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Poverty

The Leonard Lopate Show

Katherine Boo on Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo tells the story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a slum in Mumbai, India. Her book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity was awarded the National Book Award for nonfiction. It's based on three years of reporting on the lives of Annawadi residents, including Abdul, a Muslim teenager who scavenges for recyclables; Asha, who is seeking a route to the middle class through political corruption; and her daughter Manju, who will soon become Annawadi’s first female college graduate. When terrorism and the global economic recession shake Mumbai, suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal.

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The Takeaway

America's Poor Left Out of Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

Thursday, December 13, 2012

As politicians negotiate how to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, Tavis Smiley says millions of Americans who are in poverty have already gone over the cliff. According to the radio and television host, the real economic focus should be over austerity and its effect on the poor.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Fighting Poverty with Music Education

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

As the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela arrives for its Carnegie Hall residency, Tricia Tunstall, author of Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music, talks about how the music education program "El Sistema" blends music and politics. 

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Detroit City Is the Place to Be

Monday, December 03, 2012

Detroit-area native Mark Binelli talks about Detroit—it’s long downward spiral and its new role as a laboratory for the future of cities. In Detroit City Is the Place to Be, he goes beyond the usual portrait of crime, poverty, and ruin to show how Detroit is being re-invented as a post-industrial city becoming smaller, less segregated, greener, economically diverse, and better functioning.

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The Takeaway

Child Poverty on the Rise in the United States

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Poverty is on the rise in the United States and has been during the last decade, especially among children. Since 2001 child poverty rates have increased by 4.7 percent. Krissy Clark, the senior reporter for Marketplace's Wealth and Poverty Desk, is covering the implications of child poverty in the United States. 

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Life and Death in Delhi

Monday, November 19, 2012

Aman Sethi tells the story of the life of Mohammed Ashraf, who studied biology, became a butcher, a tailor, and an electrician’s apprentice, but ended up a homeless day laborer in old Delhi, in India. Sethi’s book A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi is portrait of persistence in the face of poverty in one of the world’s largest cities.

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Annotations: The NEH Preservation Project

Humorist Sam Levenson's Childhood: 'Poor, With Books'

Friday, November 09, 2012

WNYC

Everything But Money is both the title of Sam Levenson's autobiography and the theme in this 1966 appearance at a Books and Authors Luncheon. 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

What About the Children?

Friday, November 02, 2012

Irwin Redlener, president and co-founder of the Children's Health Fund and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, and Geoffrey Canada, founder of Harlem Children’s Zone, talk about their concern that children living in poverty has not gotten attention during the presidential campaign.

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Schoolbook

Report: Neighborhood Affects College Readiness

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A new report highlights the disparities in college-readiness between students from low-income city neighborhoods and their wealthier peers. Despite efforts to increase the number of high school options, it argues demographics still determine a child's destiny.

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The Takeaway

One Tough Neighborhood, Two Friends, and Thousands of Photos

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

We’ve seen the rough, urban neighborhood documented thousands of times by photojournalists dating all the way back to Jacob Riis in the 1800s. Over and over again, the images appear the same: children playing in alleys, kids standing on street corners, poverty, rubble, and graffiti. Andy Velazquez, now an adult, was one of those children. Brenda Ann Kenneally was his photographer.

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Transportation Nation

Owning a Car, a Path Out of Poverty

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

(Photo CC by Flickr user David Sifry)

(By Shereen Marisol Meraji, Marketplace Money)

Single mom Vanessa Pacheco can't take the No. 27 bus the four miles from her house to her job. She manages a smoothie joint, and because smoothies are a popular breakfast in sunny, health-conscious San Diego, Pacheco has to be to work at 5 a.m. to open the store. The problem is that the 27 doesn't start running until nearly an hour after Pacheco has to be at work.

And Vanessa Pacheco doesn't have a car.

"Yeah, I got in a car accident," she says. "There was a cat in the middle of the road and as soon as I got there, I realized the kids were in the car and they were going to freak out that I killed a cat." Pacheco ended up hitting two cars instead of the cat, totaling hers. Nobody was hurt, which is a good thing because she doesn't have health insurance, and neither do her kids.

Pacheco did, however, have car insurance. But only liability. "If I would have had full coverage I could have at least got $1,000, and that would be a nice down payment on a car. But those are the things they don't tell you when you sign up for insurance."

