Yesterday, Dr. Cornel West and Travis Smiley appeared on the Morning Joe Show on MSNBC. The discussion was of the class of poor in
has fallen between the economic cracks and the 22% of American children that are
born into and living in poverty. They
made the point that the poor are either ignored or blamed for the economic
crisis that the America is now facing. United
Social programs for the poor are being targeted for cuts as a means of bringing our budget under control. The Republicans would do away with MEDICAID, food stamps, Aide to Dependent Children, support for women’s health clinics and financial support for public schools in the poorest neighborhoods.
To compound this problem Democratic legislators are not vocal against or openly defiant in opposition of the cuts.
Dr. West and Mr. Smiley are adamant that the social support network not only be maintained, but increased, in order to assist this demographic to move into the middle class and become self supporting.
The problem is real, but the answer is not as simple as maintaining and increasing social programs for the poor – though this surely needs to be done.
Being among the poorest in
self-fulfilling prophecy. The days are
long gone that a high school graduate, much less a high school drop-out, could
make a living wage in a factory or mill.
All jobs today that pay a living wage require some degree of education
beyond the high school level. America
Children from the poorest neighborhoods and rural communities are often in unstable home environments; environments void of education enrichments, and a parent or parents that do not value, or are unable to contribute to, the education of their children. Many of these children are street wise and pose problems in school.
The reputation of these lower performing public schools tend not to attract, in most cases, the best and the brightest teachers and administrators. Many of the students in these schools are socially deficient and some are outright dangerous. The conditions in most of these schools are substandard and school boards and parents tend to be unsupportive of teachers and administrators. It is a lose-lose situation for teachers.
The following is a clip posted by a student in a village school in
As you can see these schools can pose a difficult environment for
teachers and administrators. This clip
takes a minute or two to load and the first half minute is bizarre before you
see the school scene, but it is an eye opener and worth viewing to the end. Alaska
I will not go into, on this post, the problems faced by the classroom teachers in the difficult venues; and I will note that there are many qualified and dedicated women and men who choose to serve these young people despite the hardships.
But the fact remains; without education beyond the high school level, the parents and the children of these parents are destine to remain on and require social programs to survive.
If we are to solve the self-sustaining culture of the poor, we must have extensive social programs for poor parents that will include training for the parents, child care and comprehensive and well funded preschool, elementary and high school curriculums aimed specifically at the cultural and social environment of the student.
Education is the only answer to lift people from the role of poverty.
Poor people did not cause or bring about the economic decline; this was the results of rich people willing to increase their wealth at any cost. When attempting to repair the economy the cause must be acknowledged and dealt with. For Republicans, blaming the poor and cutting social programs amounts to a smoke and mirror attempt to divert attention from their complicity and to avoid breaking their social contract with the rich.