The opinion piece “Lift the charter school cap” (The Podium, April 30) acknowledges that persistent poverty-based achievement gaps exist among students in Massachusetts. One of Governor Patrick’s reports acknowledged that poverty is pernicious. When poverty may cause students to have inadequate dental and medical care, live in substandard housing, have nutritional deficiencies, or be exposed to violence in the neighborhood, their education suffers. Imagine the impact a murder in the neighborhood has on young children.
We can never use poverty as an excuse for any achievement gap, but refusal to acknowledge its effect on students means that society will not work strenuously to eliminate poverty. We need many programs to assist families in their attempts to advance economically and to get the best education for their children.