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Can Schools End Poverty?

February 20, 2016

Scott Andrew Hutchins
September 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm
I have a master’s degree, and I live in a homeless shelter. I have consistently lived in poverty since I moved out of my parents’ house. I was reading before I entered pre-school, pegged as a genius on my elementary school entrance exams, was in the gifted and talented program in elementary and middle school and the accelerated program in high school. In my 10th grade standardized tests, I got 98th percentile on the Test of Cognitive Skills, 97-100 on all language arts sections, 86 percent on mathematical concepts, and 73% on mathematical computation. My SAT scores were 620 verbal and 490 math. I graduated college with a 2.89 GPA, with a 3.46 within my major. I got 660 verbal and 340 math on my GRE. I got a 3.48 GPA in graduate school. The only way to succeed these days is to know the right people or be a whiz at math, which we can see is my weakest area, not that my parents would get me tutoring or music lessons to help with that. I’ve actually qualified to tutor math up to the ninth grade, so I can’t be *that* bad at it.

Robert D. Shepherd
September 30, 2013 at 6:34 pm
Scott, it sometimes takes a while to catch a break, but things will not ALWAYS be as they are for you today. I wish you will during this time in your life. You are learning a lot, I’m certain, and one day you will be able to use your gifts AND at the same time be able to carry that learning, from this difficult time, with you. Good luck to you. Here’s hoping that you catch that break soon!

Scott Andrew Hutchins
October 1, 2013 at 10:05 am
I earned my B.A. in 1999 and didn’t move out of my parents’ house until I was accepted to grad school in 2003. I’ve been in poverty ever since, and homelessness since May 11, 2012. I’ve never had a job that paid more than $9 an hour unless it was part time.

Reteach 4 America
September 30, 2013 at 11:51 am
If education was a guaranteed ticket out of poverty, there would not be so many poor people like me, who have college degrees and are underemployed because they can’t find decent paying jobs. Today, “millions of college graduates over all—not just recent ones—suffer a mismatch between education and employment, holding jobs that don’t require a costly college degree.”

The system is rigged in favor of greedy billionaires who don’t believe in the redistribution of wealth, like the Waltons, whose six heirs have more wealth than the entire bottom 40% of our nation, and won’t pay livable wages to workers.

I bought the “education leads to the American dream” story and now I am living the American nightmare with my three college degrees and two underpaying jobs.

October 4, 2013 at 10:42 pm
If we educate everyone to their maximum potential and the economy doesn’t absorb these highly qualified people into the job force, then we will have frustrated children with no place to use their abilities, except possibly as entrepreneurs that can’t get startup money and other unemployed people who can’t buy their goods or services. An economy with no money flowing to and through the middle class will not thrive for the majority of people. The uneducated peasants of the past were not the same as the educa ed participants of our current culture. I just don’t see a light at the end of this tunnel.

Scott Andrew Hutchins
October 6, 2013 at 6:49 pm
Deb, I am exactly the sort of person you describe. I have a master’s degree, and I live in a homeless shelter because I can’t stand for long periods of time. I haven’t been able to get startup money, so my only alternative is to get a job. I’m standing at the Apple Store as I type this, in enough pain that I will definitely have to leave soon. Please follow my WordPress blog for more information.

October 6, 2013 at 7:06 pm
So sorry for your situation. I know so many who are being disenfranchised by the corporatization of America. I believe it extends to all areas of employment and life, not just teachers. Good luck to you. Good luck to America.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Matt Bruenig has written in many journals. He also has
a blog, where this post appeared. He analyzes a fairly
straightforward question: Can schools end poverty? The column is a
commentary on the “reformers” who say that we can’t end poverty
until we fix schools, or something to that effect. We have heard
the same statement from Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan, Joel Klein,
Bill Gates, and others. Duncan says that even the President agrees.
Bruenig analyzes these three statements:

  1. Education is a way to end
  2. Education is the best
    to end poverty.
  3. Education
    is the only way to end

He starts his short analysis with
this statement: These are all false, but since number
three is the one Rhee and Duncan and the education reformer crowd
pushes, let’s start there. It is flatly not the case that to end
poverty you need to alter education. Americans should…

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