Friday, October 5, 2012

The scary, silent P word

It sure was fun following the first  debate on TV and Twitter - Romney's inaccuracies; Obama's less-than-stellar performance.  The Big Bird jokes alone, made it worth the time.

But, two days later, I still can't shake my morning-after feeling of disappointment. How in the world were these two powerful men able to debate for a full 90 minutes about the US domestic economy without even uttering a word about poverty?

An excellent education blogger, Jersey Jazzman, refers to America's Invisible Poor Children.  We have the highest child poverty rate in the developed world.  Nearly 25% of our children are growing up in poverty. Are we really OK with that? 

In my experience, well, yes, most of us are.  Most people I know go out of their way to avoid any contact with poverty.  It's not that hard to do: choose wealthier schools, avoid certain streets at night, join country clubs instead of community centers, live in nice neighborhoods.

Poverty is being ignored in education too.  Wisconsin is about to give each school a comparison "grade" - without any consideration for widely diverse demographics. This has been done before in other states. Not surprisingly, the poor schools get low grades.  The wealthier schools get high grades.

Yesterday, I had the afternoon off.  My son's school (68% poverty rate) was going on a field trip to a local community garden. At the last minute, the President decided to stop in Madison for a campaign speech. I toyed with the thought of going to see the President instead of spending the day with the kids.  A Presidential visit is once-in-a-lifetime, right?

In the end, I chose the kids.  And had the best afternoon I've had in years.  Because behind the childhood poverty statistics are some amazing, incredible, curious, energetic and all-around awesome kids. (And let it be known that they are being taught by amazing, incredible, and all-around awesome teachers, too.)

The President and Gov. Romney may be able to ignore them, but I can't.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Yes! So full of wonderful children and adults, and also many broken ones. Trying so desperately to assist in the rebuilding of these neighborhoods, communities, and schools. So many just don't get it. Or rather, don't want to get it. Or maybe even don't care to get it.