Skip to comments.33% of Students Here Live in Poverty (Life in a Blue County)
Posted on 01/10/2008 3:42:37 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin
One out of three school-age children in Milwaukee, WI lived with a family in poverty in 2005, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Wednesday.
Milwaukee ranked sixth highest overall among the nation's 70 largest school districts; only Cleveland, New Orleans, Detroit, Fresno, Calif., and St. Louis had higher percentages of children living with families in poverty.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said creating jobs, resolving school-funding issues, getting more fathers involved in raising their children and getting kids to stay in school are key elements in reversing poverty's grip on the city.
"I literally go into classrooms and say, 'I'm Tom Barrett, I'm mayor of Milwaukee, and I'm begging you to stay in school and work hard,' " Barrett said. "We know that's the long-term solution. The short-term solutions are job retention and work force development."
Overall, 12% of Wisconsin children ages 5 through 17 lived with a family in poverty. Within many school districts in southeastern Wisconsin, the rates were extremely low. Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties ranked among the nation's 28 counties with the lowest poverty rates of school-age children.
But Milwaukee continued to struggle, with 38,785 of 117,884 school-age children living with a family in poverty, up nearly 10,000 kids from the 2000 census.
Brother Bob Smith, president of Messmer Catholic Schools, said he sees the impact of poverty every school day. Eighty percent of the 1,500 students in Messmer schools are eligible for free school breakfasts and lunches, he said.
Recently, one student missed classes because her family was homeless and she couldn't get her uniform washed, Smith said. He said there are numerous cases of children who come to school in need of warmer coats or money for bus fares.
"One of the first things is to make sure we understand what poverty is," he said. "On one hand, it's not a death sentence. I grew up in Chicago in poverty. You deal with gangs or you deal with being made fun of because you don't have the latest shoes, or you're eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.
"On the other hand, if you're able to really get kids to believe that there's a future and there's hope, and so many educational opportunities, you have to let them know they have to earn those," he said. "You don't get scholarships just because you're poor or you're black. You get them because you earn them."
William G. Andrekopoulos, superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, said poverty affects schoolchildren in a range of areas, including academic preparedness and health.
"We need to get kids in quality day-care programs so they can deal with the deficits children have, like vocabulary development," he said.
He said many impoverished children in the school system are in desperate need of care for physical, mental, even dental health. Children who are either homeless or who are often moving from home to home - and school to school - also are at risk, he said. Recently, one school principal told him that a child was acting out in class. It turned out the child needed a blanket because he was sleeping at night on a pallet.
"This housing thing is probably bigger than I ever know or can imagine," Andrekopoulos said.
School kids living in poverty also may be in unstable family situations, he said.
"When kids live in poverty, there is such a disarray with who really is the primary adult in the child's life," he said. "A number of people are struggling to make a living, (working) multiple jobs; their own survival is critical. That becomes an issue with the family. The whole parenting thing is an issue. It is a problem for the school system. We don't want to use it as excuses."
Something over 90% of the poor have TV sets. A majority have DVD players. Over 70% have a car.
Now, as you put it, "the poorest of the poor" would not have these things, by definition. But they are an exceedingly small sliver of society.
Nothing like the numbers that Milwaukee is reporting.
After what I've seen, personally, with my own eyes, I'd have to disagree with you on a couple points.
One, that if the kid is sleeping on a pallet without a blanket, it's the parents doing; and the other is that even if that's the case, they likely have those material things.
We lived in a welfare town and the kids would run around hungry, seriously under dressed, dirty, with no toys to speak of; while the parents had the TV, computer, booze, drugs, cigs, pets, takeout food, you name it. The problem wasn't lack of funds, but selfish immature behavior on the parents part.
There is tons of help available out there and these people would take it and take advantage of it. It just never made it to the kids.
It was so bad that all the charities and churches who did Christmas trees for the poor kids, would collect the names and get together and weed out all the duplicates. People would go around to all the different ones and leave their kids names so they'd get lots of free gifts from different sources.
And then there was Book-it by Pizza Hut to try to get kids to read. The kids would reach their goal for the month and get a certificate for a free personal pan pizza and the parents would take it and use it for themselves. The kids never saw the pizza.
I HATE welfare.
It would make sense as the ones taking advantage of the voucher program were already motivated to do better to start with. This would just give them an extra advantage and they had the sense and wherewithal to use it.
“Murphy Oil Corporation created the Promise to give El Dorado students an additional opportunity to pursue higher education. Murphy Oil Corporation will provide 100 percent of the Promise scholarship funds.”
We have a similar program in WI...though, of course, with the ‘Rats in charge, the Taxpayer foots the bill.
You only need a B average and have to “stay out of trouble” which is loosely defined. The two kids our ‘Rat Governor has never would’ve qualified for this. They both have criminal records as long as their arms. But, while they were growing up, their Daddy was the DA, so you can imagine there was never any “time served” for those two. Yeesh.
I can hardly wait for THIS boondoggle to start paying out. *Rolleyes*
“Wouldn’t surprise me if one out of three were obese, either.”
That was uncalled for. Why not call the kids b@stards while you’re at it? Yeesh.
They don’t need daddies. They need free government money!!
It pays to remember what TRUE Poverty once was. Thanks for your comments.
Yeah, don’t call a bastard kid a “bastard”. His momma might get so ashamed she can’t get pregnant again.
And the incentives to make the decisions leading to multiple children by multiple men with no father in the house
were provided by liberals, through the government, with OUR money.
Overheard at an Appalachian Trail shelter during a snowstorm(which is basically like that picture but without one of the walls)
“So, what do you do for a living?”
“I’m a patent attorney in Washington”
“And this was the nicest place you could afford?”
Have you read “The Glass Palace?” (Jeanette Walls) It’s a true story of a woman (a successful writer for large newspapers) and how she lived most of her life in poverty due to the selfishness and mental illnesses of both of her parents. The parents always had what they needed; the kids did not. :(
Truly inspiring, and she doesn’t white-wash a thing. Her mother, today, is homeless on the streets of New York City. She’s tried to take her in, but she always runs off, preferring the danger of the streets to a “normal life.”
A great study in pulling yourself up by the bootstraps against all odds and letting things go.
That isn’t what I meant, and you know it, Pappy. I thought it was a low blow and uncalled for in this discussion of the roots of poverty.
“...you deal with being made fun of because you don’t have the latest shoes, or you’re eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.”
I’m shocked that children have to endure such deplorable conditions.
When I was a kid, I had to eat Liverwurst sandwiches for lunch at school. Everyone thought I was weird. And a Nazi, of course, because I’m second-generation German. *Rolleyes*
Oh, The Horror! The Horror! LOL!
Breakfast for me was peanut butter on a slice of bread, and I'm solidly middle-class. They'll have to tell me more than that to impress me with their poverty.
Give em an XBox360 for spending time with their kids?
What about family? What about asking the help of a local church?
Oh yeah, asking for charity is "demeaning," requiring some effort and a measure of humility.
You can't tell me there is no community aid available somewhere for tthese "poorest of the poor." Of course, I've become somewhat numb to these perpetual sob stories about how "the rich" don't give enough to "the poor" in this country.
Actually, boop isn’t so far off. Those welfare people tend to run FAT for some reason, kids included. Don’t suppose it’s it’s what I’ve seen them buy with their food stamps?
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