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Kids in Poverty Can Still Learn

by Kevin P. Chavous
Huffington Post
October 23, 2012

During slavery, under some of the worse conditions known to man, slaves taught their kids to read by candlelight under the threat of death. And those kids learned.

On the heels of the great depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s new deal invigorated educational opportunities for poor white kids in places like Appalachia. And those kids learned.

Following the Vietnam War, thousands of Vietnamese refugees came to our nation. The vast majority of those children came to America unable to speak English and often lived with several families under one roof. And those kids learned.

In California, folks like Cesar Chavez fought for better working conditions for Latino migrant workers. While those families struggled to make ends meet, many strived to put their children in schools that would meet their needs. And those kids learned.

Throughout the history of our country, the unifying promise of America has been the hope for a better life for one’s children through education. Especially those children trapped in poverty. At every turn in our history, kids in poverty have demonstrated their ability to learn and succeed.

Today, as we struggle with what ails many of our schools, more and more emphasis is being placed on the linkage between poverty and education. It seems as though each week there is a new study trumpeting the difficulty of teaching low income children and; the fact that poverty needs to be taken into account when we delve into tissues pertaining to teacher effectiveness and the quality of a school’s overall performance.

I get all that. And I do agree that there must be better coordination of services between schools and those entities that help families in poverty. Without question, Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children Zone should be replicated all over America. Geoffrey understands the need to take

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