Sunday, May 3, 2015

Overcoming the Real Barrier to College & Career, Poverty.

As we strive to prepare every student for a college and career future, we must acknowledge that poverty plays a big part in whether or not a student will choose to pursue an education beyond high school.  In the graphic to the left, the Center for Public Education estimated in 2003 that 65% of students of poverty became Non-College Enrollees (chose to not go to college), while 34% of students of poverty enrolled in college.  In other words, 2 out of 3 students of poverty chose to not attend college.

Let's get Real about Poverty!
More than half of our country's students come from poverty.  If you multiply that number times the chance of enrolling in college, that means that 33% of our nation's kids (Yes, 1/3 of our kids!!!) will not even attempt to enroll in college.  To put it in the simplest of terms.  One third of our kids will pretty much be limited to very few options to pull themselves out of poverty.

What can we do about that?

As educators, we can do a lot to fix that problem.  Below are some ideas that we can use to inspire all kids especially those of poverty to choose a college and career future.
Source: Center for Public Education
2/3 of 
students of poverty arenon-college enrollees, while 1/3 enrollin college.
  • Talk about college and career as something that every child can do.
  • Talk about scholarships that can be earned.
  • Talk about how college and technical schools aren't just for the "smart kids" or the privileged kids.  It's for all kids.
  • Take students to colleges and technical schools.
  • Tell stories about students who overcame amazing odds to put themselves through school.
  • Continuously and intentionally integrate college and career into instruction.
  • Support extracurricular and cocurricular organizations in taking students to colleges and technical schools.
  • Help every family complete the FAFSA.
  • Develop personal graduation plans that all students actually own.

If we want to pull more students out of poverty, we must quit talking about guaranteeing learning for every child, and focus delivering on that promise.  The deck is stacked against students of poverty, and the only way they will remove themselves from that cycle is if we do whatever it takes to expose, inspire and ultimately enroll every student in a college or technical school.

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