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No recovery yet: Families struggle to purchase school supplies

The recession may be turning around, but families are still hurting:

Backpacks remain a luxury on the wish list for Shytanica Myles, a young mother of four from the Fifth Ward.

Even with a new job, she said she had trouble just scraping together $150 for school uniforms. She bought other school supplies piecemeal to spread out the cost of sending her three school-age children to Dogan Elementary.

Like many other parents, Myles is struggling in this economy to afford the back-to-school basics. Noticing that more children returned to campus last month hungry, empty-handed and in worn clothes, public school leaders said they’ve ramped up efforts to help, including pleading for more donations.

“Due to the economy, we are having to look for added resources,” said Dogan Elementary Principal Joseph Williams, who sought help when he noticed that many of his students started the new school year in old, outgrown uniforms. “We’ve begged.”

We’ve spent a lot of money on banks. And we’ve spent a lot of money on government. And houses and cars and the like. Some of these have even been worthy expenditures. But when families with jobs can’t afford school supplies, we’ve still got problems.

More money to the people, not the corporations, please.

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Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum

Writer, musician, activist. Currently consulting for Bill Halter for U.S. Senate and a fellow at the New Organizing Institute.

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