Letter to the Editor printed in the Edmonton Journal, November 28, 2011By Gloria Nordin, Edmonton JournalRe: "20,000 more Alberta children living in poverty; Growing number 'not acceptable,' premier says," The Journal, Nov. 24.
As an elementary teacher with decades of experience teaching young children, I must say that the proposal to focus on a comprehensive approach to poverty reduction outlined in The Journal absolutely resonated with what I see on a daily basis in our classrooms.Most of the "educational" problems of many of our students actually have very little to do with education, and have a great deal to do with social and economic problems that affect them in many ways. It has been said before that poverty is the greatest learning disability, and that is certainly what I have seen over the years.Quite apart from coming to school hungry, too many of our children fall behind because they simply lack the experiences and supports that are in place in the homes of more advantaged children, including books and parents who have the time to read and talk with them. This is despite the best efforts of their parents, who are too often forced to work two or more jobs for low wages just to make ends meet.Teachers and support staff will continue to work hard to try to develop the full potential of every child, but what would really make the greatest difference is a comprehensive approach to reducing the poverty that is playing the key role in limiting their futures in this wealthy society.Gloria Nordin, Edmonton This letter to the editor was published in the Edmonton Journal on November 28, 2011. Read the full piece on the Edmonton Journal website.