Saturday, April 10, 2010

Is this the New Normal?

Economic woes.

Call it what you will, but it means jobs lost. Eliminated. Cut.
Incomes diminished, destroyed,
Homes lost, combined, foreclosed.

If the economy begins a recovery, even at the rate of generating 200,00 jobs a month, it will still take more than three years to return to where we were just one year ago (source: Time).

If families with little or no income become the norm rather than the exception -- imagine the possibilities.

One symptom of poverty is lack of telephone service. Families turn to prepaid phones, turn them on only when needed, and neglect to give the new phone number to the school. You can guess the next piece: teachers and principals try to contact the family and reach only disconnected phone numbers. Student is sick: no luck. Student is in trouble and needs support from family: no luck. Student is suspended and needs to be removed from school: well, that happens, too. If more and more families have trouble paying for phones, landline or cell, what happens to the children then?

Another symptom of poverty is hunger. If widespread unemployment is the new normal, then the number of families needing free breakfast and lunch will increase. Who will fund this increase? The money has to come from somewhere.

I haven't even mentioned shelter. Families double up, moving often, when they have no money. Kids lose sense of stability; not knowing where they'll be after school, much less the weekend. We make referrals to agencies that can help, but even those agencies have limited funds.

Then there's the instability that affects behavior. The child who feels angry at the world may lash out at the kid in the next seat on the school bus. The angry child gets disciplined, perhaps suspended from the bus. How does that child get to school now? Parents may or may not own a vehicle. If they do, it is not likely to be maintained well. Without money, what happens?

Is this the new normal? Joblessness, homelessness, hunger? If so, what's next?

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Blogger Liberty Rose said...

What's next is really ugly. Now add to that with cuts, schools that used to provide safe havens for such kids will be overcrowded and in short supply of teachers, paraprofessionals, snacks, caring adults, extra hugs, warm smiles, school supplies for the kids with nothing, and no effective and meaningful extra curriculars or before and after school programs.

Gee, no wonder I had trouble getting out of bed all this week.

4/10/2010 10:55 AM  
Blogger Club 166 said...

Amazingly, we managed to pass a bond issue last week for our local school district. This will help with our expanding enrollments in the district, as more kids are taken out of private schools and placed into the public ones.

As for the rest, there have been some signs of economic recovery lately. Let's hope it keeps on going.


4/10/2010 11:58 PM  
Blogger The Peltons said...

So depressing...I was just thinking about this from government services seems every day you see how budgets can't be balanced, not enough money. Will we ever get back to better times?

And on a lighter note, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment.

4/11/2010 11:58 PM  
Blogger Royal Ranch said...

We must remind ourselves that during times of darkness and challenge, it is an opportunity for some to shine brightly. Our local middle school has decided to take these challenges and turn them around. Instead of losing many services, they are completely changing the schedules and ADDING new electives. That's right, to deal with a loss of people in the building and resources, teachers have shortened their planning time by almost half and are all very excited to add a class that they are experts in and have not had an option to teach in a small town school before! Now all of our kids always have a classroom to be in. And an exciting one at that!

4/12/2010 6:22 AM  
Blogger Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

poverty is a vicious cycle.

4/12/2010 10:26 AM  

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