Reformer Rhetoric on Poverty

I’m sitting in my living room with my dog (Apache). He’s snoring on the couch across from me and I start thinking about this “war” we are fighting for public education.  I keep hearing all the reformer’s bullshit rhetoric in my head but one catch phrase keeps messing with me—”poverty is not destiny.”

This is a powerful, and I have to admit, beautiful statement of hope and a testimony to the resiliency of humans to survive in the worst conditions.  So who am I to poke holes in this beautiful statement of hope?  I mean it’s a true statement.  There are people that survive and even go on to thrive after living through the conditions brought on by poverty.

But what about the reality? If 1 out of 10 kids manages to survive a life of poverty and go on to some kind of successful life is that really proof that “poverty is not destiny?”

Is a 10% escape rate from poverty really evidence that “poverty is not destiny?” What if we manage to help 3 out of every 10 kids? Is 30% really hard evidence that poverty doesn’t matter?

Remember 1 out of 10 means 90% continue to live in poverty. 3 out 10 means 70% are condemned to suffer the consequences of living in poverty.  In other words, poverty might not be destiny but it really f#*king sucks for a hell of lot of kids!

Reformers you’re right, poverty is not an excuse.  It’s a god damn nightmare!  And shipping poor kids off to charter schools in nice uniforms while forcing them to conform to oppressive behavior management techniques while ignoring the conditions in which children live should be considered a criminal activity!

Follow Timothy D. Slekar on Twitter:

About these ads


  1. Peg Nicholson says:

    Maybe the worst part is that this syphons off the people who could be leaders and teaches them to identify w/the 1% instead of learning about resistance, leadership, and solidarity.

  2. From Canada, where they don’t pretend poverty is not an “in school factor”.

  3. Asbestos exposure is not destiny! Not everyone will get cancer!


  1. [...] was reading Stephanie’s SFER post and thinking about Shaun Johnson’s @thechalkface post while giving some further thought to Peggy Robertson’s Eye on the ball post (I know that is a lot [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 13,854 other followers

%d bloggers like this: