Schools today are constantly changing and evolving. Many schools in America are culturally and economically challenged. School districts across the united states are faced with rapid changes in culture and learning differences. There are some issues that principals must be aware of in order to obtain maximum results for the district. Things such as poverty and violence, diversity, community cohesion and parent/guardian issues are some factors that contribute to either the negative or positive results of school ratings. Poverty and violence can lead to emotional and behavioral problems that are reflected in the classroom settings.
Kids that come from low-income families are often unable to have access to tools and resources as per those who can afford those types of resources. Diversity is another issue that is occurring rapidly in every school across the United States. Diversity can include, culture, race, language, and learning abilities. The U.S. population over the past century has been increasing demographically diverse. Principals can learn to transform this problem to favor the school district or they can continue to avoid this reality and leave out the minorities that are looking for a better opportunity.
The role of the community is also important the well-being of the school and community. The community needs to be committed to the schools mission and vision. Schools and communities must show social cohesion with one another so kids are brought up with the appropriate task to be productive citizens. Another problem faced is parents of today’s children are not always the biological father and mother, it could be a guardian or grandparent, but are these kids getting the attention they deserve at home to promote their education? Are the parents doing their part or are they hindering the child? The support they receive from home to promote education must be supportive.
Many children go home and receive no further attention rather than what the school provides.
Poverty and violence are vital problems that principals must be aware of in the communities of schools. In a study dealing with poverty and violence done by Leiner, Villanos, Puertas, Peinado, Avila, and Dwivedi they concluded that children that were exposed to both poverty and collective violence had higher emotional and behavioral problems. Aggression, depression, anxiety, academic failure, isolation, suicide, running away from home, dropping out of high school, and coming into contact with the criminal justice system were some possible outcomes when exposed to violence and poverty at a young age.
Even being a witness or a victim of violence at a young age played a major role in the contribution of emotional and behavioral problems. What kids are going through at home translates to their mental and emotional wellbeing. Leiner, Villanos, Puertas, Peinado, Avila, and Dwivedi state, “poverty has a devastating effect on mental health and is perpetuated through a cycle in which poverty cultivates mental illness, while mental illness reinforces poverty”. This relates to the school system because what is happening at home is being translated to school. This commonly occurs in a cycle, kids began to think that poverty is acceptable because mom and dad are ok with it, so they began with the mindset that it is ok to be where they are at. Poverty can also hinder the growth of learning to young children since they cannot afford quality daycare.
Parents often in trouble with law enforcement leads to children having discipline problems in school (Liner alt etc.) As school leaders awareness of violence in the community is important and vital for campus success. When school leaders can intercept the problem that are arising from outside school sources can tremendously help schools prevent problems from happening in school settings. Principals need to be aware of what type of community they are up against. When faced with issues such as poverty and violence it is important that principally provide their students, staff, and community members with the appropriate training to try and change the community culture. Over the past 3 decades, the United States has witnessed significant growth of culturally and linguistically diverse students (Xia, Fan, & Zan 2016). Xia, Fan and Zan researched the adaptation of schools when international students were placed in the United States public schools. Schools helping minority groups achieve academic success was the main concern, as well as cultural dimensions of the campus, such as values, norms, assumptions, attitudes and customs.
The scholarly dimension of diversity was looked at as well such as what type of academic norms and learning styles were used by the schools. One of the major issues that arose for the scholarly dimension was the use of language, students from other countries failed to understand the language that was being used by the public school. The language barrier causes some problems in the academic achievement for international students. Another study done by Ibrahim Karkouti in 2016 was the negligence towards diverse issues on campuses. His research proved that when the campus is aware and proactive with diverse kids the atmosphere is more positive than those that neglect this issue. Karkouti states, “Creating diverse racial climates requires institutional leaders to develop admissions and hiring policies that promote an equal representation of socially oppressed groups”.
With that being said it is important that staffs of schools are just as culturally diverse as the kids that attend the school. The research showed that when the institutes perceived diversity with negative social behavior among students lead to higher levels of racial tensions, discrimination and oppression, which lead to lower academic success (Karkouti, 2016). When schools transform the existing culture and provide leadership practices and collaborations between higher learning communities it transforms the way schools look at diversity. Rather than it being a problem, it knows because of a challenge that schools and staff members should embrace. Leadership should embody the ability to inspire others to believe and achieve a worthy goal, motivating others toward this realization of diversity is here to stay and we must adapt and provide for our kids.
Social Cohesion is defined by Engel, Kingston, and Mleczko as, “the property by which whole societies, and the individuals within them, are bound together through the action of specific attitudes, behaviors, rules and institutions which they rely on consensus rather than pure coercion” (p. 409). When schools show cohesion from the surrounding community it builds a sense of harmony, desire and commitment from each other. Neither the school want to let the community down, or the community does not want to let the school down. Engel, Kingston, and Mleczko conducted a four-year study in the United Kingdom. They surveyed community members throughout the years on how schools implemented and used community members’ and school employees’ ideas to better serve the kids of the community.
The results were astonishing, when the school linked the community’s importance to the role of the learning process, it showed education was a lifelong learning process. The social and emotional well-being of the community showed support for the school and the same was mutal for the community. This did not just benefit the school, it should that it benefit the whole family as well. Parents were now more involved with the school as well as with their children. Engel, Kingston, and Mleczko state, “The findings support that involvement of parents and families in young people’s education helps to build school-family-community relationships and more broadly helps to foster community cohesion”.
When examining the role of the parent in education, it is important to know what type of commitment is involved from home. There are many cases when there is no parent at home that lead to problems as mentioned earlier. The home environment is crucial and critical in shaping young children’s lives. Levey, Hall, and Preece did a study on how parents’ relationships affect reading. The study included many races and economic backgrounds. They looked at five things that related to the student’s success in reading: Parents’ attitude to school, parents reading as a child(including being read to), parents’ reading as an adult, shared reading relationships with the child, and how parents and child read together. The results showed that the parents that showed shared reading relationships with their child, that child had a greater success rate in reading. As mentioned earlier economic issues also supported that kids that had access to libraries and computers were successful as per the ones that did not have access. Another factor that came into play was if the mother or father had a college degree.
Those that understood that reading was important, understood that time had to be taken to work with their child. One thing that stood out in this study was the number or parents that did not read. Parents that did not show an interest of reading affected the overall success of reading for their child. Based on these findings it is important to encourage parents and particularly those who have poor relationships with reading to find some time to share reading in their everyday lives in ways that will suit them and their children. After looking over some factors that can affect campus operation and student learning it is important that principals know what type of community and school culture they are associated with. Things such as poverty and violence can lead to discipline problems at school. Diversity can have either positive or negative effects on school culture depending on how the school staff handles these types of situations. The community also needs to show social cohesion so they are on the same vision the school has set out for kids, as well as parent involvement needs to be used in a correct way for any school to succeed.