How Poverty Affects Education
Research shows that poverty has a consistent, negative impact on early childhood development and the later academic achievement of children. One recent study found that family income directly affects children's reading and math test scores. In addition, enrollment in pre-kindergarten education -- another indicator of future academic achievement -- is driven, in part, by parents' financial resources, which were particularly strained during the recession.
Why It Matters
Early academic achievement can impact long-term academic success. A body of research indicates that reading proficiency at the end of third grade is correlated with graduating from high school, so recession-induced poverty now may be one contributing factor to potentially higher rates of high school dropouts roughly 10-15 years from now.
How Children Are Faring
Third Graders Scoring Proficient or Higher on English Language Arts CST, 2010
Region Result California 44% Southern California Average 43% Southern California Range 35% (Imperial) – 50% (Orange) See slideshow
Note: California figures and Southern California ranges are presented as reported in the original data source. Southern California averages, however, have been calculated. Specifically, population estimates for children within the same age range as the original indicator within each county, and Southern California as a whole, were used to create the weighted averages presented. See slideshow for more details about the data source.
What First 5s Are Doing
County commissions invest in programs that prepare children for kindergarten, aiming to reduce the "readiness gap" that leaves many low-income children in Southern California up to a year behind their more affluent peers on the first day of school.
Partnering with the county's 25 school districts, Orange funds Early Learning Specialists to identify service gaps in school readiness, promote best practices, and develop new local initiatives such as promoting early math skills development.
Ventura's Neighborhoods for Learning and Preschool for All create and maintain new, high-quality preschool spaces for 3 and 4-year olds.
Imperial's Leyendo con mi Familia and HIPPY programs supports school readiness at home through literacy nights and bilingual book giveaways along with literacy materials for parents and children.
LA works to prepare children for kindergarten by engaging with early care and education (ECE) providers, parents, and children. The Workforce Development Initiative engages providers in interdisciplinary skill-building to improve their levels of education and training and to ensure communication between sectors. LA also funds Los Angeles Universal Preschool, which is dedicated to making voluntary, high quality preschool available to 4-year olds in Los Angeles County.
San Diego offers universal developmental screening procedures for children, parent education and family engagement support for preschool providers, and training and coaching for classroom teachers. Over 15,000 children have received a quality preschool experience.
Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, and Orange are all participating in the new CARES Plus program which supports advanced training for early childhood educators.
Through its emerging Community Collaborative Santa Barbara supports the ongoing implementation or planning of comprehensive child development programs throughout the county.
Riverside recognizing the important impact of quality childcare/preschool experience on readiness for school, Riverside's investments include an initiative to increase access to, and the quality of child care/preschool servies; workforce development services; and a Preschool for all (PFA) program for high need communities in three school districts within the County.
San Bernardino's Early Care and Education investments focus on preparing children for kindergarten and training care providers to improve quality and education for San Bernardino County children.