home near schools where I teach

I’m just leaving a school in what would be considered an economically impoverished area. I pulled over and took this picture of one of the places where some of my kids are living. I’m sitting in my car, writing this on my phone because I’ve got to get these thoughts out. I’m actually angered and disgusted by the neglect we’re willing to accept for “some” of this nation’s children.

We all know that socioeconomic standing has a direct correlation to a student’s level of academic achievement. There’s no debate to be had here. When families can’t meet their basic needs, who suffers? Children. These kids often show up at school tired and hungry. Anyone who has ever suffered hunger, knows intimately well that there is no learning going on when that belly pain is gnawing at you.
Standing before these students today, I could see it in some of their eyes. Some of you know what I’m talking about. The glazed eyes, the sloped shoulders, and the sad countenance.
I think my anger and disgust come from the fact that I know this country has enough resources to help so many of these children. We’ve turned child hunger into a political issue and let these kids struggle with bad health, unstable housing, language barriers, transportation, and the added stress of living in high-risk neighborhoods.
I’ll applaud the current administration because I’m aware that child poverty fell to its lowest level last year, declining 46% from 9.7% in 2020 to 5.2% in 2021. I’m just not in a place where I feel like it is time to break out the confetti and balloons.
It might sound unrealistic, but for me, I’m floored that our goal is not 0% hunger for our children.
I keep using plural pronouns when I know so many among us prefer personal. So many are more interested in the “I” and not the “we.”
I think this is where I often find myself at a disadvantage during discussions around these issues. I was born and reared with a sense of promoting the collective good. When one does good, we all do good. Most of the time, I feel like I live in a society populated by “me, me, me’s” and “I, I, I’s.”
Well, that went off the rails really fast, didn’t it? I appreciate each of you for having patience with me and, as an aside… I really hate typing on a phone.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that “we” all suffer when “our” children don’t get a proper education and are unable to reach their full potential. We’ve got to do better to support “our” children so they can succeed not only in school but life as well.
I’ll keep doing what I do out here in the world and I appreciate the love and support you all continue to shower this old-storyteller with.
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