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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Robert Yost, November 22, 2000. Interview K-0487. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Connection between poverty and low academic success

The socioeconomic status of students at West Charlotte is falling, Yost thinks, and a decline in discipline accompanies a rise in poverty.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Robert Yost, November 22, 2000. Interview K-0487. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

PAMELA GRUNDY:
Well you've had these changes in principals. There's also been a change in student body. I mean, getting a high percent of African Americans. And I gather also a high percentage of low income kids.
ROBERT YOST:
Yes. And socio-economics are definitely linked to the scores which have-lower socio-economics, lower family involvement. Lot of kids are not with their parents. It's a sad, it's very sad. A lot of kids with children, which perpetuates the cycle. Children giving birth to children, giving birth to children. You have to break the cycle.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
It's hard to do just at school.
ROBERT YOST:
You can't do it at school.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
Well how do those two, I mean, those are two, sometimes those two, people tend to put those two together. The blacker and the more low income. I'd be interested in how those two things have affected the classroom separately. If, does that, am I making, asking, I feel like I'm not asking my questions very well today.
ROBERT YOST:
No, they're fine.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
But the difference between teaching, for you, a more integrated class or a more predominantly, if not all, African American class. If there is a difference. And then the difference between teaching the more well off students and the more disadvantaged students.
ROBERT YOST:
Well, I would put it this way. I think that behavior goes across all spectrums. And you can have some kids that are AP that poorly behave. But usually they're not. But you can have some real smart kids that are jerks in AP classes, too. But sometimes I would rather have kids that are lower level because at least they're not know-it-alls. Sometimes kids in AP classes, or [unclear] classes think they know everything. And that you have nothing to share with them. But I think that poor behavior goes across the board. And we're seeing discipline as a major problem in schools. And it's not just a poor thing. It's not just a socio-economic thing. Although I think that with the lower socio-economic groups it does rise. I think there's a direct correlation. I generally have a tendency to not have many problems in the classroom, discipline wise. I've got a class or two that are handfuls. But they're not out of control for me, and I've got actually four classes that are really a delight, and they just, you know, they're pretty darn good.