The United Way of San Diego County is working with two local social service agencies (Community Resource Center and Jewish Family Service) to launch a program that will help working poor parents, like Pacheco, get car loans at low interest rates.

Shaina Gross, vice president of Impact Strategies at the United Way of San Diego, says she recognizes that owning a car is a huge financial responsibility, especially for people living on the edge of poverty. But after spending months interviewing poor and working class people, Gross says she's convinced a car does more good than harm to their bottom line, especially in San Diego where public transportation is spotty.

The program, called Ways to Work, stresses financial literacy, and case workers address client questions about insurance, budgeting and saving for the inevitable ticket and repairs. That's why Shaina Gross says it's so successful. "Forty-one percent of their clients have increased their take-home pay," says Gross. "And 82 percent of the participants were able to move off of public welfare programs." But Gross says it was her interviews with the recently homeless -- living in their cars at a safe parking lot run by a local nonprofit called Dreams for Change -- that really made her understand how essential a car can be.

"That's all we have," says Yolanda Cortez.

Cortez is a single mom with two sons, settling for the night at the Dreams for Change safe parking lot in southeast San Diego. Cortez was laid off from her office assistant job with the San Diego school district more than a year ago, but she had paid off her car when times were good. "There is no one who is gonna say, 'I'll give you a ride, I'll take your kids to school.' There is no support. So, I need my car."

Cortez uses her Acura to get to and from cosmetology school. She says she's confident this rocky patch will be over as soon as she graduates with a trade certificate. "I want the best for my kids," says Cortez, adding, "Hopefully with this experience I create some very, very well trained young men, and they'll have a legend and a story to tell."

Tonight her eight and eleven-year-old boys will go to sleep in the front seats of her Acura while Cortez curls up in the back.

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Schoolbook

The Students Three Teachers Worry About Most

Friday, September 28, 2012

To cap a week-long education series, The Takeaway invited teachers from around the country - including New York City - to describe the students they worry about the most and the issues that are of the biggest concern to them. Take a listen.

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Schoolbook

Two Reports Reveal Persistent Racial Gaps

Friday, September 21, 2012

The latest national studies on the achievement gap show race and poverty adversely affecting many New York City communities despite slow gains in some areas. Catch up on what you may have missed this week in local education news.

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The Takeaway

Highlighting Poverty in the 2012 Election

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Throughout the 2012 presidential campaign, politicians have largely ignored poverty as an issue, so Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are hitting the road to expose the problems facing the American poor.

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WNYC News

More NYS Households Struggle to Feed Themselves Report Says

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Newly released data from the United States Department of Agriculture shows the number of households struggling to afford food in New York State continues to rise.

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New Jersey News

In NJ, More Than 1/3 Struggle to Get By: Report

Monday, September 03, 2012

The federal poverty rate in New Jersey was officially 10 percent in 2010 but a new report commissioned by the United Way of Northern New Jersey estimates that over one-third of state's households are struggling to get by.

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Schoolbook

Jonathan Kozol Discusses New Book "Fire in the Ashes"

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Author and activist Jonathan Kozol is interviewed by WNYC's Leonard Lopate about his new book "Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-five Years Among the Poorest Children in America."

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Jonathan Kozol on His Book Fire in the Ashes

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jonathan Kozol discusses the inequalities inflicted upon poor children. Kozol has persistently crossed the lines of class and race, first as a teacher, then as an author of books about the children he has called “the outcasts of our nation’s ingenuity.” His new book, Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-five Years Among the Poorest Children in America, is about a group of inner-city children he has known for many years, young men and women who have come of age in one of the most destitute communities of the United States.

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Schoolbook

When Will We Address the Needs in High-Needs Schools?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

In an opinion article, a college student who attended New York City schools draws attention to the city's many high-needs schools and their records of failure. "If we fail to attack mainstream economic issues now, then any attempts to improve existing school systems will collapse under a much greater problem: poverty. Empty wallets, empty stomachs and empty minds will persist."

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Nuns and Social Justice

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Sister Simone Campbell, the Executive Director of Network, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, talks about being a progressive voice in the Catholic community, this summer’s nine-state Nuns on the Bus tour, and what the Vatican’s recent rebuke of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious means for the mission of nuns in this country.

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