Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Poverty-Do Kids Really Count? Really?

‘I see one third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill nourished”
                                      FDR, 2nd inaugural, 1937

Might as well be today.

The latest report on “Kids Count” from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds more children living in low-income neighborhoods than during the Great Depression.

Some progress for a nation that prides itself on being “Number One.”

Even here in Fayette County, one of the more affluent counties in Kentucky, more than half of county school students are eligible for  free or reduced priced lunches---more than half!

Our state ranks 32nd in economic well being of our kids, 30th in education, 24th in health, and 38th in family and community according to the “Kids Count Report”…and despite our best efforts we don’t seem to me moving in the right direction in any of these categories, though health has improved slightly.

Basically one in four of Kentucky’s kids live in poverty..and the numbers nationally have increased from 2008 to 2013.

What’s to be done?

I have no grand solutions, but it does seem we should bite off each of the problems that contribute to poverty and go after them that way.

For example, our teen birth rate is too high and with one third of our kids living in single parent homes, we need to get it down. Better sex education in the schools would help—and well as programs that bring parents and kids together to discuss and work on this and other issues.

Programs that keep potential dropouts in school, such as the recently increased school leaving age should help.

And programs that help the economy (count me as a supporter of raising the minimum wage here) will do good also.

But, as we can see from FDR’s assessment  more than 75 years ago, it will take time. Even longer if we don’t work on poverty prevention.

Think about that, and ask the candidates for governor and congress how they would tackle poverty as we go thru our fall elections. They should not, can not ignore poverty any longer.

I'm just sayin'...

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