Going to school and learning are among the most important tasks that children between the ages of 5 and 18 engage in. Learning is not always as simple as just going to school, however. Many factors affect childhood education, including the child's socioeconomic background, environment and her desire to learn.

Cultural Differences

Different cultures view education in various ways. For example, in most Asian countries education is highly valued. Therefore, Asian children are usually high achievers even in American schools. One of the largest cultural issues that students face in school is language barriers. If students cannot speak English, they will often have trouble understanding the lesson being taught. In this case, communication between the student and teacher is also hindered, further enforcing cultural differences.


All students enter school with different socioeconomic backgrounds. Some come from extremely rich families, while others come from excessively poor backgrounds. The reasons for this include the prevalence of single-parent households and differing education levels. Children who come from better economic situations are not necessarily smarter, but often do better in school. This is probably because the neighborhoods where these children are raised have better access to tutoring, support and resources. Also, more affluent children may have greater parental attention. In poorer neighborhoods, education is sometimes secondary to getting a job and surviving. Students from lower income families often have more responsibilities, such as baby-sitting, cooking and cleaning, that takes away from studying.

Teachers and Environments

Budget cuts affect everyone, but they especially hurt children in public education. Elementary school teachers are often qualified to teach all of the core subjects, but high school teachers are usually qualified to teach in a specialized subject. The problem comes when administrators have to move teachers around and someone who has been teaching social studies is now asked to teach earth science. The teacher needs a job, but is not necessarily an expert in earth science. This factor can affect how students learn.

Students' Desire

A student's desire to learn can have a big effect on her education. Desire can probably overcome any other factor. If a child has desire, it matters less where he comes from, how much money he has and what his daily life is like. The poorest child in the United States can achieve more than the most entitled person if he has desire and the wealthier child does not.