Countless Americans will walk into church Sunday with little concern that millions of American children have inadequate education. We will be concerned about our own spiritual health and the education of our children, and we will forget that Christ-centered spiritual health is rooted in love of God and others.

The United States simply does not provide consistent, quality education to people living in poverty or low-income areas. Statistics “point to one sure thing,” says Rassoul Dastmozd, president of Saint Paul College in Minnesota, “there is still great disparity in education,” with “most of the disparity derived from poverty.”

Children growing up in poverty or in low-income situations face a number of educational challenges which have nothing to do with the quality of their schools.

“Families who live in poverty face disadvantages that can hinder their children’s development in many ways,” according to The Future of Children’s summary of a work by Greg Duncan, Katherine Magnuson, and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal. “As they struggle to get by economically, and as they cope with substandard housing, unsafe neighborhoods, and inadequate schools, poor families experience more stress in their daily lives than more affluent families do, with a host of psychological and developmental consequences.”

A quality public education system would seek to mitigate those disadvantages, but that is not happening. “While some young Americans — most of them white and affluent — are getting a truly world-class education, those who attend schools in high poverty neighborhoods are getting an education that more closely approximates school in developing nations,” ...

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