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Posts Tagged ‘vicious cycle of poverty’

This Just In: Public Schools Provide Child Care, Opportunities for Children to Socialize, and Moral Support in a Demoralizing World

October 20, 2020 Leave a comment

In “What It’s Like to be a Teacher in America”, Emma Goldberg’s reprinted article in today’s NYTimes, she profiles three teachers after an opening series of paragraphs that offers a broad historic sweep of public education and a short overview of how teachers are undervalued in our culture. Ms. Goldberg’s opening paragraphs include this quote:

“Our public education system is a massive hidden child care subsidy,” said Jon Shelton, a historian of the teaching work force at the University of Wisconsin.

The school’s function as a child care center is not news to anyone who ever worked in public education, and that unstated role is too often the source of complaints within faculty rooms— where teachers deride parents for their lack of commitment to supporting their efforts— and in budget forums— where taxpayers complain of the high costs for “failing schools” that “do no more than provide child care”.

As the profiles indicate, teachers do a LOT more than provide child care… and the services and succor they provide is increasingly apparent as the pandemic persists. Reading about the daunting challenges the children of these teachers face is heart wrenching… and its made all the more so because each of these teachers faces their own personal challenges. The members of the public who disparage teachers should read these to see that teachers work FAR beyond the hours they are in the classroom or on Zoom… and the notion that schools are glorified child care centers should die.

Plunging Freshman Enrollments, Challenges for Working Women = Worsening Inequality in All Levels of Schooling

October 16, 2020 Leave a comment

Today’s NYTimes education section aggregates a series of reports from various sources and they all indicate that Freshman enrollments across the country are plummeting… but especially in the schools that serve the students with the greatest financial challenges. As this article by Shawn Hubler indicates, Doug Shapiro, Executive Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reported Thursday is stunned at the effect on community colleges:

Undergraduate enrollment, he said, was down in every region and at every type of institution except four-year, for-profit colleges, with first-time students accounting for 69 percent of the drop.

But the “staggering” news, he said, was from community colleges, where the 22.7 percent enrollment decline from last year eliminated what had been “one of higher education’s bright spots.” In the 2008, recession, he said, community college enrollment went up.

Compounding the problem is the fact that with no government sponsored child care for working parents, the shift to remote learning is having an adverse impact on women who work. Times reporter Jessica Grose offers this summary of the problem:

Though we can’t be sure that what’s going on is entirely because of parental status, both economists I spoke to thought the dire situation for women was related to remote learning and the lack of child care availability.

“The drop in female labor-force participation was quite dismal and not surprising with the return back to school not happening,” said Betsey Stevenson, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, as most of the biggest school districts are fully remote, and even many hybrid models provide a paucity of in-person learning….

Because of the outrageous expense of child care in the United States, even before the pandemic, “women with young kids in many cases pay to work,” said Stevenson, which is to say, they’re paying more for care and other work-related expenses than they’re making in salary.

So now Mom isn’t making ANY money… which hardly seems like a good trade off in a time when rent and credit forbearance are about to come to an end…

The pandemic is making it clearer and clearer that several agreeable fantasies the MAGA voters were sold are not true at all…. and the children in K-12 schools and those striving to improve themselves by going to college are paying the cost.

Regional Clinic’s Financial Health Portends Adverse Impact of Federal Cutbacks on Well-Being of Children Raised in Poverty

October 10, 2020 Comments off

Our local newspaper reports that Mascoma Community Health Center in Canaan, NH, a regional Health Clinic serving uninsured and underinsured families, is in peril unless more federal funds are made available to them. Why?

The Mascoma clinic fell about $50,000 behind on its bills during the months of August and September, (finance director Mike Samson) said, predicting that expenses will continue to exceed revenues by about $20,000 per month until a vaccine allows clinic staff to reduce the time they spend disinfecting and increase the time they spend seeing patients.

In total, the Mascoma clinic is seeking $220,000 to help from now through September 2021, (finance director) Samson said.

When the POTUS refuses to provide funds to the States on the premise that they should fend for themselves he is indirectly and directly contributing to the health problems that citizens are experiencing as a result of the economic challenges associated with the pandemic. This link is clear in this case: if the Mascoma Clinic doesn’t get the funds it needs to stay open scores of needy families will lose access to needed health care. When those same families cannot afford food, social services, and access to schools because of a combination of pandemic closures and cuts at the state and local level they face even more daunting challenges. MAYBE some of the citizens who rely on regional health centers will connect the dots and call their GOP Senators to pass some kind of bill that affords relief to states who are finding themselves strapped for funds… but until those dots are connected it is the poorest children who will suffer the most.