All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Michael Howell-Moroney

Advisory Committee Members

Akhlaque Haque

Donna M Handley

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2010

Degree Name by School

Master of Public Administration (MPA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Statistically, children who live in poverty are unfairly plagued primarily with a life of educational deficits. Researchers are constantly studying this phenomenon and have attributed several factors to the decrease in quality of life seen by impoverished children. For example, quality of the physical environment, of parental care, and of school systems all can play a large role in the intellectual ability of a child living in poverty. Moreover, children who have lower exposure to toxins, such as lead, have higher IQs and better reading ability than children who have had over-abundant exposure to negative environmental factors. Nationally, early education and afterschool programs, as well as toxin and noise abatement programs, have shown that impoverished children who attend or participate in such programs score better on standardized testing as well as other measures of educational success than do poverty stricken children who do not attend such programs. Furthermore, children attending these programs were less likely to have gone to prison, more likely to be employed as adults, and less likely to have mental health issues than children who did not participate in these programs. Public administrators are tasked with creating and implementing effective policy change in order to combat poverty's negative effects on education. Policy change should focus on creating a universal, holistic, and well-studied early education program for all children. Moreover, researchers need to study the combined effects of early education solutions and afterschool programs to determine whether both are necessary, whether the combination of the two provides a significantly greater effect size of educational attainment, and whether results for afterschool programs can be skewed because of a lack of knowledge of students participating in early education programs. By working towards these things, we can potentially begin slowly closing the educational gap between poor and wealthy children, as well as between African-American and Caucasian children. While creating effective policies regarding poverty and education will not solve the issue of poverty as a whole, it could potentially make strides to close the poverty gap in the future.

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