The Places Our Kids Will Go

It is graduation season and a time I often remember the Dr. Seuss book, Oh The Places You’ll Go.  FYI, a great gift for high school graduates. The passages reference the journey ahead, one’s ability to control one’s own destiny, and the potential struggles and life choices people will face.  However, for some, the choices may not be as clear.  Sometimes, those choices can have long-term consequences for our kids and their future.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

Research released by Ann Owens, a sociologist from the University of Southern California, highlights the growing income segregation facing our children.  Parents with financial resources are able to make one important decision that will influence their child’s future – picking the right neighborhood.  Neighborhood segregation has led to the identification of income segregation in our communities and schools. This growing change was more commonly found in families with children than with childless adults.

Parents choose neighborhoods based on quality schools and available school resources. In Iowa, schools are funded by a variety of sources, including local property taxes. As property values increase, so do the tax receipts, thereby giving the schools in higher income neighborhoods an advantage over low-income neighborhoods.  As neighborhood segregation becomes more prevalent in communities, so do the consequences of these decisions for the student, whose parents do not have the resources to move their child to the more affluent neighborhoods.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the changes are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

In Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, Robert Putnam addresses the challenges facing high poverty schools. Children attending high poverty schools might be increasingly delinquent and truant, leading to increased rates of suspensions.  Stressors are more common in high-poverty schools, including hunger, unstable housing, economic problems, lack of medical and dental care, and community violence. Children facing stressors are more likely to experience academic, attention, and behavioral problems.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

Putnam further discusses the advantages for low-income students attending integrated schools.  In fact, some studies found students’ achievements were positively correlated with classmates’ family backgrounds as opposed to their own family backgrounds. Children from more affluent homes encourage achievement among their classmates.

You’re off to great places
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So…get on your way!

Graduation is an important time in young adults’ lives. This is when they get to explore the world around them and experience what life has to offer. It is critical that young adults have the opportunities to be successful on their journey.


Central Iowa Voters

KCCI and the Des Moines Register will host debates with the democratic candidates running in the 3rd District Congressional Race and the Iowa Senate Race.

The U.S. House debate will feature Democrats Desmund Adams, Jim Mowrer, and Mike Sherzan.  The debate will air May 26th from 6:30-8:00pm.  The U.S. Senate debate will include Democrats Tom Fiegen, Rob Hogg, Bob Krause, and Patty Judge and will air June 1 from 6:30 to 8:00pm.

In preparation for the events, viewers and readers may submit video or questions to feature in the debates.

Below are sample questions to submit:

#IASenDebate

  • What will you do to assure all children regardless of race & place have access to opportunities to achieve the American Dream? #IASenDebate
  • What will you do to assure high quality & affordable child care is available to families so they can remain in the workforce? #IASenDebate
  • How would you support working families to spend time with newborns or sick loved ones without facing a financial burden? #IASenDebate

#IA03Debate

  • What will you do to assure all children regardless of race & place have access to opportunities to achieve the American Dream? #IA03Debate
  • What will you do to assure high quality & affordable child care is available to families so they can remain in the workforce? #IA03Debate
  • How would you support working families to spend time with newborns or sick loved ones without facing a financial burden? #IA03Debate