The Reality of the United States Economic Issues

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America currently faces one of the biggest economic recessions in the nation’s history, causing many Americans to face the effects of poverty. According to the 2010 U.S. census, nearly sixteen million children live in poverty (Poverty’s Impact). As such, the parents of these children can scarcely afford to give them a proper education, negatively impacting their future. This creates a cycle of poverty that can rarely be broken without some sort of governmental aid or intervention. In 1964, such a thing happened; then-president Lyndon B. Johnson declared his “War on Poverty,” a series of plans and programs (i.e. Medicaid, school immunizations, Section 8 housing, etc.) meant to lessen both the rate and effects of poverty on the American people. According to Johnson, “Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but a symptom” (Sparks). The spirit of Johnson’s plan later reemerged in former-president George Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” law, attempting to keep children in school at all costs (Ladd). Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks clearly depicts this issue, in which several generations of the eponymous Lacks family are plagued by the effects of poverty, leading to a severe lack of education within the family’s members (Skloot). Following suit, the driving question on the minds of many economic and educational critics is, simply, “After fifty years, how far have we come?”
The answer, however, may not be as simple as the question. Studies show that, while the rate has fluctuated wildly over time, the percentage of the 2012 American population living in poverty is approximately 3.2% lower than that of 1962 (Sparks). Despite this, the effects of poverty on education are far more pronounced in ...

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Ladd, Helen F. "Class Matters. Why Won't We Admit It?" The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Dec. 2011. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. .
Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York: Crown, 2010. Print.
Sparks, Sarah D. "50 Years Later, Verdicts Are Mixed On the Nation's War on Poverty." Education Week. N.p., 22 Jan. 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. .
Waters, Roger. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)." Rec. Apr. 1979. The Wall. Pink Floyd. Columbia Records, 1979. Vinyl recording .
"Poverty's Impact on Education." American Graduate. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2014. .
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