Education is largely regarded as the silver bullet to overcoming poverty. How ironic, then, that a recent study shows poverty has a serious impact on children’s ability to get an education.
The study, completed last fall, shows rural poverty, especially in the Centre and North Hastings areas, as well as in pockets of Prince Edward County, is pegged as a leading factor relating directly to challenges faced by youngsters entering the school system.
The Pan-Canadian Early Development Instrument EDI mapping shows pupils in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties face some of the highest percentage of vulnerability in almost all the five categories.
According to the study, kindergarten children here are up to 16 per cent more likely to struggle with poor physical health and wellbeing, up to 14 per cent more likely to struggle with social competence and up to 15 per cent more likely to battle with poor language and cognitive skills.
Those numbers are significantly higher than virtually any neighbouring regions.
Maribeth deSnoo, executive director of the Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation, said the study highlights trends that could pose a problem for local boards facing an increasing burden of supporting their neediest students. She said rural poverty seems to be an underlying issue.
“Even when you look at us in comparison to the rest in southeastern Ontario, certainly there are greater needs,” she said. “You’re looking at more vulnerable children.”
Jody DiRocco, superintendent for school effectiveness for the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, said the data “is good information for us to have so that we know that’s an area that we need to be targeting.
“It also speaks for the need for the school system to work in collaboration with other community agencies to ensure that all our families are supported,” he said.
The problem is current education funding virtually ignores all factors except student population (there are some concessions made to smaller, rural areas). Thus any efforts to overcome socio-economic issues within school boards comes at the expense of other schools, assuming boards even have the ability to tackle anything related to socio-economic issues.
The ideal situation would be for the provincial ministry of education to work alongside and in co-operation with at least the provincial ministry of children and youth services to ensure maximum support is being given to young people, before and during the education process.
If education is truly the key to helping people escape poverty, then we need to do everything possible to ensure poverty doesn’t then stand in the way to our children getting that education.
Article courtesy of The Homeless Hub
Young Parent Outreach is a dynamic resource program providing services and support to young pregnant women, young moms and dads, and their children in the Greater Victoria area.
These servicesÂ – provided by The Cridge Centre for the Family – are designed to give young pregnant women and young moms and dads the help and support network they need to have healthy babies and to be effective, successful parents. Whether it’s housing, income assistance, food back or dealing with child custody or substance abuse, The Cridge Young Parent Outreach program can help.
“The ideal situation would be for the provincial ministry of education to work alongside and in co-operation with at least the provincial ministry of children and youth services to ensure maximum support is being given to young people, before and during the education process.” Perhaps its my jaded opinion or my experience with my education and living in poverty but this statement rubs me in a slightly off manner.
If we rely on ministry after ministry to deal with poverty and not attack it at the basic level by including the poorest of the poor in these processes then we are in my mind spewing rhetoric. We wait and sit for one department to consult another and so forth to deal with the issues of poverty. However, we tend to neglect some of the basic reasons that indviduals and ultimatley children are poor. How about looking twoards how the system perpetuates poverty with its loop holes and its claw backs in payments or the mental health issues that people face from being poor?
If we soley rely on government to fix the issue then we perpetuate the issue and children will remain under educated thereby creating generation after generation of poverty. Anyone that has had to navigate welfare or social assistance as it is called will understand that it is at best a demoralizing and demeaning process that creates
issues such as depression. How about educating the ministers involved from the ground level? How about the ministers walking a mile in the shoes of those navigating the sytem living in poverty and working directly with people who live at the most basic of subsistance levels? With the challenges that people face accessing `systems that are in place to help, its no wonder that education tends to fall by the way side when your most pressing concern is affordable housing and food to feed the family.
And with that said too how do we educate the adults of these children to help them perhaps appreciate the educational system.
How ironic that only three years ago BC had a child poverty rate of over 18 percent. To me that is 18 percent too much? How do we educate the adults in these childrens lives to help stem the rise of poverty, change the politics of being poor so that we can eradicate poverty? Its very sad that in this country we have such economic disparity between the haves and the have nots, and no wonder or surprise that the use of food banks is on the rise.