Monday, March 9, 2009

Poverty and Potential:Out-of-School Factors and School Success

A study by Dr. David Berliner, released today by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, provides powerful evidence for a fact that school employees have known all along—if you don’t solve the problems outside the classroom, you cannot expect all students to be able to achieve inside the classroom. The Michigan Education Association and the KCEA applaud Dr. Berliner in his call for leaders to address children’s physical and mental health as well as safety and not hold public schools accountable for factors beyond their control.

Here in Kent County, where many families are now faced with a severe economic crisis, more and more students are losing their homes to foreclosure and job loss, which often also results in loss of medical care, lack of nutritious food, and enormous emotional stress. To expect these children to be able to fully concentrate and succeed in school is absurd.

Solving the problems of poverty and homelessness will take involvement from the entire community. MEA and its members are currently engaged in outreach projects across the state to help make a difference. We urge every other Michigander to join us and work toward making sure our students have the safety and security they need to achieve their full potential and be prepared for the jobs Michigan needs.

Berliner study available at