By Laura Robledo

Last week, students across the nation debated about the issue of poverty and ways to help prevent it in America in our #DoNowPoverty. We asked How should the U.S. treat people who are living in poverty? What would an anti-poverty agenda look like? Devise one piece of legislation that could make a difference.

The US Census Bureau reported that 46 million Americans (about 15% of the population) live in poverty. Additionally, this rate has remained essentially the same since 2011. According to Robert Reich, the economist, (talking about his new film, Inequality for All, on PBS Newshour), “we know that 42 percent of poor kids born into poverty remain in poverty for their entire lifetimes, a higher percentage than even in Britain, where 30 percent of people born in poverty stay in poverty…” Throughout the 1960s and 70s, the minimum wage in America allowed a family of three to rise above the poverty line at about $18,000 today. Currently, however, the minimum wage is at $7.25 per hour, which means full-time employees earn below poverty earnings of approximately $15,000.

Students throughout the week suggested a wide variety of solutions from raising the minimum wage to taxing the wealthy, showing that there is not one way to end the complex issue of poverty in America.

Education is the key to success

Many students argued that the government needs to make education more available to everyone to ensure they are given the same opportunities.

Provide more jobs and raise minimum wage

Many students proposed that America needs to create more jobs and raise the minimum wage for the average American.

People need to work to be paid

Other students acknowledged that people living in poverty do need help, but we need to create a way to ensure they don’t take advantage of the system.

Diminish the gap between the rich and the poor

Many students discussed the income disparity between the rich and the poor, suggesting that the wealthy should be taxed or donate their money more frequently.

Treat the poor with respect

Several students raised the issue that America needs to acknowledge the problem and treat those living in poverty with dignity.

There are Many Ways to End Poverty 8 March,2017Matthew Williams



Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams is a filmmaker and media educator who has recently transplanted to Oakland from Los Angeles. He believes that you are what you eat and feels everyone should have a multitude of dietary options for self-realization. Matthew is the Educational Technologist at KQED.

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