Out of Poverty?

In yesterday’s post, I talked a bit about the relationship between poverty and dropout.  Today, I’m posting a link to an interesting article about opportunities available to even the poorest inner-city student of color.  Read this article carefully.  It comes from a regular blogger for Forbes.


What’s wrong with this picture?

Every time I read something, I try very hard to read with an open mind.  As I went through this article, I vacillated between identifying with some of his remarks and feeling frustrated over feelings that the writer does not know what he doesn’t know.  Even if he has an awareness of the kids who live a few miles from him, and even if he has listed a few ways inner city kids can access some opportunities to help them rise out of poverty, I think there is a lot of information which he is missing.  Part of what he is missing is the lived experience of poverty.  I don’t believe he has spent much time actually talking to these kids and learning about what life in poverty really means.  I readily admit that I am also ignorant of the level of poverty many inner city kids experience, although I know what it is like to live from parent paycheck to paycheck, and having to get a job at an early age to help fund my own basic needs.  Still, I am aware that I do not know what life actually is like for these kids, as there was always enough food in the home, and always enough money to provide me with warm outerwear in the winter.

Yet, here is a writer who has experienced nothing but “middle class” life writing about how–with enough intelligence, desire, and access to information–any inner city student can move up to the middle class.  If he were a photographer, I might think he posed the subjects of his composition.  I mean, his photo might make it into his photo album, but would never make it into an art gallery because it is so commonplace.

Or maybe I just look at life through a different lens…

Here’s a different perspective…from an individual who actually grew up in the depths of poverty: