Overcoming Poverty’s Damage to Learning

This article appeared in the New York Times recently.  Overcoming Poverty’s Damage to Learning

The argument is that children in poverty are more likely to suffer from PTSD than children in Manhattan who were exposed to the devastating experience of 9/11.

What the researchers discovered surprised them. Many children in city schools exhibited symptoms of trauma — but the problems weren’t clearly attributable to 9/11 nor were they clustered near Ground Zero. Such symptoms were, however, concentrated in schools serving the city’s poorest children. And the students’ sense of threat or insecurity stemmed not so much from terrorism as from exposure to violence, inadequate housing, sudden family loss, parents with depression or addictions, and so forth.


The researchers recommend a program that identifies students with intense emotional barriers to learning and then works with the whole school to introduce more productive responses from adults.

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