The Impact of Poverty on Education

AdvanceED has released a collection of articles and videos exploring the impact of poverty on education. 

It is AdvanceED’s hope that “Education Advantage,” a three part video series on poverty and education, will spark conversation and action in education reform. This video series includes:

  • The Poverty Paradigm (Video 1)
  • Separate but Not Equal (Video 2)
  • Flip the Paradigm (Video 3)

Articles include the following:

The Politics of Poverty: Why We Still Haven’t Solved the Issue by Dr. Ruby K. Payne. Dr. Payne also has written about how she sometimes is called upon to defend her conscious decision to focus very little on race when she talks about poverty—her workshop participants who argue that poverty is essentially a “minority” issue are often surprised to learn there are more white children (9,602,000 or nearly 62% of the 15,540,000 total) in poverty in the U.S. than any other racial group (although all U.S. minority groups except Asian Americans have a higher percentage of children in poverty than whites).

The Great Escape: Poverty’s Impact on Education in America by Dr. Ebbie Pearsons. Dr. Pearsons acknowledges the disparities in socioeconomics and the impact of poverty on children, families and education. He takes issue with the fact that often the sociologists, educators, researchers and reformers are most often outsiders without real connection to or understanding of impoverished communities. The solutions offered are rarely inclusive of the communities impacted, and reforms tend to happen to impoverished communities instead of with these communities.

Responding to Marginalization of Students of Color in K-12 Education by Holly King offers research-based recommendations to support changes in practice within classrooms and schools such as examining biases, exploring race-based assumptions and discourse in schools, and encouraging administrators to adopt social justice leadership practices that can lead to the kinds of societal and structural changes needed to respond with flexibility to the needs of marginalized students of color.

The Role of Social Capital to Create Change by Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew. As educators, she writes, it’s important for us to provide students with an understanding of  how to build relationships, leverage outside networks beyond the familial that can help students gain access to role models, resources and opportunities, for better educational and life outcomes.

State Policies to Overcome the Achievement Gap and Poverty by Jeremy Anderson. This article provides examples of states that are successfully addressing the achievement gap through partnerships and innovative small grant programs such as child care grants and emergency just-in-time grants to post-secondary students who encounter unexpected hardships that can help students remain enrolled and complete their term.

To access this collection, see