Forgotten and Frustrated: Poverty-Stricken Students

When I was told that my class would be participating in writing a blog I tried to think of topics that would not only be interesting to read and write, but would matter. Often in our policy-making of “one-size-fits-all” education we leave out important groups. Children that are English language learners, those with specific disabilities, poverty-stricken children, etc. tend to have the most problems when it comes school advancement, but not because of anything that they are doing. They are struggling because when it comes to policy-making and implementation, we are forgetting them – leaving them behind as frustrated individuals unable to succeed as the rest of the children in their age group do. We’re leaving them behind as frustrated individuals that we are telling to work harder with less resources available to them. Over the next few weeks I would like to blog about these forgotten groups of individuals. If you have any recommendations or resources that would be helpful to me, please comment below. I want to make sure that even though I am focusing on those who don’t have a voice, I don’t leave anyone out.

In today’s blog post I would like to focus on children that have found themselves struggling through poverty. According to, in the great state of North Carolina currently 22.2% of the child residents are living below the poverty level. In Chapel Hill, the number is 15.9%. That means that there could be as many as one in five children in our state wondering where their next meal might come from. When wondering about food, who has time to wonder about the science fair project?
The epidemic of schools failing these children is only going to get worse.

In Diane Ravitch’s post this morning entitled “North Carolina: Big News! High-Poverty Schools Have Low Grades,” she pointed out that the new grading system giving schools a single letter grade has released their results. Almost 30% of schools received either a grade letter of D or F. The problem with this is that it was mostly schools in high-poverty stricken areas that had the lower grades, while schools in more affluent areas that received more funding had grades that were higher. As a parent, would you want your child to go to the school down the street that received an “F,” or would you drive a county over to enroll them at a school that received a “B” to ensure that your child had the best education opportunities possible? I know what I would do. In schools the funding is crucial, but all this is going to do is decrease individuals who could make an impact at the poorer schools. Children who don’t have access to a car, who ride the bus or walk to school, are stuck going to the school that is closest to them. In my opinion, this could mean that the grades will become even more polarized in the near future with less schools receiving grades of ”C” and more gravitating towards either “Fs” or “As.”
With this grading system in place we are failing the poverty-stricken students even more. We’re forgetting about possible impacts that a system like this could have on them and we are leaving them and their families even more frustrated.

-Thank you for reading,

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2 Responses to Forgotten and Frustrated: Poverty-Stricken Students

  1. devin17h says:

    This is a very interesting and relevant topic. You should check out Dr. Forcella’s (superintendent of Chapel Hill-Carborro City Schools) op-ed on the topic ( He really takes issue with the point system and the way that growth is valued in the grading process. I really like the way that you considered the community impact of grades on the entire system. It made me think about how schools graded as an “A” school could be failing students of the same groups that “F” schools are failing in the same ways, without critique or consequence. How and why we evaluate schools needs to be evaluated. If we are going to collect data, we need to put in the time and effort to make sure that we utilize the most valid, comprehensive method possible. How one does that, is a question that really needs to be considered as well.


  2. whipp2015 says:

    Hi Kara! I really like how you used North Carolina as a relevant example of how schools are forgetting those of the lowest socioeconomic status. The grading system has been implemented as a way to evaluate school effectiveness, do you think that this is pertinent? If so, what is another way we could evaluate schools to make them more effective? Personally, I do not think the problem here lies in the way schools are evaluated, but the way we fund the school programs from the evaluations. Obviously more resources need to be allocated to the underperforming schools as well as more teacher support. I wonder if this new grading system will allow for these things to happen because of the added transparency within the school system? That is definitely idealistic, but there might be potential.


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