Different aspects that structure society as well as the vicissitudes that are generally faced define a neighborhood. According to a research conducted by in the 70’s he strongly suggests that even though neighborhoods characteristics do affects a student’s educational performance, family values and backgrounds also have a strong link towards the shaping of kids education. On the contrary, even though, family backgrounds have a part to play, neighborhoods demographic is rather diversified with many conditions, which can ultimately affect the wellbeing and stability of the household itself. Therefore, as much as the family setting is important neighborhood surrounding has the potential to completely restructure even the very strongest of the foundation and ultimately kids’ education. This paper seeks to discuss the in-depth link between kids’ education performance with neighborhood surroundings that hinder their achievements either directly or indirectly.
Income inequality increase during the 60’s and 70’s raised concern about the development of children especially in the United States. This was a time when the community was characterized by race, unemployment, ethnicity and increased civil movement groups fighting for their rights due to limited health care and residential segregation. In the 90’s, a study conducted by Gunn and Duncan pointed out that cognitive skills development was highly affected in poor neighborhoods than the socioeconomic characteristics of the family setting. Henceforth, children’s ability to master their school curricula was hugely impaired by this factor. Furthermore, in their study they did show that even the neighborhood economic status did affect children cognitive skills but neighborhood affluence also had its role to play.
With regards to housing, a research finding from the Center for Housing policy identified different hypothesis which supported the importance of housing and how it impacts children educational achievements. For example, a stable housing limits moving and transferring kids from one location to another thus disrupt their education activities. In addition, affordable houses in suburban communities tend to have stronger school systems with a supportive education base, which try to give more to the student.
Different studies have tried to determine the different factors, which are essential for the acquisition of cognitive skills, which are crucial for the performance of students. There are four ways that the neighborhood can influence the development cognitive skills in children . First, neighborhoods, which are disadvantaged, have frequent poor quality institutions such as health care, schools, security, and child care. The concept of local funding towards public schools henceforth insinuates that the quality of services and provisions offered in the school are determined by the economic status within the neighborhood. Therefore, if the surrounding neighborhood is characterized by increased population concentrated with a high degree of poverty exacerbates the impairment of students’ cognitive skills.
Secondly, as opposed to the previous argument which proposes that inadequate institutions are responsible for children cognitive development and performance, we tend to forget that students spend most of their times at home rather than in school. Therefore, the neighborhood structure together with the family foundation has a part to play towards the development of a child. Creating a condition that aids the kid to learn more as well as offering support to them through giving them regular homework would be a boost that can improve their performance. Cognitive skills inequality are a most appropriate in this situation. This is where you find that certain kids perform well in their studies while their colleagues perform poorly and they both come from the same neighborhood and education institution.
Violence and insecurity in the neighborhood has been found through numerous researches to induce harsh and strict parenting style. In such a situation, one finds that parents are forced to focus more on their children safety rather than developing their cognitive skills or educational performance. Violence also disrupts certain factors, which are essential for children to perform in class such as relationships with other students as well as an enabling reading environment.
So far, we have seen how neighborhoods affect cognitive development of students directly. Surrounding environments are a source of collective socialization, social control, and children support all of which can indirectly influence cognitive development. A disadvantaged neighborhood deters collective socialization with individuals that act as role models to students since they are usually absent in such a community. When educated individuals who can offer advice, create awareness and capacity build children on how they can solve reading problems are not in reach therefore students are disadvantaged to perform in schools. A less violent neighborhood enhances good relationships among its inhabitants who are attracted to come together to create a support base that improves local education as well as other recreational institutions which improve children schooling. Henceforth, when a community is characterized by ethnic divide and high residential turnover achieving collaboration towards a greater cause is highly unlikely. On the other hand, a society that has huge immigrant settlers can be able to come together and monitor their children education system since they share the same values and social likeness.
Finally, certain neighborhoods limit cognitive skills of students using language that is broken rather than standard. It is through language that students are able to understand concepts. Most poverty neighborhoods are known for their use of sub standard language and student’s interactions with their parents are further deterred due to safety concerns whereby most parents become harsh to their kids, which reduce their social interaction with each other. Immigrants are heavily affected since they are characterized by all factors, which are associated with disadvantaged neighborhoods. They are usually of foreign language and when their kids are unable to associate with adults and friends that are comfortable at speaking in English it becomes hard for them to learn and perform in the schools.
In a neighborhood, there are numerous factors, which impair the cognitive development and performance of students. The list is endless with age, and other demographic as well as social ills being involved. Although factors such as violence and poor health care systems hinder the performance of kids in school, they also act as a revelation to the challenges we face as a society. In such a situation, it would be hard to place blame on the institutions put in place by the government such as schools, health care systems, and housing projects. A community has the power to assess the difficulties they are facing and identify the resources at their disposal to change the situation. If schools do not have good support systems for children, parents can create an enabling environment where they work with the relevant stakeholders to improve their children academics and performance.
Gibbons, Steve. Neighbourhood Effects on Educational Ahievement: Evidence from the Census and National Child Development Study. Academic Research. London, UK: Center for The Economics of Education, 2002.
Sastry, Narayan. Family and Neighborhood Sources of Socioeconomic Inequality in Children's Achievement. Social Research. Los Angeles, CA: Population Studies Center, 2008.