Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Pauper

I read the below editorial on Sunday and thought it described most of the faces in the Nashville Public Schools.  I have never in my life met children more damaged and in turn damaging in my life.  I want to believe Mulder that amazing kids are out there and then I watch the Parkland kids and go well there are some but the faces of color and of language are missing.

Today I subbed in an ELL class at a nearby high school and the class composition was the most diverse I have seen.  There were Africans, Asian, Latino and Kurdish.  There was a healthy mix of girls and boys and few if any were sane, rational and utterly functional.  It was as if I walked into a Donald Trump wet dream as they personified every stereotype, archetype and prototype of Immigrant from the "shitholes."  These are kids and they have to reflect the rage their families express at home and that they feel when they walk through the community of Nashville that is Trump country.  But they are so disturbing to be around I am half afraid, half infuriated and half embarassed as I again ask myself the kind of person I am or am becoming as a result of my experience with these damaged souls.

Today one of them put in the air circulation a paper in which to purposely freak me out and give the impression that it was rats.  I knew it wasn't as this school was completely rebuilt this past year and as it circled the air vent during lunch I climbed up and saw the paper in there floating about.  The kids returned from lunch and were sure I would have been freaked out and once again when I did not even acknowledge it they pointed it out.  I go, "I'm hard of hearing and so I don't hear it, sorry."  They were disappointed and then we moved on with the lesson. Once gain I win. I always do.

The subsequent classes were worse prompting Security and finally a Vice Principal to arrive at the end of the day after numerous complaints by adjacent Teachers to what they observed.  She was spoken to like dirt which I oddly found comforting but was equally appalled that they seemed to have no idea who this woman was which again tells me all I need to know about presence and engagement with children who are the most vulnerable as ELL students are.  They are one of the many on the spectrum of special needs.    This is what I call "So Nashville" meaning they talk a good game but do little to play one. 

Meanwhile the standardized testing is a fiasco claiming that the system is being hacked, by whom and for what purpose is unclear.  Perhaps Putin wants to takeover Tennessee.

Then the day continued with the local rag again going on about the former Slattern and her doings since she pleaded guilty to a felony.  I kept thinking the writer had a thing for Barry and hell hath no fury than a man scorned.  Uh the woman can do what she wants within the restrictions of her probation so why care?

I should have known it would have been a bad day as I woke up to the news we had a teen rampage last night.  This is not new nor shocking as the teens here are violent and dangerous again living up to the once maligned phrase of "thugs" or "predators" which many activists are begging to change the dialogue and move forward to improve lives and attitudes towards to predominately minority males.  These boys do nothing for that image, again making Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions hard with excitement that they are right.

These are the current crimes but the teens of Nashville and you wonder why I am afraid in the schools

Teen pulls gun on officer

Teens rob gun store

Teens on crime spree

Teen robberies 

Teens with BB guns  

Teens commit more crime

Teens rob and steal

I could go on and on and on and on but what is the point.  I am ashamed to live here and to be a part of this and again another story about a Teacher fucking one of them.  Really?  These kids are fucked up but you have a screw lose to think fucking one is a good thing.  In 20 years I could count on one hand the amount of sex scandals I knew first hand of. Nashville has me onto the feet at this point. This place is sick sick sick.

So try to imagine walking into a school every day and to be afraid and look at each child with such disdain and disgust tells me I need to get the flying fuck out of here.  This is poverty like I have never known and knowing of it only confirms to me that I have little ability to change that or at least hope that I can help one find a way to lift oneself out of it.     I cannot and that is the first rule of admitting your feelings of resignation and I want none of it.  I need some positivity and belief that is what fuels me and enables me to find purpose.  Here in Nashville I have none.  This is not how to life a life, mine or theirs.  At least I can still see that much. 

The Cost of Keeping Children Poor

By Mark R. Rank
The New York Times Op-ED
April 15, 2018

Dr. Rank studies poverty, social welfare, economic inequality and social policy.

ST. LOUIS — This past week, President Trump and House Republicans took initial steps to cut back the social safety net. Both have argued that such spending is counterproductive and wasteful, and that eligibility must be tightened for programs including food stamps and Medicaid. Mr. Trump and House Republicans have also asserted that welfare benefits are far too generous, and work requirements much too lax.

Yet as is so often the case, the reality is much different from what the political rhetoric says. The United States has the weakest safety net among the Western industrialized nations, devoting far fewer resources as a percentage of gross domestic product to welfare programs than do other wealthy countries.

Partly as a result, a majority of Americans will experience poverty during their lives, and America’s rate of poverty consistently ranks at or near the top in international comparisons. Rather than slashing anti-poverty programs, the fiscally prudent question to ask is: How much does this high rate of poverty cost our nation in dollars and cents?

Clearly, poverty extracts a heavy toll upon those who fall into its ranks, particularly children. Countless studies have demonstrated the physical and psychological health costs for children experiencing poverty.

Yet a more difficult question to answer is: What are the economic costs to society as a whole? Over the past 40 years, there have been two attempts to answer this question, with the most recent analysis conducted more than 10 years ago. My colleague Michael McLaughlin and I recently decided it was time to revisit this question.

We relied on the latest government data and social science research in making our cost estimates. In particular, we examined the effect that childhood poverty has upon future economic productivity, health care and criminal justice costs, and increased expenses as a result of child homelessness and maltreatment.

In a study published in Social Work Research, we determined that childhood poverty cost the nation $1.03 trillion in 2015. This number represented 5.4 percent of the G.D.P. Impoverished children grow up possessing fewer skills and are thus less able to contribute to the productivity of the economy. They are also more likely to experience frequent health care problems and to engage in crime. These costs are borne by the children themselves, but ultimately by the wider society as well.

An even clearer way of gauging the magnitude of these costs is to compare their total with the total amount of federal spending in 2015. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government spent $3.7 trillion that year, meaning that the annual cost of childhood poverty represented 28 percent of the entire federal budget.

Equally important, we calculated what the cost savings would be for poverty reduction. Our analysis indicated that for each dollar spent on reducing childhood poverty, the country would save at least $7 with respect to the economic costs of poverty.

The bottom line is that reducing poverty is justified not only from a social justice perspective, but from a cost-benefit perspective as well.

Investing in programs that reduce childhood poverty is both smart and efficient economic policy.

Most of us are familiar with the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It turns out that this is particularly true in the case of poverty.

It is not a question of paying or not paying. Rather, it is a question of how we pay, which then affects the amount we end up spending. In making an investment up front to alleviate poverty, the evidence suggests, we will be repaid many times over by lowering the enormous costs associated with a host of interrelated problems.

Recognizing the sizable costs of childhood poverty is an important first step toward summoning the political will to address this economic and societal blight. Instead of slashing an already weakened safety net, we should be following the example of most leading countries, which have built effective support systems that prevent poverty. By doing so, we would give our children a much better chance of reaching their full potential, which benefits us all.

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