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Monday, October 22, 2007

Poverty: A Growing Societal Problem That Leans Heavily on Educators

We all know what poverty means … or do we? Ever since the federal government attempted to define poverty in the 1960s, critics have argued that those guidelines are inaccurate and out of touch with reality.

The debate has grown and splintered in recent years, with some saying poverty is as much about choices as it is about circumstance, while others decry that viewpoint as myopic and ignorant of the very real institutional infrastructures that limit the mobility of the indigent.

There are two things for certain, though. Poverty makes an educator’s job that much harder because poverty typically doesn’t travel alone. It comes with lower levels of literacy, health issues, poor nutrition, and a host of other social ills that schools must face and conquer.

If that’s not enough, schools are increasingly seen as the great equalizer, the one place where one can increase their chances for success and a better future. In studying new data released from the Internal Revenue Service, the Wall Street Journal ( recently discovered the gap between the richest and poorest American has continued to grow.

Many academicians cited globalization and the associated skills needed to compete in a “flat world” as the reason for the chasm and Bush, himself, told the WSJ that a good education, especially one that incorporates 21st century skills (read Skills for a New Century in March 2006 of ASBJ), was one of the few sure ways to combat the economic inequality.

Bottomline: educators you have your work cut out for you.

Naomi Dillon, senior editor

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