Essay Writing Samples

Community Education and Poverty

The debate between community education and poverty is an interesting one. It is has long been said that education is the ultimate cure for poverty, but this claim is on shaky logical ground. This sample short essay explores community education and poverty and asks if it really is the cure.

Does community education help reduce poverty?

When it comes to community education and poverty, it is questionable whether it diminishes poverty or not. It can easily be argued that any education at all would reduce poverty because the more education that is required, the more likely the student is to succeed. John Marsh clearly states that he does not believe that having an education is a guaranteed way to fight poverty. Unfortunately there are a few barriers that are in the way of education completely dissolving poverty, Marsh brings up the ethical side of these barriers in “Neither Necessary Nor Sufficient.” He demands that education is not the problem, it is society that is the problem.

Unfortunately society is putting the pressure on to have a college education and is in a way biased to anyone without a college degree. Ethically this makes an assumption that anyone without a college degree cannot succeed in life. Marsh also dictates that he believes everyone should be allowed to have a higher education, regardless if they were raised in poverty. Because if society demands that everyone has one, they should also supply it.

Although Marsh makes excellent points in referencing that education should be provided, he does not believe that it is exactly what will reduce poverty. Helen Ladd (2011) examines poverty in a different light, sustaining that poor communities may provide less education but it may not be the actual income of a family that is effecting the students ability to become educated

“it may be that factors correlated with low income such as poor child health or single parent family structures account for the relationship rather than income itself” (p.3)

This is counteracted by Secretary Arnie Duncan’s opinion in Nicholas Kristof’s article

“We have to educate our way to a better economy, that’s the only way long term to get there.”

There are many different view points when it comes to the education system and poverty. Ethically and morally it is wrong to deny anyone the right to an education in their own community. It is right to assume that wealthier communities have a better education system, but it’s immoral to assume that lower class communities do not deserve the same opportunities.


Kristof, N. (2009, February 15). Our Greatest National Shame. The New York Times, p. 1.

Ladd, H. (2011). Education and Poverty: Confronting the evidence. Duke Sanford School of Public Policy, San11-01, 36.

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