Education requires participation. If not, how else would one benefit from it? But what if circumstance, conditions, and, or prerequisites are hindering a full involvement? In urban areas school drop out can rise up to 54%! (1); young people, 18 years old, are leaving formal education without any certification. This can amount to 45%. But numbers do not tell the whole story here. It is the sad deduction that an opportunity was failed and a talent was lost. Education must be for all.
The author of the study cited, J. Smyth, wrote a review on the position of schooling in poor areas. Between the lines you feel anger and astonishment about current practices and failing results when it comes to participation of students.
When it comes to the debate on disadvantaged students and socio-economic inequality there is often fierce and sometimes offensive discussion in which the role of research is quite often misused. One quote in this either-or fashion: “Pisa evidence suggests that child poverty has less impact on children’s test results in the UK than it does on average in the 66 countries that participated in the survey. Perhaps Britain’s under-performance has more to do with low teacher standards”.(3). Especially the transition in argumentation needs to be noted here.
The author having a long research engagement in the issue of poverty and education notes there is more to it than the eyes meet at first glance. Stimulating and qualified teachers, student emancipatory action which is embedded in a local community makes education and schooling worthwhile to them again. It is the concerted action of all three that counts. (tongue in cheek: teachers could make the real difference here).
Improving schools in poor areas: It’s not about the organisation, structures and privatisation, stupid!
Improving Schools 2014, Vol. 17(3) 231–240
www.sagepub.co.uk/journals ; www.DOI: 10.1177/1365480214556418
The above picture was taken from a sculpture by Yue Minjun