While the establishment media has reported an upswing in the economy after “bottoming out” in 2010, child poverty has dramatically increased over the past five years under President Obama.
Michael Synder, creator of the website TheEconomicCollapse.com, points out that in the “wealthiest nation” on the planet, approximately one of every four U.S. children is enrolled in the government food stamp program. An estimated 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps before they reach the age of 18.
Some 17 million children in the U.S. are facing “food insecurity,” meaning “one in four children in the country is living without consistent access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life,” Snyder said.
He emphasizes that the number of children living on $2 a day or less in the U.S. has now grown to 2.8 million, despite the government having spent an astounding $3.7 trillion on welfare programs over the past five years.
Crisis of poverty in U.S. public schools
According to an October report published by the Southern Education Foundation, 60 percent of public school children in American cities were in low-income households.
Mississippi has the nation’s highest rate for low-income students in cities (83 percent), followed by New Jersey (78 percent), Pennsylvania (75 percent) and New York (73 percent).
While the problem of poverty in the public schools is most intense in the cities, it is by no means limited to the cities. The report said 50 percent of the public school children in America across all classifications – urban, suburban and rural – were in low-income households in 2011.
It’s the first time that nearly half the nation’s public school student population could be considered to be living under or near the poverty line.
The current crisis in public school poverty is also a crisis for the future, as low-income public school students will face major hardships as adults in gaining meaningful employment in an increasingly competitive global economy.
In a report published by the American Psychological Association in May, Russell W. Rumberger, Ph.D. said students in low-income families, estimated at 20 percent of the high-school population, were five times more likely to drop out of high school than students from high-income families, also estimated to be 20 percent of the high-school population.
“Family poverty is associated with a number of adverse conditions – high mobility and homelessness; hunger and food insecurity; parents who are in jail or absent; domestic violence; drug abuse and other problems – known as ‘toxic stressors’ because they are severe, sustained and not buffered by supportive relationships,” Rumberger wrote.
“Child poverty is rampant in the U.S., with more than 20 percent of school-age children living in poor families. And poverty rates for black and Hispanic families are three times the rates for white families,” Rumberger concluded.
Remarkably, the National Center for Homeless Education, a group affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro funded by the Department of Education, reported in October that there were 1.2 million homeless students in U.S. public schools during the 2011-2012 academic year.
The record figure is up 10 percent from the year before and up 72 percent from the start of the recession.
Homelessness children suffer many psychological consequences. The National Center Family Homelessness reported an estimated 97 percent of homeless children change schools frequently, many up to three times within a single year.
The National Center for Homeless Education lists warning signs for public-school officials to help them determine if a child is homeless, including hording food; poor self-esteem and unwillingness to risk forming relationships with peers and with teachers; a fear of abandonment; a need for immediate gratification; and “school phobia,” an unusual need to be with a parent.
The New York Post reported last month that in New York City the subways are being “overrun with homeless.”
Meanwhile, Obama’s former campaign organization, now called “Organizing for Action,” on Monday handed out suggestions to supporters to lobby their friends and family for the behemoth law at Thanksgiving dinner.
“Take advantage of downtime after meals or between holiday activities to start your talk,” says OFA’s strategy document, called “Health Care for the Holidays.”
“Tell them: There are a variety of plans available in the new health insurance marketplace, so you can pick one that fits your budget. There’s also financial assistance available based on how much you make,” the instructions state. “It might not always seem like it, but your family listens to you. So have the talk.”