The widespread incident of neighborhood violence and drug usage in America’s inner cities has had and continues to have a devastating impact on her urban schools. There’s no denying it. The district in which I work is the nation’s 18th largest district. Our city has the state’s highest crime rate and the neighborhood in our city with the highest crime rate includes a middle school in which I was recently stationed for 6 intensive weeks as part of LEA Improvement (since our entire district of 180 schools is currently in Corrective Action, as per NCLB legislation). That is all to say, I get to see the impact of neighborhood crime, violence, and drug use first hand.
But these are all corollary to a more fundamental problem: poverty. The number of children in the US living in poverty – both urban and rural poverty - is staggering. The graph below depicts America’s children living in as compare to the poverty rate of other countries.
How can the most economically advantaged country in the world permit so many economically disadvantaged children?
I first saw this graph as I prepared a workshop for teachers on Urban Education. The more I researched this topic, and learned about the incident of students living in poverty, the more I became outraged. How could this state of affairs have happened in our America?
I don’t have a solution – there is no quick and easy solution. But as a citizen and especially as an educator who is routinely entrenched in the mess it has caused, I am outraged and think every citizen should be likewise.
The impact of poverty trumps the impact of drugs, crime, and violence. Indeed, the latter follow quite predictably from the former. dven.