wasting bandwidth since 1999

It’s The Poverty, Stupid

If it’s true, this is one of the saddest stories I’ve read in a long while.

For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation.

The Southern Education Foundation reports that 51 percent of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade were eligible for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program in the 2012-2013 school year.

The worst part of all this is that most of our “leaders”, like the writer of this article, view this situation as an educational problem, not a major deficiency of our larger society.

The Obama administration wants Congress to add $1 billion to the $14.4 billion it spends annually to help states educate poor students. It also wants Congress to fund preschool for low-income children. Collectively, the states and federal governments spend about $500 billion annually on primary and secondary schools, with about $79 million coming from Washington.

No! You don’t spend billions on helping to “educate poor students”. Poor test scores (which, of course, is what these people mean by “education”) are not the primary problem here, and only one symptom of the far larger issue.

Instead, you work to change the situations that cause so much poverty in what is supposed to be an “exceptional” country, according to all those super patriotic politicians.

We spend money on improving communities and rebuilding our rapidly deteriorating infrastructure, especially public transportation. Provide funds to develop clean energy and other forward looking industries. And rewrite policies to support small and medium businesses, where the real job growth potential is, instead of providing welfare for giant corporations.

Unfortunately, we’ll spend at least the next two years arguing over trivial crap while largely ignoring the growing poverty and other elephants in the room.


  1. Doug Johnson

    Hi Tim,

    I agree with you on this. I would only add that spending additional money on education aimed at helping students in poverty can also be viewed as a means of reducing poverty. If you look at a better education leads to better jobs, anyway.

    Thanks for writing this,


    • tim

      Thanks, Doug. I certainly believe K12 education is vastly underfunded. But any additional money without addressing the extreme poverty in many neighborhoods will largely be wasted.

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