Las Vegas Sun

May 3, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Fight poverty with education

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In a land of plenty, poverty should be an exception. Today, however, there are some 50 million people living in poverty in America, which is, ironically, perhaps the richest country in the world.

The problem among the poor lies in their inability to create wealth. The literature on the subject suggests that there are several causes of poverty; paramount among them is the lack of education. The average high school student graduates without a clue of what they are going to do with the rest of their life occupationally. Life in America, after all, is about economics.

Our 21st-century economic environment demands that each graduating student have a good idea of their occupational path. Career orientation and counseling must be a core ingredient of the curriculum. Our public school system is the only institution designed to accomplish this.

Let’s stop poverty in its tracks and demand of the state Board of Education, the Legislature and the governor that each student be on a path to creating personal wealth.

As the saying goes: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

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  1. Governor Brian Sandoval, to his credit, mandated in his state of the State Address that all Nevadan students read, write and speak English by the 3rd grade. This educational goal, if accomplished and fulfilled, can assist students on the path to academic achievement, societal productivity and then hopefully future wealth.

    Carmine D

  2. How are we to educate students properly when the left needs ignorant and functionally illiterate sheep to form their political base and "progressives," who control the public school system, do their nasty work for them? 5 decades of putrid results have shown us we cannot until we break the stranglehold teachers unions and "progressives" have on "education" in the USA. We must get the government, at all levels, out of the "education" business and put it back into the hands of those who care the most about their children: their parents. Parents must be freed up to select those education institutions that best meet their goals and aspirations for their children's futures; not unelected, unaccountable, pencil-pushing bureaucratic drones. The parent chooses the school; the state pays the bill, up to a maximum amount.

  3. A parent is a child's first and life long teacher.

    Having said that, Commenters Future and SgtRock have provided superb comments. We fail however, to address the underlying problem, the parent and home culture when we discuss poverty. When a parent or parents are faced with crime and substance abuse, and some cases physical and emotional abuse, this WILL directly impact their child or children.

    In this world of social technology, you would think that should a person want to leave or break the never ending cycle of negative space that they are in, that their people would be there for them. The fact is, when one faces such changes, one has to change not only their mindset, but often the scene of those who have been around them during negative times. That is when our society's social safety net should be there, and sadly, in a land of so much wealth, cuts have placed these lifelines on life support in mere existence.

    Our country needs to adequately fund mental health for starters.

    In Nevada, Lawmakers need to put ENforcement teeth in the taxpayer funded, yearly administered PARENT/TEACHER/STUDENT INVOLVEMENT ACCORD that holds all parties accountable and responsible. It is a wake up call for parents and students about their reality, that it is affecting success both in school, and for their future.

    WHY won't Lawmakers help? Because it judges people, and then creates an atmosphere of isolation, and possible discrimination. Would you stop a person heading for the drop edge of a steep cliff? I would take that risk and attempt to stop them from hurting themselves. Would you?

    Blessings and Peace,

  4. For Commenter Jerry Fink: Neither teachers nor unions have any "stranglehold" on students and their parents/guardians/caregivers. Those parties are free to choose the school that they wish their child to attend: online education, by zone variance, home schooling, community schools, or alternative education. Yes, they can also pay for private schooling, as I had in the past for my own children while in California. There IS choice.

    There is no "agenda".

