Thank you for not denying that poor socioeconomic conditions have a
large impact on a students' ability to learn.  How can we expect a
child to learn multiplication tables if he is starving with hunger?  How
can we expect a student to perform well on a test when her daddy went
to jail the night before?  I agree that poverty should not be an
excuse that students use to explain poor grades and skills, however
educators cannot deny the fact that these students require special
attention and accommodations in order to succeed.  It is our job to
help these students as well as our job to help the parents become
involved in their child's education.

Amy Puffer
Keuka College
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John Flanigan wrote:

This has been an interesting, but frustrating, thread. But why do we avoid
discussing the primary reason that students do poorly in school--home
environments that are antagonistic to education?

Of course poverty has something to do with it. Of course having a
sufficiency of materials in school has something to do with it. Of course
having teachers who are not frustrated and hardened by years of
misbehaving students and unsupportive parents, has something to do with
it. But it can't be fixed by the schools alone. If the parents don't
become involved in a positive and supportive way--instead of pitting
themselves against the teachers, as I've seen much too often--their
children have little chance to receive an optimal learning environment.

Until we develop a means to encourage parents become more supportive and
to allow the classroom teacher to keep order, I fear that we will not make
much headway.

John M. Flanigan <[log in to unmask]>     The equation is the final arbiter.
Math Resource Instructor                            --Werner Heisenberg
Kapi'olani Community College            The scoreboard is the final arbiter.
Honolulu, Hawaii                                    --Bill Walton