Research: Poverty Increases Cut Both Ways In Reform Debate
The way I see it, discussions of poverty like this interactive Demos site showing nearly 25 percent of the population or 76 million people (via kottke) being affected cut two different ways:
They're of course a reminder that there are massive problems going on in society outside of classrooms and schools, that waraparound support services -- whatever happend to Promise School Zones? -- and other broad policy changes like childcare subsidies and early childhood education and the minimum wage need to be a part of the school reform discussion. I've written about this several times, generally urging reformers to open their eyes and broaden their agenda.
But they're also a reminder that there is a large and growing section of our society that's been faring much worse than teachers in recent years (and indeed for many decades before), that much as they may feel warred upon rhetorically in economic terms teachers have generally been insulated from the Great Recession (and in some cases have received substantial raises) while millions of others have lost jobs, taken pay cuts, and slid into poverty. In a perfect world, teacher advocates and reform critics could acknowledge this, too.