School Counselor: Poverty
The classic definition of a school counselor is one who has knowledge, training, and a strong expertise of non academic information that improves academic performance and better learners. We have learned that their role is no longer to only provide academic guidance by assisting in a master schedule but to advocate for the students and be a voice for change. This research explores the backgrounds of poverty, investigated data, differences between social classes, the effects poverty has on children, aspects of high poverty schools and implications for school advisors, counselors and teachers that are effective and important.
The effects poverty has on children both mentally and physically is uneasy. To expect children to deal with the harsh realities of poverty and properly function in school without assistance is unrealistic. Therefore school counselors, with the help of other school officials, must continuously search ways to intervene so they can take on life changing roles and make a difference in our low socioeconomic school systems. A difference can be made. That difference will take dedicated and motivated individuals that are up to the challenge of changing minds that will then lead to changing lives.
Being a counselor alone, as discussed in class, takes courage; one has to selflessly advocate for their clients at all times. There are many tough realities that both teachers and school counselors face in the school system. By far, it is consistently found in research that one of the hardest is working in a high poverty school system. Poverty is increasing in the United States. Being a school counselor in a high poverty school district is more than just counseling disadvantaged children; it is finding a way to learn their backgrounds, learn their homes and as we learn in class, finding a way to indiscernibly counsel their parents. BACKGROUND OF POVERTY
There is a difference between low Supplemental Educational Services (SES) and poverty; we will be referring to both low SES and poverty throughout this ppaper. However, there is a major difference between the two. 2 types of poverty: generational and situational (Payne, 1996) •
Generational: having been in poverty for at least 2 generations •
Situational: a lack of resources due to a particular event (death, illness, divorce, recession) Poverty is the extent to which an individual does without resources. The following are considered resources: financial, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, support systems, and relationship/role models. The ability to leave poverty is more dependent upon those listed resources than it is upon financial resources (Payne, 1996). Amatea & West-Olatunji (2007) globally defined poverty as “a condition that extends beyond the lack of income and goes hand in hand with lack of power, humiliation and a sense of exclusion” (p. 1). Baytops, Day-Vines & Patton (2003), found in the 2000 Census Bureau report that the “average poverty threshold for a family of three was $13,738 and $17,603 for a family of four” (p.2). Because these poverty guidelines are rather strict, as far as the African American population, more than one third can be considered middle class. Middle class is then broken down from lower middle and upper middle to the elite social class (Baytops, Day-Vines & Patton, 2003). Families with incomes below this level are referred to as low income (U.S. Bureau Census): •
$40,000 for a family of 4
$33,200 for a family of 3
$26,400 for a family of 2
Federal Poverty Level (2006) (U.S. Bureau Census):
$20,000 for a family of 4
$16,600 for a family of 3
$13,200 for a family of 2
It is found that families need twice this income to be able to meet their most basic needs. STATISTICS
Unfortunately, national data has found that the amount of children living in poverty here in the United...
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