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Family stress, poverty affect student success, study says
A survey of top teachers in the nation was done to see the top factors that affected student's success--family stress and poverty ranked highest. - photo by Mandy Morgan
A survey of top teachers in the nation found that family stress and poverty are top factors affecting many students' success, and that teachers would like to put funding into reducing those barriers

The survey asked the 2015 state Teachers of the Year to rank the greatest barriers to academic access for their students, of which 46 responded, wrote the Washington Post.

The Teachers of the Year are top educators selected annually from each U.S. state and jurisdictions such as the District of Columbia and Guam, wrote the Post.

"We knew we could learn so much from this group of teachers and that their opinions represent those of so many others across the country," wrote the researchers from the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic Inc.

Seventy-six percent of the teachers who responded to the survey said that family stress was a major barrier affecting their students' success, with poverty as second-highest ranking at 63 percent, and learning and psychological problems ranked third at 52 percent. Respondents were allowed to mark more than one factor as a barrier for their students.

Respondents shared the view that the greatest barriers their students faced are those they believed are the most difficult and least tackled by the government.

"As teachers, we know those factors present huge barriers to our students' success. Helping students cope with those three factors is probably the most important part of my job. But on a national level, those problems are not being recognized as the primary obstacles," said Jennifer Dorman, Maine's 2015 Teacher of the Year, according to the Post.

The survey also asked which three areas of focus they would put school funding toward to have the greatest impact on learning and success for students.

Results found that the top three areas were anti-poverty initiatives, early learning and reducing barriers to learning, such as providing health care and other services to poor children.

The greatest challenge for teachers was not enough time to get through required material. The greatest satisfaction came from spending time with students in small groups or individually. The least satisfaction comes from the logistics --paperwork and grading.

All but two of the teachers who responded agreed that implementing Common Core and other higher standards in schools will have a positive impact on student learning.
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