“Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity” posted a commentary today by SHECP executive director, Harlan R. Beckley, “Why Don’t Students Learn about Poverty?”
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity was launched in October 2007 by major U.S. foundations to foster non-partisan debate during the 2008 campaign season about policy approaches for addressing poverty and opportunity. Today, Spotlight provides a platform for ongoing discussion about how best to address the needs of those who have fallen into poverty during the Great Recession and those who have struggled for generations to move up the economic ladder.
Why Don’t Students Learn about Poverty? By the executive director of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP), Harlan R. Beckley who is Washington and Lee University, Professor of Religion Emeritus.
The United States is one of the most impoverished developed nations on the planet. Extensive research makes this clear. Graduates of our undergraduate and professional schools should know this. They don’t. Despite the importance and relative lack of awareness around this issue, colleges have not developed sustained curricula to study poverty. Whatever future profession students pursue, they should know that poverty is a chronic challenge in the U.S. and that there are policies and approaches that can help ameliorate it. We need an educational system that recognizes and understands poverty as a fundamental societal problem.