Week 10: Social Class, Race, and School Achievement

March 23, 2014

Unfortunately, we all are products of our environments. Many of us have seen students come to school that are unprepared for what lays ahead of them. Many students come from underprivileged families and from poor environments. And in recent years family incomes have been decreasing and bills and expenses have been increasing making it more difficult for parents to provide their children with the basics for school. If students don’t have the basic things they need for school, do we actually believe that these children are coming to school well fed with proper nourishment that has prepared them for their day ahead? I hope that all of us realize that these children are coming to school hungry and ill prepared for the information they will be receiving. According to our textbook, “children’s home environments cultivate three key sets of characteristics important to their school achievement” (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek, & Vocke, 2012, p. 345). These three elements according to Ornstein et. al. (2012) are:

  1. Knowledge and understanding – this would be exposure to cultural activities and enrichment from the parents of the world around the students
  2. Cognitive and verbal skills – This is the verbal development that has taken place in the family and would be different for lower class or economically repressed families.
  3. Values and attitude – reflects on how well the family has prepared the child for school, their attitude towards learning and how much value has been placed upon education.


As teachers we need to influence these students and show them that there is a better way of life, a chance for everyone to succeed in life, and that not everyone is going to college or needs to there are other opportunities for some students. We also need to let these students know that it is okay to come from a poor or under privileged household and that it is not the end of the world and they can succeed.  I know because I was the youngest of six children, our mother raised us on her own with little to no support from my father. I am the first person in my family to become a college graduate. All of us are successful and productive members of society. My point is if you set your mind on doing something you can be successful. I think we as teachers need to provide students with an encouraging and supportive environment for learning and help nurture them to become successful in the classroom.





Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., Gutek, G. L., & Vocke, D. E. (2012).Foundations of education (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.


Categories: Foundations of American Education.

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