Louisiana teachers share stories of child poverty

By Robert Mann

The child in Rebecca Radding’s kindergarten class at a New Orleans charter school was struggling. Her student understood Spanish, but little English. As the boy’s behavior problems worsened, Radding knew her lessons and his new environment “didn’t make sense to him.”

(Times-Picayune staff file photo by Brett Duke)

(Times-Picayune staff file photo by Brett Duke)

Sometimes, he would dissolve into tantrums. One, in particular, was a blessing. “I saw in his mouth that he had a rotten molar,” recalled Radding, a relatively new teacher who moved to New Orleans from California a few years ago. “You could see through it to his gum.” Radding, who now teaches 3rd grade in a public school, understood one reason her student was struggling. “I cannot fathom that kind of pain,” she said

But she also knew the child’s parents were poor. So, working with the school’s nurse, she helped find him dental care. “When he got his fillings, he became a much happier child.” And, not surprisingly, he also started learning.

That, in a microcosm, is one of the most serious, but neglected problems in our nation’s educational system. It’s the impact of poverty and neglect, and the evidence, as discussed in this space last week, is conclusive: there’s an appalling achievement gap between poor students and more affluent students.

Continue reading at NOLA.com

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2 Responses to Louisiana teachers share stories of child poverty

  1. Amy Freeman says:

    Hi, my husband and I would like to learn more about helping out some of these kids. Could you provide some information on who to contact?


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