U.S.A., Land of Limitations?
Kristof argues that in today’s society, people are more likely to end up in the same kind of life that they started in.
Throughout generations, people have tried to change the outcome of their lives, whether it is gaining a higher education than their parents, getting out of poverty, or anything else. Of course, some people are successful. For those who grow up in poverty and go on to become rich, life is great. However, this is not usually the case. Kristof said, “Yet I fear that by 2015 we’ve become the socially rigid society our forebears fled, replicating the barriers and class gaps that drove them away”. These days people who were born poor are still poor, and people who were born rich are still rich.
Not being able to grow out of poverty is more than just not having a lot of money. Children in poverty have worries that go beyond where the money is coming from. As Kristof points out, “The best metrics of child poverty aren’t monetary, but rather how often a child is read to or hugged”, children need much more than money. Children will never feel they have left poverty without love and support, even if they do go on to become rich.
As Kristof argues, you can work as hard as you can, and think you are making all of the right choices in life, but in the end, there’s a greater chance that you’ll grow up to be in the same class position you were as a child.
Point to Share:
Kristof points out that in test scores, the class gap is almost twice that of the race gap. Schools need to pay more attention to the low-income students who may be going home to life in poverty. A student from a high-income family and a student from a low-income family can spend an entire day together at school, but what happens when the day is over and both those students go home to completely different lifestyles? What can teachers do to help that student from a low-income family who is predicted to stay in that class for the rest of his life?