    Thank you.
    Blessings and Peace,

  5. I tend to agree that education is one of the keys to conquering poverty, and that the proliferation of single parent households is also a major factor.
    However, spending more money on education doesn't seem to work well. Here in Canada high school teachers after 10 years earn about $90,000.00 (our dollar is roughly at par with your US dollar). Our students do not seem to be any brighter or more motivated than yours despite our enormous spending on their education.
    My own view is that true poverty can only be eradicated when a society puts its citizens first and is willing to share its wealth.
    America has abandoned the ethical concept of governing for the benefit of all its people, something along the lines of Jeremy Bentham's "the greatest good for the greatest number".
    Instead, America has chosen to skew its laws and governance for the almost exclusive benefit of the rich and powerful. As Michael Moore so eloquently put it in his documentary Capitalism, A Love Story, America has become a "corporatocracy". I strongly agree with that viewpoint, personally believing that America has adopted the goal of "maximizing shareholder value" as its mantra. That certainly benefits the rich, but at the huge expense of America's cities and workers.
    Wall Street at this moment in time effectively controls your government whether Democrats or Republicans win at the polls.
    America will never recover until its people demand fairness from its elected representatives. Your existing social safety net is quite pathetic from a foreigner's perspective, and yet so many of your politicians blame the poor and struggling and complain that taxes are too high. Your taxes are in fact abysmally low, especially taking into consideration the loopholes available only to the elite.
    With the present day wealth of the USA, only the most addicted and dysfunctional of your citizens should be wallowing in poverty. Instead, legions of hard-working families are "living poor" while the elite gorge themselves on the fat of the land and ensure that laws remain in place to perpetuate the status quo.
    America needs an immediate rethink of how to manage a rich economy.

    Donald W. Desaulniers

  6. I'm moved by the story of Dr. Ben Carson, an African-American and a brain neurosurgeon from Johns Hopkins University. His mother, a single mother, could not read and write English and worked several housekeeping jobs to ensure that Ben and his sibling went to school. Growing up Ben never knew his mother could not read and write English. BUT he knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, he and his sibling's educations were extremely important matters to his mother. Later in life, much later, Dr. Carson's mother did complete her schooling and the rest is the personal history of the Carson family.

    Carmine D

  7. 95% of Poverty in the United States is voluntary, if the CRIMINAL INVADERS and legal immigrants can come here and prosper then any American who wants to work hard and not be a parasite on the backside of the nation and live in poverty can do so as well.

  8. Absolutely agree with our Canadian Commenter, Donald W. Desaulniers, who squarely fleshes out the American sabotiers of all time, those whose greed and need for power and control, never seems to be satisfied: the American "corporatocracy".

    For Chuck333: That Florida teacher(nor the administration, unless THEY ALL were in a religious school setting) has no defense for demanding such from a student. There is a clear separation of church and state in public schools, obviously, that teacher (and administration)was acting on their own personal volition, beliefs, and preferences. Please supply the link for this article that you have cited.

    Public schools have the oversight of that state's Department of Education. In Nevada and California, teachers are highly discouraged in discussing, wearing, or advocating any particular religious practice, unless somehow linked to the lesson topic, and at that, one brings many other religious viewpoints for comparision. What IS allowable, is teaching respect and tolerance for one another's personal viewpoints and value systems. Somehow, we all have to learn to get along.

    Blessings and Peace,

  9. The most significant factor in how an individual or couple will do financially is HOW YOUNG THEY ARE WHEN THEY HAVE KIDS. Teens that become parents have problems. So do 20-somethings who have more than one kid before they've completed education and become established in careers. Social welfare does NOT help--it just lets them get used to doing nothing, not having working stress in their daily lives. No need to get up and go to work. Just get around to seeing the social workers and welfare workers to be sure you apply for each and every "benefit" you can get for free.

  10. The education and poverty relationship is cyclical. Poverty negatively impacts a child's education. They enter school 1-2 years behind their peers from working class and professional households. Numerous studies have been done that show the language gap, as well as the lack of background knowledge that children of poverty enter school with. From the beginning, children of poverty are at a disadvantage when entering school. One study showed a 5 million word difference between the amount of words a child in a professional household has heard since birth compared to that of a 5 year old living in poverty.

    Starting off behind, many never catch up or graduate high school. This leads to another generation of poverty. It is a constant struggle to break the cycle.

    The CCSD high schooler was told she had to rewrite her graduation speech and that she had to follow district school guidelines for speeches. She went off the approved speech, added the religion she was told she couldn't. As a result, her mic was turned off. Graduation speeches- including those given by students- fall under the captive audience category. She began to get "preachy" and not just "I'd like to give thanks to God, my mom..."- captive audience + preaching= no mic. All speech givers are made aware of the guidelines and all speeches must be approved prior. Another student wasn't allowed to rap his speech, because it was deemed performance and not speech- so it's not just religion that's not allowed.