Mike Rose: “How do we begin to bridge the gulf between the poor and the rest of society?”

This blog will be on vacation for this holiday week.  There will be a new post next Monday, December 1.

During this week of Thanksgiving, I urge you to read and reflect on a new piece recently posted by Mike Rose, an education writer for whom I am thankful.  Rose is a professor in the graduate school of education at UCLA.  He is also the author of some wonderful books that include—on the subject of teaching and education—Lives On the Boundary, Possible Lives, Why School?, and Back to School.

Rose has recently posted an interview from the fall, 2014 issue of The Hedgehog Review, a publication of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia.  Rose’s topic: Seeing the Invisible Poor. The interview explores the issues in a new 12th chapter, “The Inner Life of the Poor,” that Rose added to the revised and expanded 2014 edition of his classic, Why School?.

Here is a taste of what Rose tells The Hedgehog Review:

“There are at least forty-five million people in the United States living at or below the poverty line.  But they are close to absent from public and political discourse, except as an abstraction—an income category low on the socioeconomic status index—or as a negative generalization…  Neither the abstractions nor the generalizations give us actual people trying to live their lives as best they can.”

“I think our separation, our increasing economic segregation, contributes…. With segregation comes ignorance and apprehension.  Part of the way we establish our shared humanity is by what we imagine goes on inside the head and the heart of others.  If we are separated from a group not only physically but psychologically, then it becomes all the easier to attribute to them motives, beliefs, thoughts—an entire interior life—that might be deeply inaccurate and inadequate.  And it’s from those attributions we develop both our personal and public-policy responses to poverty.”

“Poverty represents a society’s moral and civic failure.  It also constricts our collective intelligence and creativity as so many people’s potential is squelched.  Thank goodness the notion of an ‘opportunity gap’ is finally making its way into public discussion.”

As always, Mike Rose is grounded and thoughtful.  Take a moment during this busy holiday week to read and think about his post, Seeing the Invisible Poor.

Good wishes for Thanksgiving!

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One thought on “Mike Rose: “How do we begin to bridge the gulf between the poor and the rest of society?”

  1. As a nation, we are allowing those with wealth to use it to segregate those who have the wealth from the other 99% and at the same time we are allowing the wealthy to become the only voice for our direction as a nation. This direction appears to be aimed at reducing the middle class by using treaties and low wage earners from foreign counties in order to increase even more their wealth and control of the decision making mechanisms of our nation. It should not be a surprise that large numbers of children and families live in poverty in this wealthy nation. It reminds me of Amos’s Old Testament warning about the increasing division of wealth. Hopefully, we will wake up and change this direction, but this last election seemed to indicate that the wealthy are in control for now. “Greed is good” seems to be the message from our current leaders! I look forward to reading this book. Thank you for your time and effort in this struggle to take back our democracy.

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