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About Poverty and Education Reform

One follow-up note to the previous post. I believe it's shameful and immoral that a nation as wealthy as the United States allows 21% of our children to live in poverty, and over 40% of children to live in low-income families. My belief that this is wrong and needs to change is reflected in my voting, charitable, and volunteer decisions, where I try to support policymakers, causes, and organizations that I believe can make a difference in reducing child poverty and increasing income equality. But in my professional life, I work on education policy, not other child poverty issues, and I believe that the point of working in education policy is to try to advance policies that make our schools as effective as possible with the population of students they serve--not to complain about policy and other factors outside of education that keep that population from being different. I do this because I think improving educational outcomes for low-income children is both possible and essential to enabling us to reduce rates of child poverty over the long term. If I ever stop believing that, I will quit working in education policy and go do something else that I think has greater potential to help children in poverty. And every time I hear someone in education policy debates say that poverty, lack of health care, or other factors mean we can't improve the results our schools produce for low-income kids, I want to ask "Why, then, are you participating in this education policy debate? If poverty and health care are the most important factors here for child outcomes, why aren't you working on those policy issues, rather than education?"

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