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Reducing Student Poverty in the Classroom

School-Based Antipoverty Strategies the Federal Government Can Learn From and Act On

Schools are ideal locations for social programs because they have unparalleled access to poor students and their families—they are located in the neighborhoods in which families live, are recognized and familiar community institutions, and have established relationships with low-income students and their families. Source: AP/Eric Gay

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Saba Bireda , Joy Moses, Center for American Progress

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Since the time when the most pressing problem facing educators was pigtails being dunked in inkwells, the American school house has maintained a tradition of delivering the 3 Rs—reading, ‘riting, and ’rithmatic. Those halcyon days, if they ever existed, are long past. Today’s educators face a myriad of concerns including the high concentrations of poverty that limit opportunities for young Americans to succeed in too many of our schools. That’s why the American school house must play a critical role in addressing at least one more R—reducing the negative consequences of poverty by becoming a central component of federal, state and local antipoverty strategies.

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Schools that are educating high numbers of disadvantaged students must employ innovative strategies to promote academic achievement. Many of these strategies are what we believe have a direct impact on student learning, such as offering incentives to recruit and retain highly effective teachers, implementing challenging yet accessible curriculum, and providing additional learning opportunities beyond the traditional school day. Yet it is just as important to address outside-school influences, specifically poverty that can also significantly impact student achievement and success.

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Read the full report (pdf)

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Download the executive summary (pdf)

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Download to mobile devices and e-readers from Scribd

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Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor

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  • Experts say a jump in the poverty rate could mean that the liberal viewpoint – social constraints prevent the poor from working – will gain steam over the conservative position that the poor have opportunities to work but choose not to because they get too much help.
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  • Special Report | American Labor in 2010
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  • The jobs emergency
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Hope Yen and Liz Sidoti, Huffington Post

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Joe Ledesma comforts his nine-year-old daughter, Brehanna, outside a day shelter in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, March 3, 2009. Ledesma, a homebuilder for 20 years, lost his job last October, his family lost their home and became homeless in January. (AP/File)

The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama's watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.

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Census figures for 2009 – the recession-ravaged first year of the Democrat's presidency – are to be released in the coming week (Sep 12-18), and demographers expect grim findings.

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It's unfortunate timing for Obama and his party just seven weeks before important elections when control of Congress is at stake. The anticipated poverty rate increase – from 13.2 percent to about 15 percent – would be another blow to Democrats struggling to persuade voters to keep them in power.

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Special Report | American Labor in 2010, David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest
The U.S. economy will eventually rebound from the Great Recession. Millions of American workers will not. What some economists now project -- and policymakers are loathe to admit -- is that the U.S. unemployment rate, which stood at 9.6% in August, could remain elevated for years to come.

The jobs emergency, Robert Reich, Robert Reich

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  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
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  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
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  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
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  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.
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Save the Banks and Kill the Economy

"The problems we face today cannot be solved by the minds that created them." Albert Einstein

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Prof Rodrigue Tremblay, Global Research

It has become a truism to say that the Democrats and the Obama administration now  “own” the crucial issue of the economy. Justly or unjustly, voters are bound to hold them accountable for the poor state of the U.S. economy. This is not an enviable political position to be in just before an election, at a time when disgusted voters are most angry and very anxious about the economy and their economic future. Recent polls indicate that nearly two-thirds of Americans think their nation is in a state of decline and that the economy will remain in the same recessionary state or get worse next year.

Contrary to what President Franklin D. Roosevelt did in the 1930s, President Barack Obama did not confront the banking industry head-on after fraudulent practices caused one of the worst financial crises in U.S. history. In particular, he did not reverse the blanket financial deregulation that the Clinton and Bush administrations engineered in 1999, in 2000, in 2004, in 2005 and in 2007 that allowed for creating mortgage-linked synthetic subprime securities and for betting against them. Instead, his economic operatives (Geithner, Summers, Bernanke, Orszag, Emanuel, (L.A.) Sachs, Romer, Bair, ...etc.) threw trillions of public dollars to the largest banks, allowing top bankers to keep enjoying hundreds of million of dollars in yearly bonuses, at a time when some 300,000 Americans are losing their homes through foreclosures every month. Such a persistent epidemic of home foreclosures is creating a tremendous drag on the economy, besides being a social disaster. —The system that is responsible for so many home foreclosures has not been fixed, although valiant attempts have been made to mitigate the process.

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What If More Education Fails to Fix the Jobs Crisis?

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  • So we need more education to respond to a world with more technology. Smarter phones and smarter grids require smarter workers. It's a parallelism, it must be true!
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  • Less college? First, define your terms
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Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

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"Structural problems need structural solutions" PIMPCO chief executive Mohamed El-Erian tells Thomas Friedman in his New York Times column. And what better way to fix the structural damage in the our broken jobs engine than calling for a better educated work force? Friedman makes a familiar argument that technology

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... is destroying older, less skilled jobs that paid a decent wage at a faster pace than ever while spinning off more new skilled jobs that pay a decent wage but require more education than ever.

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Less college? First, define your terms, Jennifer Godinez and Matt Kane, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN
A more educated workforce is a must, but schooling can take various forms.

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