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This study examines middle school students from low wealth communities and their perceptions of poverty and teacher efficacy. Additionally, this study seeks to provide valuable insight into educators regarding the skills and dispositions economically disadvantaged students identify effective teachers as possessing. It begins by exploring the history of poverty in the United States. It has been more than half a century since President Lyndon Baines Johnson declared a war on poverty. Yet, statistics show that the number of Americans living in poverty is increasing. The study reviews the literature on accountability in the education system, teacher efficacy, and student perception. It uses qualitative methods to collect student perception data through focus group and individual student interviews. By incorporating narrative analysis, stories from the middle-school classroom are unearthed. Keywords: middle school, middle school students, teachers, effective teachers, efficacy, teacher efficacy, poverty, students of poverty, low-income communities, students living in poverty, perception, student perception