Jeb Bush demonstrated a serious lack of knowledge and understanding about poverty at a fundraiser with some of New York’s wealthiest conservatives.
Speaking to a crowd of people in black-tie attire, he praised Paul Ryan’s ideas about how to get out of poverty, saying, according to Politico:
“When it comes to the American family, Paul Ryan has it right. A loving family taking care of their children in a traditional marriage will create the chance to break out of poverty far better, far better than any of the government programs that we can create.”
Conservatives like Bush are so out of touch that it’s like they can’t even comprehend that there are real causes of poverty that don’t have anything to do with “traditional family values.” They can’t grasp the fact that generational poverty is an extremely complex problem that’s very difficult to solve. Government programs won’t get the impoverished out of poverty, but they can help while those people try to find their own way out. At the very least, government programs can help ensure that they’re not on the streets.
The American Dream is more of a pipe dream for people mired in generational poverty. It is extremely difficult to escape. A strong support structure is very helpful, yes, but it’s not the only key. In fact, it’s not even the biggest key. Just when it comes to education, Bush supports stronger teacher evaluations and tying funding to whether schools meet certain standards. This is what No Child Left Behind tried to do, and it was a miserable failure.
Tying funding to the overall grade a school receives doesn’t work because the poorer schools have more problems meeting those standards. They often can’t afford new textbooks, building maintenance and upgrades, even new desks, to say nothing of whether they can afford the state-of-the-art computer classrooms that wealthier schools can afford. These schools don’t have the ability to provide a quality education, and then they’re punished further because they don’t meet standards. Sometimes they’re even closed, which pushes poor kids into other schools, overcrowding those schools and bringing those grades down. There’s a bit of a chain reaction.
NCLB was a failure because of that, and because it made teachers teach to tests. They couldn’t get very creative with their teaching. They couldn’t go outside the box the tests created to give their students a richer, fuller education. If Jeb Bush truly understood anything at all about poverty, he’d focus much harder on trying to raise the quality of education in the poorer school districts.
He’d also understand that education is only part of the solution, and he’d be courting sociologists for information on other causes of poverty, and what to do about it. Instead, he’d rather push the typical, rich, white, conservative “traditional family values” tripe that much of the rest of the religious right is pushing.