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Students’ Poverty and Learning

Foundation of learning families cultures and learning may be infleunced my many factors. Classroom development and growth are the priority of every educational system across the nation. There are numerous factors outside the classroom setting that may, either negatively or positively, impact student development and academic expectations.

With that said, in Bronx County, for instance, numerous schools, and several school communities are impoverished significantly impacting the classrooms. The role that poverty plays in the lives of the students has an impact that significantly exceeds the apparent lack of resources that a household may need for proper student education.

Moreover, poverty triggers numerous factors that create instability and obstacles that go beyond the household and affects student learning and development.

Children that are affected by poverty are relatively vulnerable to the following factors that represent an obstacle in their educational growth and development:

Lack of proper nutrition and overall health.

Lack of effort (“Low socioeconomic status and the accompanying financial hardships correlate with depressive symptoms” (Butterworth, Olsen, & Leach, 2012).) A negative perspective of the future. Cognitive hardships. Distress and insecurities (Eric Jensen May 2013).

Homeless chart in New York
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Homeless chart in New York

Considering the hardships faced by poor households affecting students in the classroom, it is evident that the difficulties extend beyond perception.

The lack of proper nutrition and overall healthy habits represents an evident hardship in the classroom. For example, “When students experience poor nutrition and diminished health practices, it is harder for them to listen, concentrate, and learn. Exposure to lead maybe be correlated with poor working memory and weaker ability to link cause and effect (Eric Jensen May 2013)”.

According to Eric Jensen, by comparison, impoverished children are only exposed to 13 million words whereas middle-class children are exposed to 46 million words by age four respectively (Eric Jensen May 2013).

Limited vocabulary

Impoverished students show a lack of effort based on their socioeconomic background. For instance, even though it is easily perceptive to view laziness or bad habits as the reason for the lack of effort, “One reason many students seem unmotivated is because of lack of hope and optimism(Eric Jensen May 2013)”.

Also, the lack of proper nutrition together with pessimism results in an evident lack of energy and motivation, which are vital to active learning, growth, and development in the classroom.

Considering what impoverished children are exposed to, cognitive issues will surface. For instance, “Many children who struggle cognitively either act out (exhibit problem behavior) or shut down (show learned helplessness).

But cognitive capacity, as well as intelligence, is a teachable skill (Buschkuehl & Jaeggi, 2010). (Eric Jensen May 2013). Furthermore, all things considered, students from the low socioeconomic household are exposed to many hardships. Often at a young age causing insecurities and general distress, this plays a role in the everyday life of these students.

Impoverished children frequently do not have a stable household and are faced with homelessness. For instance, the chart below detail the homeless households in the Bronx borough:

District 10 in the Bronx faces numerous difficulties; however, non-more than poverty. Although, there are no significant political difficulties in the Bronx, since its govern by the extremly liberal democrats. Poverty, and homelessness represent the most significant challenge faced by a significant amount of students in Bronx.

For instance, “While many Bronx residents live in poverty, Black and Hispanic families are most at risk of becoming homeless. More than one-third of Hispanic (35.8%) and nearly one-third (28.3%) of blacks in the Bronx are poor (ICPH, 2012).”

If those numbers are not troublesome, two years ago, almost all the families that applied for public shelters were either Black or Hispanic.

Conforming to approximately 93.0% of the entire Bronx shelter applicants. Only only 7% include Whites among all the other demographics (ICPH, 2012). However, The racial disparity does not illustrate racism but rather poor geoverning by leftist democrafts.

Considerably, school district ten is affected by the constant displacement of students and poverty levels of the Black and Hispanic families.

Considering, most of the students of District 10 are either Black or Hispanic descendants, the poverty or homelessness levels affect the academic progress of the students as well as their development and livelihood.

Homelessness in the Bronx
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Homelessness in the boroughs

The reach of poverty is not limited to student’s households but also the school communities. Limited funds in the schools result in difficulties in developing programs as well as maintain appropriate classroom margins between students and staff. For instance, “The Bronx has the highest rates of overcrowding and severe overcrowding in New York City (14.3% and 5.1%, respectively), which are more than double the percentages of overcrowded (more than one person per room) and severely overcrowded units (more than 1.5 people per room)…” (ICPH, 2012)

By contrast, Bronx public schools, specifically, District 10, the local district, schools suffer from average to severe overcrowding.


According to the National Center for Education Statistics Digest of Education Statistics 2013, the national average number of students per teacher was 15.5 in 2010, whereas, in the city of New York and the Bronx the average is a staggering 30 students.

For example, “Ms. Haimson [executive director of Class Size Matters, an advocacy group] said more than 330,000 students were in classes of 30 or more last year. “That shows how extreme the situation has become,” she said.” (Baker, 2014)
The situation has grown over the years; consequently, classrooms have become less typical and more unpredictable.

Students are faced with a tremendous amount of pressure as a result of their impoverished households, as well as their impoverished communities.

The situation has not improved over the recent years for New York households and consequently the students. For instance, “The poverty rate rose to 21.2 percent in 2012, from 20.9 percent the year before, meaning that 1.7 million New Yorkers fell below the official federal poverty threshold.

That increase was not statistically significant, but the rise from the 2010 rate of 20.1 percent was.”(NYTimes) The number of children in poverty in modern classrooms represents one of the most impacting factors in the development of students’ academics.

Aside from addressing factors concerning the educational development of students in the classroom, measures taken outside may significantly benefit student’s development and academic growth in the classroom as well.


Baker, A. (2014, 07). Public Schools in New York City Are Poorer and More Crowded, Budget Agency Finds. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/02/nyregion/new-york-citys-public-schools-are-poorer-and-more-crowded-report-says.html?_r=0
DOE, N. (2014, September 07). Statistical Summaries. Retrieved from NYC Department of Education: http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/schools/data/stats/default.htm
Ed, U. (2001). No Child Left Behind Act. Retrieved from United States Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/involve/nclbguide/parentsguide.pdf
ICPH. (2012, 02). A Bronx Tale The Doorway to homelessness In New York City. Retrieved from http://www.icphusa.org/: file:///C:/Users/Victor/Desktop/SkyDrive/School%20Work/Graduate%20Courses/EDUC502/Bronx%20Poverty.pdf
Mayor, O. o. (2014). Ready to Launch: New York City’s Implementation Plan for . Retrieved from http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/reports/2014/Ready-to-Launch-NYCs-Implementation-Plan-for-Free-High-Quality-Full-Day-Universal-Pre-Kindergarten.pdf
NewYorkSchools. (2014). Public Schools Districs in New York City. Retrieved from Public Schools in New York City: http://www.newyorkschools.com/about.aspx
Roberts Adam; Poverty Rate Is Up in New York City, and Income Gap Is Wide, Census Data Show 09,2013. Retrieved 01/2014

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