Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Magical thinking about poverty and education

My son Ben sent me something from The Atlantic that saddened him, a short piece asserting that “Fixing Urban Schools Without Fixing Poverty Is Possible.” Here’s the most saddening part, from Pamela Cantor, the founder, president, and CEO of the non-profit Turnaround for Children:

The argument that says we can’t fix education until we fix poverty is a false one. We can’t fix poverty or the other adverse events of children’s lives, but we can “fix” the impact of stress on the developing brain. In fact, we have to. We can and must teach schools and teachers how to do this now.
There it is: we can’t fix poverty. But we can “‘fix’” (meaning?) its effects. I daresay that’s magical thinking.

CitizenAudit.org notes that in the year ending June 2014, Turnaround for Children Inc had assets of $16,387,573. The organization’s most recent Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax) lists $7,437,077 in salaries for seventy-seven employees. The organization’s officers, directors, trustees, key employees, and highest-paid employees (no indication of their number) account for $1,349,525 in compensation.


1:57 p.m.: An interesting detail from Wikipedia’s Atlantic article: “The Atlantic Media Company receives substantial financial support from the Gates Foundation through the National Journal ($240,000+) to provide coverage of education-related issues that are of interest to the Gates Foundation and its frequent partner in education policy initiatives, the Lumina Foundation.”

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