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Main Street Salinas: Future of Main Street, America?

The PBS program Need to Know has been investigating child poverty in California.  A recent episode on life in Main Street Salinas, an agricultural community with a large migrant population, many of whom work in the strawberry fields, confronts current population trends and shows how California like much of the nation is increasingly very rich, very poor and very Latino. 

The episode relied on data from Next Generation's report, "Prosperity Threatened: Perspectives on Childhood Poverty in California," which examines the latest U.S. Census Bureau data and finds that childhood poverty, on the rise nationally, is endemic among California’s fastest-growing demographic segment – Hispanics – with nearly one in three Hispanic children in California living at or below the poverty line. Ann O'Leary, Director of the Children & Families Program, interviewed with Need To Know for a web exclusive on the data.  In the exclusive, O'Leary sums up the issue and the where the solutions will most likely be found: 

“In some sense, in California we’re already in the future.  We have huge disparities, in terms of educational outcomes; how our white kids do versus how our Hispanic children do.  This is coming to the rest of the United States very soon.  And we need to get serious and actually say that one of the ways we disrupt poverty, is to provide these children with a good education … children who are born into poverty and live in poverty in their childhood — two-thirds of them are gonna stay in poverty or just above the poverty line in their adulthood.  Unless they get an education.”

Watch the web exclusive and leave your comments below!


Watch Taking on poverty in Salinas on PBS. See more from Need To Know.

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