Wednesday, February 13, 2013

State of The Union

Best parts:

  • Acknowledging the need to fight climate change
  • Call to raise the minimum wage
  • Call for common sense gun legislation
 Mixed feelings:

Call for offering universal public pre-K.

I have no mixed feelings about it being a good thing - it's a great thing.  It will help.  Every bit helps.  The part I do not like, is that the idea of it is used as the policy cure for the problems that poverty brings to education.  

It is no cure.  

It helps, yes - for a few years.  

It is not enough, though.  Four is too old.  A four-year-old raised in poverty is already too behind to catch up.

Even if she could catch up, the problems of poverty will walk with her well past four.  There will always be more to pull her back down, unless she is very lucky.  Luck is not good policy.

Programs that start much earlier like Healthy Families or Early Head Start are a much better bet, but still not enough.  Schools cannot fix the problems of poverty.

Only policies that truly address  poverty  - universal health care and universal child care and low income housing and family wages and child allowances - will allow poor children to keep up in our schools.  Anything else is mostly just re-arranging the chairs.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Agreed. And then there's the problem of asking schools to do more, while taking away more and more resources.