Needs versus Education – What comes first? – Part 5/5

18 Aug

Child says, “Over 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year in the United States; however, those reports can include multiple children. In 2009, approximately 3.3 million child abuse reports and allegations were made involving an estimated 6 million children.”

Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. says, “Fifteen percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12 and 29% are age 12 – 17. Three percent of boys grades 5 to 8 and 5% of boys in grades 9 to 12 said they have been sexually abused.

“Children that are victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.”

The No Child Left Behind Act mandates (without directly saying so) that teachers are to overcome all of these challenges without any changes taking place outside the public schools when hunger, homelessness, gang and crime statistics, child abuse, etc. impact a child’s life.

However, when survival comes first in a child’s life, and other essential needs are not met, education takes a back seat and teachers in the public schools will not overcome these challenges no matter what mandate the federal government votes into law or how many critics claim America’s public school teachers are failing.

With these challenges, it is amazing that teachers have accomplished what they have.

For example, in California, 53.9% of Black or African American students in the public schools have met the English Language Arts Target while 56.3% have met the Mathematics Target.

Yet, in the United States, sixty-seven percent (67%) of Black-African American children live in single-family homes.  In addition, more than 35% live in poverty.

Among Hispanic/Latino children, more than 33% live in poverty, while less than 12% of white children do and about 13% of Asians.

The numbers of students that fail or succeed in school is easily explained by the numbers of those living in poverty, in communities dominated by youth gangs, and those that live in single parent homes.

Asking America’s public school teachers to overcome these obstacles is the same as telling someone to climb Mount Everest nude and without any climbing gear.  Only ignorant fools or people with political agendas based on greed or ideology would make such accusations.

The facts say, when a child’s basic needs are met, that child is ready to learn and not until then and the complexity of what it means to make sure every child’s basic needs are met is difficult to identify and achieve.  We cannot expect the government or teachers to solve everything for everyone. Individuals must take responsiblity for their lives and that means parents too.

Teacher’s cannot push these child to the next level in literacy or math even with the threat of lost jobs and closed schools.

Return to Needs versus Education – What comes first? – Part 4 or start with Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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