It is an old argument to suggest that poorly performing schools or ineffective teachers are the result of having to deal with children living in poverty.
Researchers are studying the issue. It’s clearly a national, even global trend. Studies show that kids who spend time outdoors are more psychologically healthy, mentally alert, and physically fit. A few studies have documented a rise in test scores after students spent time doing research outdoors in environmental topics. Others have shown that kids who are indoors more tend to be overweight more often (big surprise!), and have a higher incidence of psychological problems.
The distribution of IQ scores provides some insight into this phenomenon. By definition, the distribution of IQ makes a nice bell curve centered over 100. However, the distribution of economic status within this bell curve is far from random.
Naturally, I do things like recycle, buy less, and take public transit. Living in downtown DC is a great way to go green. Limited square footage keeps any desire to buy “stuff” in check, and living a block from the Metro is a dream.
In an interview you did for Robin Shreeves, I read that you started The Grass Stain Guru because you are so passionate about the issues of unstructured play, connecting people with nature, and education reform. How does your blog address these issues?
Many people don’t see how dropouts in large cities have anything to do with their own lives. They feel protected against the problems with schools in other areas and don’t believe that failing schools can have any impact on their own well being or safety. It reminds me of the ostrich with his head in the sand. If nothing else, you’d think people would understand that increased crime rates increase the tax money spent to jail criminals.
The current child poverty rate in Kansas approaches 20%, and is growing at a rate nearly double the national average. In 2010, about 40% of Kansas’ K-12 students – nearly 200,000 kids – qualified for Federal free/reduced lunch programs.