AMARILLO, TX- As the new school year approaches, teachers across our region are preparing to deal with a familiar problem---child poverty.
Each year, teachers come out with new lessons and integrate them with new technology.
In the past few years, schools across the panhandle have been canning the traditional classroom textbook for electronic books like the kind viewable on iPads.
But as technology advances, there's a downside---a problem that's leaving scores of children in the dark.
Students in Amarillo ISD schools have iPods. Up the road at Plemons Stinnett Phillips Consolidated, teens are using iPads.
The big question---What's happening with all the children who don't have computers and printers or iPads outside of class?
"I think it's difficult to educate kids in poverty without poverty 101," Donna Beegle said.
She's been sharing her personal life story to teachers across the country and made a stop in Amarillo Wednesday during a Region 16 Education Seminar at the civic center.
"I was born into generational poverty," she said. "My family were migrant labor workers and I dropped out of school at 15, got my GED when I was 26 and 10 years later got my doctorate."
She's one of the few who's overcome the obstacles many children living in poverty face.
"Consider that kids are living in situations where they're being evicted," she said. "They're going hungry or they're cars are being towed or family members are being arrested."
It's a series of sad scenarios most don't want to think about, but a reality every teacher should be aware of.
Beegle says the solution is to have teachers fight poverty, not fight students.
She says often times students get in trouble for being late to class or because they can't turn in assignments online electronically. She encourages teachers to build that one on one relationship with students to improve education.
It's estimated more than 1 million children living in poverty drop out of school each year.