The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Reality Check

June 25, 2008

Every day a reality check at city’s ‘poorest’ school

(Continued)



The list of members in the school’s Parent Teacher Organization is likewise short: four names. As bad as that sounds, it is a 100-percent increase over the previous year.

“They are trying to survive, and education isn’t that important,” Carey says of the parents.

If Carey wants to draw parents to the school, she knows the best bait is an event featuring free food. She’s had 150 come out for the family fun/ pizza nights.

Carey also knows that the free lunch 92 percent of her students receive at the school is the only meal many of them will get that day. In the summer, the school hosts free breakfast and lunch programs, which serve up to 80 youngsters, age birth to 18. G.O. Ministries, around the corner, picks up the evening meal.

Some of the hardship is caused by bad decisions and addictions; Carey won’t deny that. But she also knows there’s an economic reality that keeps poor people poor and trapped in the cycle of entitlements.

“I’ve had parents who are very compassionate and very hardworking, tell me that when they get a job they will lose their benefits, their medical card, their food stamps,” she says. “They can make it better not working than trying to get a job that pays what a person with only a high-school education can make.”

Either way, poverty provides poor preparation for learning.

“The kids don’t have what we call prior-knowledge experience,” Carey says. For example, a teacher can’t teach about zoo animals or rural life without going back to the very basics because there are many concepts the youngsters have not been exposed to through life experience. “They have no prior experience, so we are starting at a lower level,” she says.

This fact was driven home to Carey three months after she started her job at the school. Every Thanksgiving, the staff prepares and serves a holiday dinner to the students – turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie – the works. As Carey ate with the younger students, she realized the youngsters were tasting food they’d never before had in their mouths. The emotional impact was too much.

Text Only
Reality Check
  • images_sizedimage_070165730 Why are we hurting so? It’s time for a reality check.: Main story, Day one

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_069193501 Beyond wineries and covered bridges … An introduction to reality check

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • What it is, how it’s calculated Determining per capita income is a complex exercise that — at best — is a mathematical expression of a moving target.

    In its simplest terms, per capita income is, according to the Ohio Department of Development, “the income of a given area divided by the resident population of that area.” Sounds simple enough, but arriving at the figure is not.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_069195701 Bad vibes: Lack of opportunities, progress make for sour attitudes Eavesdrop on conversations at the lunch counter, in the aisles of Wal-Mart on a Friday evening or around the sports bar on a Sunday afternoon, and you’re likely to hear some pretty disparaging remarks about the old hometown.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Finding work after prison nearly impossible A portion of Ashtabula County’s unemployed can’t find a job because of their prior address – a prison cell.

    June 25, 2008

  • County part of Team NEO marketing efforts Ashtabula County is part of a 16-county alliance aimed at marketing the Northeast Ohio region to employers and business investors, many of have never heard of Ashtabula, let alone Mentor, Akron or Youngstown.

    June 25, 2008

  • Some people just don’t want a job Ashtabula County Commissioner Deborah Newcomb talks to a lot of employers, and they all express the same concern: finding people reliable people with basic skills is a problem.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_070212402 POOR BUT WORKING A winter wind blew across the parking lot of the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry next to St. Joseph’s Church in Ashtabula; the six adults lined up at the door turned their faces from the wind, toward the metaphoric concrete wall of the building.

    June 25, 2008 2 Photos

  • images_sizedimage_071213603 County's largest hospital feels the Medicaid pain Perhaps no one in Ashtabula County feels the pinch of subsidizing unemployed or underemployed individuals more than Philip E. Pawlowski.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Crime & Drugs Inc. always hiring Some “unemployed” residents find crime to be their best source of steady income. Judge Richard Stevens of Western County Court says he noticed a 50-percent increase in the number of criminal cases handled by his court between 2005 and last year.

    June 25, 2008

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video