I recently read an article by Babble blogger Alice Gomstyn about Sonya Romero-Smith, a kindergarten teacher in Albuquerque who helps her students that are living in poverty. The first questions she asks them each morning are: “Did you eat?” and “Are you clean?” It shocked a lot of people — but not me.
I happen to be one of those educators, working in a title 1 middle school in a very high-poverty area. When I say “poverty” here, I’m not talking about a family whose dad has been laid off from his job or a family going through divorce or sickness. I’m not talking about a sudden, temporary, or even long-term shortage of money. I’m talking about families who have lived in poverty for generations. Families who don’t know anything but poverty. Generational poverty is very different from families experiencing hard times — mainly because they often view education as a stressor, and school a place they do not belong, making it extremely difficult to end the cycle.
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