Posted in poverty

Make An Investment In Our Future

While Campbell Brown is leading the charge against the few “bad” teachers in the nation, which will make hiring and keeping qualified teachers more difficult…

While the U.S. Department of Education is pushing charter schools (among other things) which will remove public accountability from public schools…

While public schools are being closed, even against parental wishes (so-called “choice”), disrupting students and neighborhoods…

…poverty in the “world’s richest nation” continues unchecked.

NATION

The Number Of Families Living On Virtually Nothing Has More Than Doubled Since The 1990s

The number of households who survive on $2 or less per person each day has increased by 159.1 percent since 1996, growing from about 636,000 to about 1.65 million by mid-2011, according to a new analysis from H. Luke Shaefer and Kathryn Edin in Stanford’s Pathways Magazine. Families living in this state of extreme poverty now make up 4.3 percent of all non-elderly families with children.

$2 a day for a family of four comes to about $3000 a year. Just for comparison, the federal poverty level for a family of four is about $25,000 a year.

STATE

Not just poverty, but homelessness, too. Right here in Indiana with the envious budget surplus, and the Governor who refuses to participate in medicaid expansion

One State’s Homeless Student Population Grew By 121 Percent Since The Recession Started

The number of homeless students in Indiana schools has more than doubled since before the Great Recession, according to the Indianapolis Star, giving the Hoosier State the dubious distinction of having one of the largest jumps in student homelessness of any state over that period of time. Overall, student homelessness is up 121 percent in Indiana.
A total of 16,223 Indiana students were homeless in the 2012-13 academic year, the paper reports, compared to about 7,300 homeless students in 2006-07.

LOCAL

Poverty in our local (Fort Wayne) area is up, too.

Poverty reach spreads in Fort Wayne, Indiana

All area school districts have had increases in the number of students eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch, an indicator of low-income households, said Corona, a member of the Fort Wayne Community Schools board. About 70 percent of FWCS students qualify, according to the Indiana Department of Education.

The number of people in the nine counties served by the food bank in northeast Indiana has remained the same or dropped slightly in recent years, Corona said. Many are in the category of “food insecurity,” people “living on the good-natured ability of organizations like ours, families and friends to get them through week by week.”

EDUCATIONAL IMPACT

We know that poverty has an impact on student learning…

Test Scores, Students and Learning Our overall scores are unspectacular because of our high rate of child poverty.

Poverty means poor nutrition, inadequate health care and lack of access to books, among other things. All of these profoundly impact school performance.

This is compelling evidence that the problem is poverty, not teachers, teacher unions or schools of education. This is also compelling evidence that we should be protecting students from the effects of poverty, not investing in the Common Core.

Investing in Young Children

Across the U.S., large numbers of young children are affected by one or more risk factors that have been linked to academic failure and poor health. Chief among them is family economic hardship, which is consistently associated with negative outcomes in these two domains. [emphasis added]

Instead of blaming schools, teachers, and teachers unions for poor academic achievement, we need to invest in our children…

Only three advanced nations provide more resources for their rich children than their poor children. The U.S. is one of them.

That needs to change.

Meanwhile the top 1% control about 37% of the nation’s wealth.

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All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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Author:

Retired after 35 years in public education.