The “Poverty Line” Affects Educating Our Children

child-povertyAs 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 , it includes a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children under 18) collectively earning less than $23,021. Remarkably, 47.7 million Americans (or 14.8 percent of the population) were living in poverty last year; and this is an annual epidemic.

Dropout rates for 16 to 24-years-old students 4985435_origfrom low-income families are seven times higher 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 simply survive.


Signe Lambertsen

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