Monday, December 04, 2006

America's Poor

Yesterday I read about an unusual Stanford University study that found "the poorest do well in poor neighborhoods, but their death rates soar if they live in a rich area." I guess that doesn't bode well for people that move to well-to-do areas so their children can attend the "better" schools.

As I was surfing for a link to the actual study, I can across an interesting post on a blog called "Asymmetrical Information".

"...If poor people did just four things, the poverty rate would be a fraction of what it currently is. Those four things are:

1) Finish high school
2) Get married before having children
3) Have no more than two children
4) Work full time

These are things that 99% of middle class people take as due course. In addition, there's some pretty good evidence that many people who are poor have personality problems that substantially contribute to their poverty.

For example, people with a GED do not experience significant earnings improvement over people who have not graduated from high school. In this credential-mad world, this simply should not be. And it is true even though people with a GED are apparently substantially more intelligent than people without a GED.

How can this be? Even if the GED were totally worthless, available evidence seems to indicate that intelligence carries a premium in the labour market.

The best explanation seems to be that people with a GED (as a group) are smart people with poor impulse control. What intelligence giveth, a tendency to make bad decisions taketh away. Anyone who has spent any time mentoring or working with poor families is familiar with the maddening sensation of watching someone you care about make a devastating decision that no middle class person in their right mind would ever assent to..." (Read the entire post)

If that is indeed true, those four things don't seem all that difficult. I have always said if I teach in a public school in Philly I plan to engage in tough-love teaching...showing episodes of Cops and asking the kids of this is what they want their future to hold... This line of thinking is actually what prompts my approval of "abstinence" education. Teens are not utilizing all of their brain cells --add some alcohol, Barry White and hormones and good luck getting a condom anywhere near where it should be...

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