New Southern Strategery: Let the Poor get Poorer While the Rich get Richer
Discouraging piece in the Washington Post today about the increase in poverty in southern and western states as measured by the percentage of school kids qualifying for free or reduced price lunches. This graphic compares 2000 to 2011:
In 2000 only four states reported that a majority of their public school kids were on free or reduced lunch. In 2011 seventeen states did. All in southern or western states. The author of the article quotes Michael Rebell, executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Columbia University as attributing this increase in poverty to statistics showing that the U.S. lags behind other countries in educational testing. He points out that kids from high income areas are holding their own but when you look at scores from schools with a lot of low income kids the bottom drops out. The rise in poverty can certainly be at least partially explained by the recession. The Southern Education Association spokespeep also throws in “immigration and a high birthrate among low-income families”. (Translation: “If only those poors would stay where they belong and not breed so much here!”) Hank Bounds, Mississippi commissioner of higher education has a couple of cents worth too:
Hank Bounds, the Mississippi commissioner of higher education, said the country needs to figure out how to educate the growing classes of poor students and reverse the trend.
“Lots of folks say we need to change this paradigm, but as a country, we’re not focusing on the issue,” said Bounds, who was previously Mississippi’s state school superintendent. “What we’re doing is not working. We need to get philanthropies, the feds, business leaders, everybody, together and figure this out. We need another Sputnik moment.”
Sputnik moment? Seriously? OK, here’s what that 2011 map called to mind for me.
With a few exceptions the states reporting high poverty rates and experiencing low student performance are RED states! These states have, for many years now, been represented by Republicans who have done fk all to kick them to the curb! Sputnik moment? How about a “throw the Rethug bastards out now!” moment?
But the sad thing is that the Republicans exploit their low information voters and gin up the fear factor with tales of Welfare Queens and the Homosexual Agenda and the Murderous Abortionists and the Tides of Criminal Immigrants to convince them to consistently vote against their own best interests! If these maps don’t make that clear, I don’t know what does. And meantime their duly elected representatives continue to see to it that the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.
But I have no idea how you put a stop to them.