Education Is A Mindset
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Stop Blaming Our Children And Start Fixing Our Communities

Education is a mindset.

Stop Blaming Our Children And Start Fixing Our Communities

J.D. Vance grew up in a struggling Southern Ohio steel-town plagued with many social problems. Heroin epidemics, failing schools, and families torn apart by divorce and violence were among the daily issues weighing on J.D.'s neighbors. Not only do these poor conditions affect the mindsets of children growing up in these areas of the country, but upward mobility is also painstakingly low.

For these individuals, the American Dream is, in a very real sense, just a dream.

It is not uncommon for children to fall captive to their environments, believing that no matter what they do or how hard they work, success is simply out of reach. This is an extremely difficult mindset to penetrate, especially when prior generations grew up the same way.

As a young girl, J.D.'s mom watched as her drunken father burned up in flames. While this behavior may seem to be an anomaly, a study performed by the Wisconsin Children's Trust Fund found that nearly HALF of low-income children face one or many similar instances of childhood trauma - a statistic that far outnumbers the 20% of upper-income kids with similar experiences.

The children who experience this kind of life are more likely to abuse drugs, go to jail, drop out of high school, and later model the same abusive behavior as being parents themselves. Taking into account the hopelessness, trauma, and low social mobility that many children experience, it is very likely that if this trend continues, future generations will continue to see an upward trend in high school drop-out rates.

Many communities do not have the social networking capabilities necessary to teach children how to "make the decisions about education and opportunities that you need to make to actually have a chance in this 21st century knowledge economy." Social capital, knowledge gained from our communities, is vital in determining the future success of individuals in areas like Southern Ohio.

Across the country, children are losing motivation.

School has transformed from a place of learning to an escape from at-home struggles. The lack of valuable social capital makes it nearly IMPOSSIBLE for many families to amend their situations. This is the root of the problem.

For years, money has been poured in to the United States education system. However, little improvements have been made. In fact, America's schools have seen steady or improving test scores over the past 25 years. I must emphasize that this does NOT mean the education system is thriving.

1. Success cannot be measured only by trends in test scores

2. Averages leave people behind

Instead of continuing to point to the issue of failing children, we must recognize the failures in our education system. We must invest in our time in all areas of childrens' lives, not just the academic. After all, according to John Kenneth Galbraith, "the right of all children to an education is intertwined with the right of families to live free from hunger and prevent medical problems," as well as having access to adequate childcare.

Ultimately, we must understand that there is a strong correlation between poverty and educational failures.

Children who are born into poor situations are not only affected by limited access to quality education, but are often disadvantaged by environmental toxins, poor nutrition, and exposure to death and violence. In order to readily solve, rather than react to, the specific issues a school is facing, we must first recognize the priority in its surrounding community.

The focus of dominant parties - The Department of Education or whoever thinks they are in charge nowadays - should no longer be on proficiency, test-scores, and regurgitating information into young minds. It should instead be on growth, self-awareness, and preparedness to survive in the complex world.

The first step to achieving this is focusing on students themselves.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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