Poverty and education are closely linked: To improve education, we must first reduce poverty. To reduce poverty, we must first improve education.
Wake County fourth-grade teacher Kristen Beller pointed this out a year ago in the Feb. 20, 2014 Point of View “ Poverty, not pay, the issue.” She wrote: “(We) see children walking our halls each day who are not prepared to be there. They may be middle or high school students who don’t have lunch money or school supplies. Some are kindergartners ... who don’t know yet how to hold a book facing the right way or recognize the letters in their name.”
Former UNC system President Bill Friday knew poverty was the top education issue. In retirement, Friday spent much of his time examining the causes of poverty and proposing solutions. Former Gov.
Jim Hunt knew. His education policies addressed both economic and educational needs.
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Gene Nichol knows. The UNC Poverty Center he directs leads the “war against poverty” in our state and beyond. But Gov. Pat McCrory and our Republican legislature don’t “get it” and don’t seem to care.
I hope voters remember this in November 2016. I know I will.
Peter V. Andrews