Soooo, Wise Guy. . . .

In my post on the book Ghettoside, I suggested that caring folks with pure hearts and sound minds could make inroads into poverty — and the terrible disease of gang violence in black communities — if not hampered by politics, social agenda and political correctness.  The blight of poverty is complicated — affected by a constellation of factors – both inside and outside these communities.   

Over the last few weeks, I have compiled a list of causes of poverty — offered with a pure heart and (reasonably) sound mind:  educational shortcomings; family dynamics (72% of black children are born out of wedlock) — resulting in single parent homes; young mothers who have trouble “parenting” — which triggers the 30 million word gap (see post of 9/4/15); a lack of positive role models — which helps inspire gangs; lead poisoning; mental illness; unemployment/underemployment; a culture of entitlement; resignation; political convenience; unspeakable violence on television, in movies, video games and music — which inspires a “culture” of violence — resulting in post traumatic stress; prohibitions against the teaching of values, discipline, direction and competition; cultural malaise; nutrition; obesity; drugs; low income; symmetrical, poverty-stricken neighborhoods; a lack of accountability; demonization of police by groups like Black Lives Matter (though usually not by folks who live in the neighborhoods).  “Racism” is a factor as well though the term is often too casually used for political purpose.

And I’m sure there are other reasons.  Where am I going wrong?  What can we do?    

2 thoughts on “Soooo, Wise Guy. . . .

  1. John Stonebraker

    Misuse of semicolons?

    _____________________ John Stonebraker (864) 944-1205 Home (864) 247-0341 Mobile (239) 949-6918 Florida 353.064.668.6019 Ireland


  2. Skip Housh

    Scott, I think we have exchanged ideas on this before so I don’t think it will surprise you to read again that I think the way out of poverty is in early childhood education. The research is quite clear that children who are prepared to do the work of Kindergarteners when they start K, do well throughout their school career. Very few of those who are not ready ever catch up.

    As a friend, who had been our school superindent, told me, “Kids don’t drop out of High School. They drop out of Kindergarten and 1st Grade because they are not ready to do the work.”

    When I started doing volunteer work in ECE 20 years ago, the thinking was that it was simply a matter of cognitive ability – did the child know the names of the letters; did they know the phonic sound of the each letter; could they count. Now the understanding is that the child must have not just cognitive skills but also behavioral and social skills, e.g. follow directions, focus on an activity, share.

    Parents and other caregivers control a child’s readiness for school. Parents must talk, sing, read, laugh with their child. They must encourage their child to try new things; cheer them when they succeed; help them when they fail.

    If that is not the way the parent was raised there is little chance they will raise their own child that way. For better or worse, we all tend to raise our children the way we were raised.

    Thus, the challenge for our communities is to lead and train the parents of all our children about the importance of all the small, every day, simple, free things they can do with and for their child that will help the child be ready when the child starts K. Unforturnately, that requires a cultural change in the poor families. This is not a racial issue. It is as much a problem in poor white families as in poor black or Hispanic families. Unfortunately, there are more poor black families than any other. While there is a strong correlation between poverty and children not being ready for school, poverty DOES NOT cause a lack of school readiness. Parenting practices do.


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