As one of eight children, I was raised believing that if you worked hard, went to school, and kept out of trouble, you’d probably be OK. My parents worked hard to provide for us. But they wanted more for us than they had. Statistically speaking my family lived below the poverty line for many years. While it was my parents’ desire for us all to go to college, there was a family expectation for us to work and financially help the family.
So, what is the “Poverty Line” and how do these statistics affect educating our children? According to the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty line is defined as a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children under 18) earning less than $23,021. Just last year, 47.7 million Americans (or 14.8 percent of the population) were living in poverty, and it’s become an annual epidemic.
16 to 24-years-old students from low-income families are seven times more likely to dropout than those from families with higher incomes. Clearly education is the best way out of poverty. But how can we expect our children to focus on education if they are continually faced with the problem of trying to survive.
by Signe Lambertsen