The numbers of homeless children are climbing here in rural southern  
Vermont, as they are everywhere.  As stated in the article Lou posted,  though, 
numbers of homeless children "do not begin to paint a complete  picture of the 
In every school that I know of, children arrive daily with hunger pangs and  
financial fears.  We can feed them breakfast, but can't assure them that  
their parents will find a new job or that the landlord won't evict them. In one 
kindergarten class that I'm familiar with, children help the teacher choose a  
question each afternoon to be written on the board and answered as they arrive 
 the next morning.  One day in December, a boy asked if the next day's  
question could be "Do you have a home?" 
This lack of financial security translates into anxiety that's felt by all  
family members, not just parents.  We know that anxiety disrupts working  
memory, thus affects students' ability to learn.  We also know that health  
care is 
increasingly unaffordable for many families and know the debilitating  
effects of illness on learning.  It's quite clear that the material  conditions 
which many of our students live are not condusive to learning. 
We do our best to feed children, bring in clothing for them, arrange  medical 
care when possible, and generally create safe classroom environments to  
minimize the anxiety that children bring to school with them every day.  Oh  
and we do still teach, in spite of the increasing amount of time devoted to  
standardized tests for NCLB. 
Yet teachers all over the country hear that it's our fault that students  
aren't learning.  We read that schools must be reformed, or closed and  
by charter schools.   We're subjected to "professional  development" 
presentations from  Ruby Payne's for-profit business, aha!  Process Inc., in 
we're told that the "culture of poverty"  is a  mindset that causes poverty and 
prevents  students who come from  economically disadvantaged homes from 
learning.  If we can just help these  students to adopt middle class values 
education, they will succeed. 
Interestingly, I'm hearing more teachers (generally a conservative group)  
say that capitalism just doesn't work. 
(WL. note:  the last sentence means it is time to establish a  communist pole 
- polarity, and the masses are yearning for such explanations of  the current 

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