Monday, September 7, 2009

About This Site

Historically, my home state of South Carolina has labored under harsh criticism of its school system, a system in which I was a successful student and in which I taught high school ELA for eighteen years at a rural school with significant poverty issues. As an educator and scholar, I have dedicated much of my focus on literacy and the impact of poverty on the lives of children, including their academic success.

A powerful conclusion we must acknowledge about academic success is that the primary influences on student achievement lie in the lives of children outside of school—their homes and their communities.

This site is dedicated to storing and exploring all available research and resources related to poverty as it impacts the lives of children and the learning of children.

Acknowledging the negative impact of poverty on student achievement is not an excuse for allowing these inequities to continue, but a call for social reform that allows our schools to fulfill their potential and promise for free people.

I, in fact, maintain that our society and our schools are failing our children, but not in ways often popularized in our wider discourse about schools. Our free society is still plagued by social inequities related to gender, race, and affluence—all of which are accidents of birth placed upon children. Our schools remain reflections of our social inequities, but in order for those schools to help children attain the empowerment that is also their birthright, society must lay a more solid and level foundation for children before school and during their education.

This site is dedicated to housing the best possible data available for all stakeholders in the lives of children—including the children themselves—in order to overcome the plague of poverty in the lives and learning of children.

P. L. Thomas, EdD
Associate Professor of Education
Furman University