In the middle of Alabama Village, one of the poorest parts of Prichard, there is a beacon of light. The Light of the Village is a ministry dedicated to rebuilding the community and educating children. The program is a necessity in the state of Alabama.
In a recent study conducted by WalletHub, statistics show that Alabama is one of the least educated states in the entire country. For the study, researchers took data from the percentage of adults 25 and older with a high school diploma and compared those numbers to other states. Alabama is in the bottom percentile, coming in at an average of 44 out of the 50 states.
“I don’t think there’s one singular issue, I think it’s a combination of issues,” said Morgan Carnley.
Carnley tutors at the Light of the Village. She believes there’s a number of factors that make it hard for children in Alabama to concentrate in the classroom. One major issue, she said, is generational poverty. Many parents are uneducated and poor. They pass those problems down to their children.
“It’s a bit of lowered expectation in some cases, a lot of times the expectation isn’t even there,” she said, “we hear kids say that it was almost surprising to their families that they graduated from high school”.
While Carnley choose to tutor public school children in Prichard, Julissa Dixon drafts up lesson plans at home. The mother of three chose to homeschool her children years ago. She said it allows them to learn at their own pace and set their own expectations for learning. She’s one of many parents in Mobile who have turned their backs on the public schools and pushed forward with personalized learning.
“I can have control over what they’re learning,” she said, “I think it’s too much pressure on teachers where they can’t really teach what they want to teach. They basically have to teach to test. I hope the school board sees that there needs to be a change.”
According to educational experts, a close family unit is often the key to success. In the latest study, states that ranked the highest in education had a higher household income and higher paying jobs. With big name companies like Airbus setting up shop in Alabama, economy experts say it’s important to have an educated workforce. The long-term solution, according to researchers, comes down to offering one-on-one learning and improving public education. Personalized education is something that is a part of the daily lesson plans at the Light of the Village.
“We can’t wait for the family to step up and do that,” Carnley said, “for sure, it would be great if the families were the ones pushing education, but the rest of the community can’t wait. We have to step in”.
To read the entire WalletHub study, click here.