Reinventing Capitalism Begins with an Investment in America’s Kids
Shocking statistics on the state of America's children, presented by the Center's co-founder, Jim Steyer, for the TEDx Presidio event, “Reinventing Capitalism.”
Of the children living in poverty, 10% (7.5 million) of them are living in extreme poverty with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line – surviving on just over $11,000 for a family of four.
Even more distressing is that more than 4 in 10 kids (44%) live in poverty or just above the poverty line (32 million kids) – surviving on annual incomes of $44,000 for a family of four.
This compares to dropout rates In Germany (under 3%); Japan (5%) and Finland and Korea (at 7%).
But if you looked at just our wealthy students they’d rank first in reading and our poor students would rank second to last, only Mexico beating them as the worst performers.
Even students who perform well on tests are unlikely to complete college if they grow up in low-income families. Students from wealthy families who performed poorly on 8th grade reading and math tests were more likely to complete college than students from low-income families that had the highest scores on those same tests.
We must do better
On this chart, the bar on the left shows total spending – across all levels of government – on children. On the right, the much larger bar shows our total spending on the elderly.
Over the last few decades, our priorities have focused on providing security for seniors to the exclusion of investing in children, our next generation. Our nation spends 2.2 times more on the elderly than on our children, even accounting for all the state and local funding we spend on children’s education.