Poverty Quicksand

Family formation has often been cited as a principle avenue out of poverty. A recent study from the Brookings Institution indicates that for black women, this may be an illusion, that married black women actually have a higher tendency to stay in poverty than black men, or their white peers. Rather, the path out lies with better economic outcomes for black men. The authors conclude:

This is certainly one of the most important implications of both their study and our own. Breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty for black Americans requires a transformation in the economic outcomes for black men, particularly in terms of earnings. One important point here: the relationship between earnings and marriage runs in both directions. Married men tend, other things equal, to earn more: one study of identical twins suggests that being married raises earnings by one-fourth. Married men may feel more responsibility to provide economically for their families, and especially their children. Low marriage rates may therefore have some impact on earnings.

It is also clear that the vast inequalities by race cannot be alleviated by upward mobility alone. Black girls are, relatively speaking, more likely to move out of poverty in terms of their own earnings. However, we should keep in mind the sheer number of black children being raised in low-income households in the first place. Closing the race gaps in upward mobility will require wholesale shifts in economic outcomes, perhaps above all for men’s earnings.

 

 Scott Winship, Richard V. Reeves, and Katherine Guyot 
"The inheritance of black poverty: It’s all about the men". 
Brookings

 

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Charters and DeVos

Lots out there, these two articles catch up on the core issues, from policy, and from the political.

From Joe Valant,  Brookings Institution

Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos, and the changing politics of charter schools

From Patrick Riccards, Flypaper

When Dads Go to School

27 Education Mobility

Richard Reeves has an important essay on the impact of intergenerational mobility.  The father’s education may be the key to not only better educational outcomes for the children, but also for their income. He writes

 Even if someone does not convert a higher level of education into higher income, they are still better off. They can choose more interesting jobs, even if they are not highly-paid. They have more knowledge of the world and possibly of themselves. Education is a good in its own right, not just as a ticket to a fatter paycheck.

In this context, the importance of education for social justice (or injustice) becomes even greater. Schools are the tool, but if we choose to underfund them, they become something worse: not a tool, but an active barrier.