. In schools like that one, we need PAs.
     
  10. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    @teacherintexas
    I have only worked at title 1 schools as well.

    I am still not sure what the nurse does at the school you mentioned? Is it just piece of mind for the parents? Do they diagnose, provide, and administer drugs?
     
  11. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    From how I'm reading the post, students send dangerously sick kiddos to school to get treatment from the nurse because they can't afford ER bills.
     
  12. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yes, but what treatment are they able to give in the school setting is my question?

    Does the nurse have access to antibiotics and other drugs and is able to administer these to the students as in a hospital setting?

    Is the nurse able to treat a broken leg onsite, has the facilities...etc. or is it told it is a broken leg and then moved to a hospital?

    Or is the nurse giving a diagnosis and telling the parent to see their physician or report to an ER room?

    What treatment is a nurse able to give at an elementary school, that an aide is not able to give?
     
  13. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    EdEd, I love your posts. It's my impression that we agree far more than not. My post said that the Obama's DOE has ignored poverty. His Race to the Top program has passed out millions to states that agree to his teacher evaluation schemes and corporate reform tactics (charters, VAM, vouchers, etc) and he's ignored the most impoverished areas. Why not lower class sizes and fully staff and fund those impoverished schools?

    It's because to him, it's not poverty, it's lazy or incompetent teachers who are causing the problems.
     
  14. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This is very close to the #1 issue being addressed by my district. They are and have been lowering class sizes for the past few years. they are trying to return, be it slowly, to the past sizes before California's budget crisis.

    I think it may be better to let some districts work through this issue on their own, without national involvement.
     
  15. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I agree that local initiatives would work better, but starting those local initiatives would go better if the USDOE would stop being awful.
     
  16. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Aside from decreasing class sizes, I think preschool would be the biggest help. So many impoverished kids have no academic guidance or structure before entering the school system, and they are not set up for success.

    My old Title I school with 100% free lunch had a school nurse, psychologist, and after school programs... there were still plenty of problems. For one thing, some families don't care what the school nurse/psychologist has to say... At least after school programs kept the kids out of trouble for a while. So did the arts. Our kids were some of the best musicians in the area. :)
     
  17. TeacherNY

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    This type of thing would be beneficial to tell parents BEFORE they are parents.
     
  18. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Thanks Tyler - It's hard to argue against you based strictly on examining his policy. I don't think he - as a person and leader - ignores poverty, but agree that his current policies largely do, at least in the education sphere.
     
  19. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I think a huge variable is whether all of those resources/pieces of the puzzle are integrated in a strategic way. Take school psychologists, for example - if they're only there to do more IQ tests and place more kids in SPED, the maximum benefit of having a full-time school psychologist is a faster turnaround on testing. However, if a school psychologist is more heavily involved in intervention and useful assessment on all levels (building, classroom, student) that becomes different.

    Short point - simply having a support piece in place does not guarantee it will actually be helpful. So, we can't conclude that - if a school doesn't do well with those pieces in place - the pieces themselves are at fault.

    Another way to look at it is in the "necessary vs sufficient" way - a lot of those pieces may be necessary, but may not be sufficient to produce change.
     
  20. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Pashtun, I think your point is a solid one about nurse vs aide, but I don't think it fundamentally changes the argument Tyler is trying to make.
     
  21. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Agreed. I was just curiours about it as well as the credentialed librarian versus library aide as well.
     
  22. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    If rational thought and logic triumphed over all, things such as smoking, drug use, teen pregnancy, etc. would not exist.
     
  23. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Gotcha - yeah, that is interesting. I don't know that we need full healthcare at schools everyday.
     
  24. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    Well in my area anytime each year the budget for school funding is being discussed and of course more money is needed (increase taxes) our residents start complaining about their having to give more money. They want all of this stuff done with little to no money.....I am pretty sure we would find the same complaints from people on the federal level if we asked for increased school funding.
     
  25. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    The point I am trying to make is that when budget cuts hit a few years ago, literally seconds after it was official, class size reduction was gone. No disscussion, no creative solution, seconds after passing...GONE.

    Now over time, districts who are making it a priority, think it is imiportant, are slowly solving the problem themselves, without the government handout.

    If it is improtant to you and your district, I believe they are finding solutions. If it is just a free handout, everyone does it when there is money and it disappears when the money is gone.
     
  26. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    Amen!

    We have high school kids with 1+ kids before they even graduate....the cycle repeats.
     
  27. TeacherNY

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    Obviously.
     
  28. TeacherNY

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    I have not worked in high schools in years but do they have any parenting programs in schools now? This topic would be great for teenagers to learn about.
     
  29. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    Not in my school district. I think they need more than parenting classes they need a course on the harsh realities of being young, single, uneducated mothers with kid(s) barely making ends meet and depending on public assistance.

    I am truly sick of being considered "middle class" and todays middle class now struggles and taking care of other people when me and my family are tightening our belts to live within our means.
     
  30. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    You read my mind.
     
  31. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    I found out students here on free and reduced lunch get to go to summer school free and that ticks me off because I see 1 student in particular do absolutely NOTHING all day but gets to repeat those classes for free over the summer when another student I spoke with who tries to do her work had to pay $300 to take Algebra in summer school. :mad:

    The system is broken adn needs to be fixed.
     
  32. UditGanguly

    UditGanguly Rookie

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    Brain development is depends upon different aspects and it's need not necessary every kid has same kind of brain development. Some kids catch things very quickly and some kinds take time and it's also depends upon at what kind of atmosphere they used to live and many more aspects which are responsible for brain development.
     
  33. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Kids who grow up in poverty, and all the stressors that accompany it, display differences in brain development. That's not to say that every poor kid has these differences.

    Science has shown that these brain deficits can be mitigated by exercise, complex environments, new learning, prosocial content, proper nutrition and low stress.
     

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