Researching children’s issues and the stimulus bill yesterday, one thing stuck out loud and clear: economic decisions are made in the abstract.

But the results?  Fall disproportionately. Especially on kids who are already trying to survive on the margins as it is.

From kids in Northern Virginia and Cincinnati and Las Vegas to all over California, hard luck stories are cropping up. But this time, they have an added edge of governmental failures from the past few years:

Barbara Duffield of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth says a homeless liaison in a large metropolitan area told her of about 20 homeless high school students who had been denied enrollment. Administrators at the schools were worried that those students would drag down test scores and make it harder for the school to avoid sanctions under the No Child Left Behind law.

…many districts have reported [homeless student] increases of 10 percent — some as high as 40 percent over the past year. Some of the increases may be due to better reporting, she says….

"School becomes the most stable part of their day," she says. "You want them to be able to go into the same classroom, sit in the same seat, see the same teacher, because that’s normal for them when everything else around them isn’t normal."

So, which bi-partisan special Senator wants to step up to the plate and tell these kids that they aren’t worth our effort? That education and at risk child funding was cut when they need it most desperately because their underage voices weren’t loud enough to get attention in pay-to-play lobbying world?

I’m all for fiscal responsibility and real world analysis of economic indicators, but let’s make one thing clear: those kids you are throwing away as if they don’t matter? That’s your future you just tossed in the dumpster.

And worse? It was also theirs.

These kids did not ask to be born into these families.

The least we could do is show some fricking compassion when these kids are barely surviving on take-home weekend bags of meals from school and the bare semblance of normalcy from their daily classes. If we do nothing, we are consigning a lot of them to a bleak future of juvenile trouble, adult crime, abuse, neglect and despair.

Shame on all of us — but most of all, shame on Congress. Just how bad do things have to get before we do better for these children?

(YouTube — cast members of The Wire talk education shop. For more, this clip of Bunny Colvin [YouTube] is one of the better written scenes on the subject I’ve ever seen. Genius, pure and simple.)

Researching children’s issues and the stimulus bill yesterday, one thing stuck out loud and clear: economic decisions are made in the abstract.

But the results?  Fall disproportionately. Especially on kids who are already trying to survive on the margins as it is.

From kids in Northern Virginia and Cincinnati and Las Vegas to all over California, hard luck stories are cropping up. But this time, they have an added edge of governmental failures from the past few years:

Barbara Duffield of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth says a homeless liaison in a large metropolitan area told her of about 20 homeless high school students who had been denied enrollment. Administrators at the schools were worried that those students would drag down test scores and make it harder for the school to avoid sanctions under the No Child Left Behind law.

…many districts have reported [homeless student] increases of 10 percent — some as high as 40 percent over the past year. Some of the increases may be due to better reporting, she says….

"School becomes the most stable part of their day," she says. "You want them to be able to go into the same classroom, sit in the same seat, see the same teacher, because that’s normal for them when everything else around them isn’t normal."

So, which bi-partisan special Senator wants to step up to the plate and tell these kids that they aren’t worth our effort? That education and at risk child funding was cut when they need it most desperately because their underage voices weren’t loud enough to get attention in pay-to-play lobbying world?

I’m all for fiscal responsibility and real world analysis of economic indicators, but let’s make one thing clear: those kids you are throwing away as if they don’t matter? That’s your future you just tossed in the dumpster.

And worse? It was also theirs.

(more…)

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com