A High School Diploma Program

1652 Words7 Pages
It seems like everyone gets a high school diploma in the United States in the year 2016. Or do they? Is it necessary to to get a high school diploma? As a country, we have made some progress diminishing educational barriers such as race, gender, and geography but poverty is still a barrier that can keep a young adult from graduating from high school and in turn, continue the cycle of poverty. Does getting a high school diploma have any effect on “generational poverty”?

Poverty is defined as “the state of being extremely poor.” (Oxford 699) In 2014, “21.1 percent of children under age 18 (15.5 million) in the United States lived in poverty. This group of children represent 23.3 percent of the total population and 33.3 percent of
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Unique Stresses of Generational Poverty that Affect Education
For a child living in poverty, stress can come in many forms. It is commonplace for the most basic needs such as food, shelter and safety to be the top concern. Because of the focus on surviving, anything that takes the child away from the home or requires work in another way, such as school and education, is not very well supported. Donna M. Beagle, who overcame generational poverty, wrote a very powerful report about her experiences. She mentions that appearances were very stressful when she did go to school, stating everyone could tell I was poor by my ragged clothes, horrible shoes, and free lunch tickets.” (Beagle 11) Ms. Beagle also mentions feeling very stressed about arriving on time to school (since she didn’t have transportation) and being able to complete school projects. To add to that, there is the possibility of a language barrier even if the same language is spoken. Without education and language development there are many variations of what is called “non-standard English”. Ms. Beagle said “I said ‘ain’t’ and confused ‘gone’ with ‘went’ and ‘seen’ with ‘saw’. I sensed that I was being judged as unintelligent by those around me.” (11) Many times families in generational poverty have their own “oral language tradition” where they may not know how to speak or write formally. “Often, children of poverty lack language skills needed for school. Their grammar
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