Riedman-Dangler Counseling Services

Virginia (Ginny) Riedman-Dangler, MS Ed., LCSW-R

919 Winton Rd. S. Suite 206

Rochester, NY 14618


The Impact Poverty Has On Children's School Performance

Posted on August 7, 2015 at 11:51 AM Comments comments (17)

With the approaching 2015-2016 school year, I would like to reflect upon and address the issue of poverty and its’ impact on a child’s learning. First, I would like to site some staggering statistics in Rochester. This includes:

  • Rochester is the 5 poorest city in the country
  • 32.9% of the metropolitan population of Rochester are living below the federal poverty level
  •  Childhood poverty increased from 46 percent to 50 percent. It was stated that Rochester “is the only city of comparable size in the nation where more than half the children live in poverty.”
  • Many of the poor need to work 2 jobs and therefore the amount of quality time with children are decreased. An example, a parent not available to help with homework or read to their child.

                From: wsws.org   Feb. 2015

As I read these statistics, I can’t help but remember my past experience as a teacher in the city. There were times a child came to school without the needed school supplies, tired and unable to concentrate. Some came to school hungry. These are distressing occurrences that many of us never had to deal with growing up.

The impact of poverty on children, with school achievement in particular, is quite alarming. There have been extensive studies around this issue. Some of the findings include; children in poverty are more apt to be impacted by lead poisoning and/or suffer from asthma. It is known that lead poisoning can negatively impact a child’s ability to learn. Along with this, there has been much research in the past 20 years that supports evidence of the impact stress has on brain development.

For many children,  growing up in poverty can be stressful. For example, chronic stress can cause nutrients in ones’ body to be depleted. Hence, a higher risk of inattentiveness and slowed learning.

(Karen M. Pellino; The Effects of Poverty on Learning) 

Characteristics of an environment not in poverty are those that foster academic learning and  success in school. In an environment where there is poverty, parents may need to work two jobs to make ends meet.  In doing so they may not be available in a way that supports their child’s learning, such as reading to their child.  There may not be extra income to provide their child with rich and meaningful learning experiences such as taking their child to the museum or the zoo.

The Kindness Projectwill be collecting school items for children/families in need. Some items include; crayons, pens/pencils, folders, child scissors, paper and small books for parents to read to their child. Also, if individuals are familiar with a family that may be struggling as they make plans for their child’s school needs, reach out to them in ways you can support them with the beginning of the school year!     
     "We can make a positive difference in the lives of children and families." 

Riedman-Dangler Counseling will be collecting school supplies for families in need, for the upcoming 2015-2016. This can be dropped off at 919 Winton Rd. S. Suite 105. Feel free to call 241-0101 if you have questions. Thank-you!

Feel free to share your thoughts or ideas of ways to help those families who are affected by poverty.