If you’re like most people, the words “inner-city school” probably conjure up a lot of images and thoughts. Maybe you think about crime and poverty or the lack of resources these schools often have. Or maybe you think about the dedicated teachers and staff who work tirelessly to educate their students despite all the obstacles. Whatever your thoughts may be, one thing is for sure: inner-city schools need our help. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what inner city schools are like and how we can help them improve education for their students.
What Is An Inner City School?
An inner-city school is a name commonly used for urban schools that accept students from an especially dense or large area.
While these schools are technically in the inner city, the name is unofficially used to designate a populous of immigrants and minorities, often living in poverty.
The terminology comes with a negative connotation as these schools are thought of as “rough” or “dangerous.” And while their environment does play a major role in a student’s developmental life, the fact is that these are regular kids who deserve all the educational resources that our cities have to offer.
In the interest of breaking down this norm, the rest of this post will refer to them by their proper name Urban Schools.
What Are Common Issues In Urban Schools?
Educators in inner-city schools generally take on more work for less pay, as they serve as mentors for many who don’t have one at home. And this problem is exacerbated by a lack of educators willing to accept positions in these neighborhoods.
Also, meaning that teachers are vastly outnumbered by their students.
Classrooms are undersupplied, leaving kids without paper, pens, and up-to-date textbooks, making learning even more difficult.
And on top of all of this, they are expected to stick to the United States’ rigid standardized testing system. Leading to poor performance and thus even less funding coming the schools way.
The Real Issue
There’s no point in dancing around the most important question when it comes to any discussion about schools.
How do the students respond?
Low performance and absenteeism are the most common issues for students that stem from a combination of the issues above and their environment.
Many students living in poverty find themselves with no time for classes as they are forced to provide for their loved ones. Thus, they enter the workforce early and fail to obtain their GED or find themselves unable to afford higher education after graduating high school.
Some stunning facts about Urban Schools from Brookings
- Urban Schools enroll 24% of all public school students in the U.S.
- They also educate 35% of school students and 43% of minority students.
- More than half of big-city students are unable to graduate high school in 4 years.
What Can Be Done?
While poverty and language barriers are huge issues facing urban school students, the core of the problem stems from the current systems of accountability.
Most public schools can continue to operate in the way they do now with no consequences to themselves. Meanwhile, the students suffer.
Changes on this level will require the innervation of their local government and possibly the introduction of new education systems, such as charter schools. They serve students outside of the ridged structure of the public school system and largely serve dropouts. Though the quality and motivations of these schools can vary, they do have to follow the same rules as any in the U.S.
Tackling The Problem On The Individual Level
The goal of the Holistic Life Foundation is to teach students from all backgrounds the necessary skills they need to manage stress through mindfulness techniques.
It’s our belief that any child can benefit from the practices of meditation as they become happier, healthier, and more prepared to take on their lives. This is why we focus a large portion of our efforts on students in urban schools, where the effects of stress are so much worse.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the awareness of the present moment without judgment.
It’s a practice that has been around for centuries, and can be used to improve any area of your life. Not to mention that there are many ways to make meditation and mindfulness easy for kids.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
- Improved focus and attention span
- Reduced stress, anxiety, and depression
- Increased creativity and productivity
- Better sleep quality
- Quieter mind = fewer distractions from negative thoughts or emotions.
Mindfulness in Schools
In order for mindfulness to be successful in a school setting, it needs to be incorporated into the daily routine.
This means that instead of one or two meditation classes a week, students should be encouraged to practice mindfulness throughout the day.
This can be done by teaching them how to pay attention to their breath and by having them focus on their senses.
When students are constantly practicing mindfulness, they learn how to be in the present moment, which can help them with academics, social interactions, and dealing with stress.
How You Can Help
There are many ways to get involved with urban schools, and the best way to find out what’s right for you is to ask around.
Whether it be volunteering your time, donating money or goods, or raising awareness about the issue, every little bit helps.
The bottom line is that we need to do better for our students. You can support our mission at Holistic Life Foundation by donating to support our Network for good.