Poverty, schoolwork

Poverty, schoolwork

Story by Daniel Pellegrin, Staff Writer

Once again I’m rushing to finish my last project of the night.
I’ll be in bed by 11:30.
I sit at my laptop, on my WiFi connection, and send my second draft to my personal printer in my room. Then the inevitable happens. Everything doesn’t seem to work. They all become big, expensive paperweights; but this is no problem–the school provides printers and I can get it before class, right? I go to bed, still irritated by the technology meltdown.Its again morning, and I know I have to show up early. I leave the house and drive directly into the Summerhill traffic jam, which seems to be moving backwards today. I get to school 10 minutes before class and try to print my paper, which I cleverly saved earlier on my flash drive.
New regulations, however, stop me from getting to the information off of the drive and onto the computer where it can be edited.
No problem. I will go to a teacher and they will help me.
Nope.
They can’t do that either.
I was able to plead my case and printed my second copy on the teacher’s printer. It was not finished, but after everything I’ve been through it feels like it is a great accomplishment. I hand it in to my English teacher

Fail, big time.
It’s fine, next time the computer won’t go break down completely again. What are the odds?
I was right. This time it was just the printer. I had an early appointment the next morning so no early trip to print in the library. I walked into English class and explained the problem and was allowed to take class time to print with points taken off.

I sat in the library and couldn’t help think that had I been a less fortunate person who didn’t own a computer or printer and had no access to a wireless connection that my school work would be significantly more difficult.
I really never considered how having a family with less income could hurt school performance. The money and education gap doesn’t have to come from school work; the ACT can be just as higher-income biased as anyone could imagine. In the last two years I think I spent well over $2000 just to improve my ACT scores. But, had I not had that money to spend, would I have even come close to my current score?

Something is wrong with the system here. When over 20% of a population is slipping and becoming more disadvantaged, the public needs to change the system. The poverty line in America is $21,345 per year, but it is estimated that a family requires $35,000 for food and other basic needs. And children of poor families are six times more likely to drop from school than wealthy families. http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-education-and-poverty-america

It’s hard just to be a student today, but it seems to be a student from a poor family is even harder. They expect poor students to have the same level of information and presentation as their other classmates, who have all the advantages that they can buy to make their school life more convenient. And the gap appears to be growing in favor of the wealthy.

I’m thankful now of the position that my family is in to give me all the things to make my school work more convenient, but next time that my idiotic printer breaks, I will stop and consider the families who had to choose between a printer or the electricity to power it. They are out there and their kids aren’t realizing their full potential because they can’t afford to.