Public schools that teach poor children successfully must have strong leadership, an environment of high expectations that all children can learn, highly qualified teachers, and active parental awareness and support. Progress of society must be measured by our willingness to develop the least among us. Evolution necessitates public policy that begins by making the poor more educated and less underprivileged. This means the standard of education to public schools must be equitable and teaching poor children at least as well as middle-class children. This certainly is not happening in most schools for the poor in America.
Being a strong instructional leader is the challenge for principals in schools today, but even more challenging in schools with high poverty residents. Academic and social success is too complex for a principal to achieve alone. There must be a leadership team that works together to develop a vision and goals that are achievable. On the other hand, without strong instructional leadership at the helm to both create and manage the vision, teachers are not likely to form committees to improve the school. The principal must set high expectations, develop teacher leaders, and maintain a positive attitude toward students, staff, and parents. This is not always easy when you are dealing with an at-risk population.