The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Achievement: A Quantitative Study

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  • In 1896, the seven brightest learned legal scholars of that time, in the matter of Plessy v. Ferguson, using the principle of de jure segregation, upheld that public facilities may be segregated provided these facilities were equal. These public facilities included schools. In School Law: Cases and Concepts, La Morte (2005) states, “Plessy v. Ferguson poignantly describes the then prevalent state view of inferiority in which African Americans were held. The decision clearly reveals the official stamp of ‘de jure’ separation placed between the races over a century ago,” (p. 286). In 1954, Brown v. Topeka Board of Education overturned Plessy, declaring that separate is inherently unequal. “In 1954 United States Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education, reversed the Plessy doctrine as it pertained to public schools by declaring that in the field of education the doctrine of ’Separate but Equal ‘had no place” (La Morte, 2005, p. 299). Acts of Congress such as No Child Left Behind in 2001 all set standards with a common ideal in mind: the education of America’s youth was and is paramount in importance. When speaking on the topic of Title 1, La Morte (2005) states, “The purpose of this title is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments” (p. 459). Politicians, some clinging to the rhetoric of these laws, made it clear that leaving any child behind was not an option. Politicians, lawyers, and judges have to contend with the interests of their constituents. This law has generated conversations about specific, rigorous, standards-level achievement expected of all students. This conversation has, at the very least, drawn attention to the problems inherent in the system. In Experience and Education, John Dewey expresses the need for a comprehensive philosophy of education. This organized philosophy recognizes the need for a mature learned expert providing meaningful experiences that build upon one another and toward mental growth. This is made clear when Dewey expresses the importance of reflecting on experience. In Experience and Education, the importance of experience, upon experience is laid bare. He states, “The difference between civilization and savagery, to take an example on a large scale, is found in the degree in which previous experiences have changed the objective conditions under which subsequent experiences take place” (Dewey, 1938, p. 39). The reflection component of learning is set forth in the concretized educational philosophy and brought to fruition by the mature, experienced teacher. While experiential learning is central to the philosophy, it is no less complicated and certainly no better if it is not purposeful. The experience has to be formulated in order to be communicated. To formulate requires getting outside of it, seeing it as another would see it, considering what points of contact it has with the life of another so that it may be got into such form that he can appreciate its meaning. (Dewey, 1938, p. 8) This study will be an attempt to identify external experiences that influence learning at all ages. The researcher will draw information from current public-school participants and identify potential significance between Adverse Childhood Experiences and the deleterious impact, or lack thereof, on student achievement. Additionally, this study will examine the caregiver’s perspective as it relates to identifying, appropriately, student behavior and performance as a function of physiological and psychological changes resulting from adverse experiences.
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  • 04/04/2024
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