Poverty with Pollution—Its impact on the education of children

03 Aug

Before I get started, according to the Common Core State Standards Initiative website, formal assessment is expected to take place in the 2014–2015 school year, and seeks to establish consistent educational standards across the states as well as ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit-bearing courses at two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.

There’s also a Common Core Timeline you might find interesting. If you click the previous link, also visit the Analysis page; then scroll down to #3: How is the federal government involved in the Common Core? The rest of that page is worth reading too. Look close to discover the short timeline to achieve goals that no country on the planet has ever achieved with 100 percent of 17/18 year olds no matter how much time they were given.

Anyway, the impact of poverty on educational outcomes for children is well documented. The US National Library of Medicine reports, “School readiness reflects a child’s ability to succeed both academically and socially in a school environment. It requires physical well-being and appropriate motor development, emotional health and a positive approach to new experiences, age-appropriate social knowledge and competence, age-appropriate language skills, and age-appropriate general knowledge and cognitive skills. It is well documented that poverty decreases a child’s readiness for school through aspects of health, home life, schooling and neighborhoods.”

Poverty Timeline: In 2000, the poverty rate was at its lowest in U.S. history at 11.3 percent. Under Presidents G. W. Bush and Obama, by 2012, the poverty rate had soared to more than 15 percent, the highest rate in decades.

In addition, “The Department of Agriculture’s measure of poverty, every red state (Republican) from Arizona to South Carolina has the highest poverty rates in America; between 17.9% and 22.8%.”

By 2012, the share of Hispanics living in poverty had risen to 25.6 percent and for blacks 27 percent lived in poverty—compared to 9.7 percent who were non-Hispanic white. In addition, in 2012, 73.7 million American children represented 23.7 percent of the total U.S. population, but made up a disquieting 34.6% of Americans in poverty and a full 35% of Americans living in deep poverty. National Center for Law and Economic Justice

From this point on, I’m going to focus on what air pollution does to children, and the challenges that their teachers face to achieve the goals set by the rank and yank assessments of the Common Core Standards.

The findings of the Yale University research add to evidence of a widening racial and economic gap when it comes to air pollution. Communities of color and those with low education and high poverty and unemployment face greater health risks even if their air quality meets federal health standards. … Also, children and teenagers were more likely than adults to breathe most of the substances.

A study of Air Pollution and Academic Performance from the University of Southern California in conjunction with the University of Maryland says, “In this study, we examine the effects of four common and nationally-regulated outdoor air pollutants (PM10, PM 2.5, NO2 and O3) on math and reading test scores.

“The results suggest a sizable effect of pollution on academic performance, which provides evidence of another avenue by which pollution is harmful. Not only is it bad for children’s health, but it also impacts negatively on students’ performance in school and their ability in general, which we would expect to reduce future labor earnings. Since lower socioeconomic households tend to reside in more highly polluted areas, our results suggest that a decrease in pollution will result in a decrease in inequality, everything else held equal.”

Conclusion: Thanks to President Obama and his partner Bill Gates, children who live in poverty can’t win in the fake corporate-reform movement that is at war with public education and classroom teachers. The war on public education seriously started with President G. W. Bush’s NCLB and became more Machiavellian—think of Darth Vader and the dark side of the force in the Star Wars films—with President Obama’s Race to the Top and the rank and yank assessments of the Common Core standards.

The Obama-Gates driven rank and yank method of judging teachers and children—then firing and/or failing the losers besides closing schools and turning those children over to corporations to teach—will hit the poorest schools with Thor’s Hammer.

If you have trouble accepting this conclusion, then I suggest reading Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing by Meredith Broussard published in The Atlantic Magazine on July 15, 2014, to discover the real agenda behind the reform movement in education—a reform movement that is focused on profit and to hell with children, teachers and parents.

Anyone who really wants to help the public schools improve would start with two programs: First, a national early childhood education program.

Second, teacher training resulting in a paid, full-time, year-long residency program with a master teacher and follow up support from the teacher-training program for the following two years. There would be no rank and yank assessment agenda linked to the Common Core Standards, and no public schools would be closed. Instead, they would be fully funded.

Discover who is responsible for blocking legislation in Congress that would reduce air pollution @ Is Global Warming a hoax and why should we care?


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves


Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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3 responses to “Poverty with Pollution—Its impact on the education of children

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      August 4, 2014 at 08:28

      We have some great U.S. historical role models to guide us. In 1779, John Paul Jones said “I have not yet begun to fight?”

      Then on December 22, 1944, a 1-star American general, Anthony Clement “Nuts” McAuliffe, acting commander of the 101st Airborne Division defending Bastion, Belgium was heavily outnumbered and surrounded by German troops, who demanded he surrender.

      His reply, “Nuts!”

      The Germans were confused and asked what that meant.

      The answer: “In plain English? Go to hell.”

  1. maureenkeeney2013

    August 4, 2014 at 05:12

    Our education system continues to set up our students to fail ..Very sad . I will continue to fight the fight


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