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Graduation Statistics Rise While Low-Income Families Linger Behind

There has been no rise in graduation for low-income families begging the question: Why?


Graduation Day is such a memorable time for all involved. A picturesque moment with friends standing together talking about yesterday, and looking forward to tomorrow, not realizing how today is a bit of history. Some of those students will be together for the last time, standing together today. They do not realize how their lives have changed over the last years in secondary school, and the college years, or more functional years of their life are preparing them for a future. As parents and students stand teary-eyed for group photos, the students tell each other, “We did it!”. The parents tell each other, “We finally got him/her through.” The teachers and principals stand in a circle, and smile. Under their breath, each one knows the struggle of each student in their class, and they think to the themselves, “We did it, finally.”

According to the recent statistics provided by The Heritage Foundation, “The 2014 graduation rates reached 82 percent nationwide, a new record. But that figure is just an increase of one percent over 2013.”

With the increase in rates, shouldn’t the U.S. Department of Education take credit for these strides in achievement? Well, according to further research, the numbers say, “no”.

“The problem,” says Lindsey Burke of the foundation. “Is found in the lingering numbers of the graduation rates for students from low-income families. The numbers for this group of students, have not increased.”

No Child Left Behind has been on ongoing discussion for many years now on how to change this statistic.


With studies and facts, it brings me back to the basics; so who am I to argue? Not so much with the studies and facts, but as with the basics, the Bible, as with the Lord. The Lord you say? Why yes, it the education of the young, and ourselves, given to us, as a responsibility by God. Even in Ephesians 6, Verse 4 states, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

You know, I once read where the Conservative Students for America conducted a survey of 13 colleges in the Southeast and found that of those surveyed, ‘56 percent said that right and wrong is a matter of personal opinion. Wow! Imagine if you were being judged by a jury of those peers? I would be terrified to know that my fate lay in the hands of people whose definition of right or wrong, was in fact just that, their definition. These college students were once children. It’s really discouraging, people these days aren’t being effective in this. There are too many people with infants with day nannies and night nannies, and 24 hour nannies who live in the homes, au pairs who are the primary caretakers of the children. There are too many children in boarding schools without parents there every day and night. There are too many children with no parents at all. There are too many people who would make wonderful, loving Christian parents, who have no children.

This is not new, I understand, but those of us who are parents, need to understand children need us. Our children need us, and those children who come into our lives, regardless how, they need us. We need to be available, not as their parents, but as believers and sharers of the word. These children need and want someone to talk to. Sometimes they want to hear about God. They just need someone to share with them.

Parents were always the first teachers of children. Priests were educators of people of Law and Religion. People were educated on how to live longer, and about prophets who participated in teaching and learning of the justice of the nation, and in response to God’s Word. The Egyptian culture was more advanced in the Old Testament. Moses was educated in the Egyptian schools, but he still remembered his parent’s teachings about God, and he became a man of his word. In the Chapter of Acts 7, Verse 22, “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.”

Our Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father:

This child (these children) you have given me, to love, to guide and to care for,

Are growing up so quickly; There are so many things they need, and I fear I may leave undone;

And though my heart feels blessed for all the time we have together,

I fear, their tender years will move quickly, and there will be so much left unsaid.

Therefore, I reach out to you in hope, and ask as each step is taken towards tomorrow,

I pray you will reshape their life daily in the presence of your love,

And you will reform mine in mercy, Lord, and in grace and as a parent, you will lift me up,

You will show me the way to calm their fears, and strengthen my understanding,

I pray you will give me patience, and help me to remember to allow my child the freedom,

To grow, and to learn, but to instill in me the stern countenance to discipline when needed.

Grant us both courage Lord. Calm our fears, and as we walk through the challenges of each day,

I pray for truth and faith, and to provide myself as the parent my child needs, and not the friend,

For years shall come when they will need the support and confidence of a parent, and this is your

gift to them Lord. I pray Lord, I am worthy enough.


About Brenda Stapleton

Brenda Stapleton is a professional writer and social media enthusiast. She is the founding columnist of from the park bench, and continues blogging under the same headline today. She is a content writer, technical writer, communication and procedural consultant, who considers it both an honor, and a privilege to have worked with such a diverse group of subject matter experts throughout the years. She feels it is through collaboration and communication with professionals in other programs, where meaningful partnerships are formed and challenging projects are culminated which produce awareness, integration, and increased success in finding solutions to mutual problems.

Brenda is a former primary and secondary educator, with a Louisiana teaching certification from (ULM) University of Louisiana at Monroe. She is a former nurse tech and registered nurse working under the ULM-RN program. She certified through the (AFA) American Fitness Association as a personal trainer, and is a certified law enforcement professional under (POST) Police Officer Standards Training in the State of Louisiana. She is well-versed in the Arts and Sciences, holding a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Arts in the discipline of Criminal Justice with minors in Sociology and Psychology. She has credited graduate work in English and Integrated Learning through Technology and Communication, carried over from her Ph.D. work in Integrating Technology, Learning and Psychology from Grand Canyon University.

and More…personally
Brenda grew up in Columbia, Louisiana in the same house, where her parents still live, today. She began life literally, stumbling every day. She was fitted for her first set of braces on her legs, as a toddler. She would wear braces on her legs, until the age of four, and orthopedic shoes until the age of six. Thinking the past was behind her, she took the world in leaps and bounds, until at the peak of her career, she faced yet another set-back, only this one, left her with a neurological injury that was irreversible. Since then, she has strived continuously for a career, where her passion for creativity would be fueled by the fervor of chasing a sense of sobriety that did not leave her doubtful of a future. Armed with a sense of humor, a purpose in life, and a heart full of dreams, she took the road less traveled, compliments of Robert Frost, and she has learned many things along the way.
She has learned adaptability is her best characteristic, and humility is her worst. She has learned the day is scarier than the night, for in the day you will see the harm that befalls you. She has learned unconditional love is never stronger than in the very young, and as it is in the very old. She has learned no matter what emotion a person is experiencing, a cuddly puppy can make you re-evaluate it all. She has learned the only certainty in life, is death- be ready. She has learned the most experienced emotions are forgiveness, grief and hope, and she has learned that patience is the most taught virtue.
In her free time, Brenda can be found lost in the elements of nature. She enjoys cycling, golfing, swimming, and practicing yoga. Her favorite places to be in this world are at the edge of the sand, with the ocean waves kissing her toes, or chasing her footprints away; or riding a bike through the park under the trees full of multi-colored leaves in the fall, with the wind blowing gently at her face, and is deeply overwhelmed by nature. It’s the fleeting moments when she is caught in a rainstorm, or snowflakes begin to fall, and melt as soon as they touch the warmth of skin, or when watching over a cocoon, as it changes into a butterfly, or a rose bud into bloom, when she feels human, small and meek.
Brenda is a published author of articles and blogs. She is currently writing her first book, but acknowledges her two greatest accomplishments, as the two who call her momma. She is inspired by watching her daughters become individuals, face their giants, and grow in life, while each follows her dreams and searches for a place and a purpose to aspire and grow. With several years behind her, and her children growing into adults, Brenda has taken the time to focus on her purpose. In doing so, she has unpacked the dreams she had placed away for safe keeping, and with a bit of uncertainty of what lies ahead, she sets out on yet another road less traveled, and this time, she says she takes a pen and paper along the way.

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