The approximately 15-minute interview with Melissa begins at 1:23:30 and ends at 1:37:00.March 14, 2017
David Yankovich, writers and political commentator joins Rick to talk about the growing threat to our national security by the Trump administration as they cut the budget of Coast Guard and make the world less safety and stable by having a climate denier as head of the EPA.
Luz Christina Ramirez Mooney, New York Teacher and Badass Teachers Association member joins Rick to talk about the March for Education Justice in New York state, what Governor Cuomo is peddling in the state as education reform, and teachers and advocates are doing to stand up for public education.
Melissa Marini Svigelj-Smith, Cleveland Teacher and Badass Teachers Association member joins Rick in light of US Department of Education Secretary Billionaire Betsy’s recent wise crack at CPAC to talk poverty and the high costs of “Free Lunches” on students in poverty that the Secretary doesn’t seem to understand.By working people. For working people. Welcome to The Rick Smith Show. Working Americans are tired of listening to think tank approved corporate news and commentary. They want a direct, honest approach to the issues that matter, so this is what The Rick Smith Show provides. No puppets. No focus groups. No talking points.
Source: The Rick Smith Show
‘Twas the first night of break, when all through the school
Not a creature was stirring, except a privatizing ghoul
A public school teacher was sleeping all snug in her bed
While visions of happy students appeared in her head
As the papers she graded slid off of her lap
She had just settled down for a long winter’s nap
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
The teacher dragged herself from bed to see what was the matter
And what to her tired eyes did appear?
But a bunch of self-righteous folks who were
“O’ Waltons, O’ Broad, O’ DeVos , O’ Gates
What are you doing here on my lawn so late?
Do I even want to know your latest plans to deceive?
Seriously, winter break is supposed to be a reprieve!”
Unfortunately, to her front porch the billionaires did dash
Wearing their contempt for public schools like an itchy red rash
Down the stairs she went to meet them, as if in a trance
She thought maybe she could reason with them, if given the chance
A backpack full of cash was flung on their backs
And they looked smug and condescending in their tailored slacks
The teacher presented research about what kids need to learn
But their only care was the money they could earn
“Students are children; not products,” she tried to explain
“Your lack of knowledge and meddling are causing great pain”
She added that teaching is a mix of science and art
“It’s a humanity,” she said “Not a business with no heart!”
The vacant look in their eyes and tilt of their heads
Soon gave her to know she had much to dread
They spoke not a word, disregarding her work
She feared inequity would continue to lurk
Then away they all flew in their extravagant jets
Forgetting to thank her for cleaning up their mess
But they heard her exclaim, as they drove out of sight
“This isn’t over! We’ll continue to fight!”
Happy winter break to all and peace to those willing to fight for it.
When billionaire Betsy Devos, the woman who bought the Secretary of Education position in Donald Trump’s administration, addressed attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, she received a lot of criticism from people who actually care about children for a remark she made in which she claimed to be the first person to tell Bernie Sanders “to his face that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Although her comment was meant to be humorous, those of us who possess an ounce of humanity know that there is nothing funny about children living in poverty. However, this may be the one and only time that I can actually agree with the literal words of Betsy Devos. There is no such thing as a free lunch. In fact, my kids pay every day.
According to a 2016 report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1 in 4 kids in Ohio, about 600,000 children, are living in poverty. In the city that I teach in, Cleveland, 53.2% of children are living in poverty. Our children absolutely pay every single day of their lives for the meager opportunity to have a “free lunch.” They may not be paying with the currency that Betsy DeVos and her wealthy cronies value, but they are paying in many other ways that matter so much more. Below are just a few examples from the American Psychological Association:
Effects of child poverty
- Poverty is linked with negative conditions such as substandard housing, homelessness, inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, inadequate child care, lack of access to health care, unsafe neighborhoods, and under-resourced schools which adversely impact our nation’s children.
- Poorer children and teens are also at greater risk for several negative outcomes such as poor academic achievement, school dropout, abuse and neglect, behavioral and socioemotional problems, physical health problems, and developmental delays.
- Economists estimate that child poverty costs an estimated $500 billion a year to the U.S. economy; reduces productivity and economic output by 1.3 percent of GDP; raises crime and increases health expenditure (Holzer et al., 2008).
Poverty and academic achievement
- Chronic stress associated with living in poverty has been shown to adversely affect children’s concentration and memory which may impact their ability to learn.
- The academic achievement gap for poorer youth is particularly pronounced for low-income African American and Hispanic children compared with their more affluent White peers.
Poverty and psychosocial outcomes
- Children living in poverty are at greater risk of behavioral and emotional problems.
- Unsafe neighborhoods may expose low-income children to violence which can cause a number of psychosocial difficulties. Violence exposure can also predict future violent behavior in youth which places them at greater risk of injury and mortality and entry into the juvenile justice system.
Poverty and physical health
Children and teens living in poorer communities are at increased risk for a wide range of physical health problems:
- Low birth weight
- Poor nutrition which is manifested in the following ways:
- Inadequate food which can lead to food insecurity/hunger
- Lack of access to healthy foods and areas for play or sports which can lead to childhood overweight or obesity
- Chronic conditions such as asthma, anemia and pneumonia
- Risky behaviors such as smoking or engaging in early sexual activity
- Exposure to environmental contaminants, e.g., lead paint and toxic waste dumps
- Exposure to violence in their communities which can lead to trauma, injury, disability and mortality
As I was leaving a wake this morning for a teen I knew who was killed while at a playground in Cleveland, the price that my students pay because of poverty weighs heavily on me. There are no free lunches. My kids might get some free food at the schools they attend, but no one can tell me that they aren’t paying.