Last Sunday's New York Times Magazine was devoted to the income gap, the monetary expanse that separates the have-a-lots from the have-nots. One article in particular caught our eye: "The Poverty Platform." It was a detailed examination of John Edwards's current presidential campaign and its focus on eliminating poverty in America. Whether or not one agrees with Edwards's views, readers should be struck by his failure to speak substantially about improving education. Loads of research (and many of the other Times Magazine articles, such as this one) tell us that one of the surest ways to close the income gap is by improving education. Yet Edwards says next to nothing on this topic, preferring, it seems, to reinforce to his audiences just how dire and intractable their situation is. In fact, there's been much talk about inequality from all the Democratic candidates, but education has taken mostly a back seat (although Senator Hilary Clinton did roll out a national pre-K plan). Fixing the unequal economic system starts with fixing the unequal education one. Is any candidate willing to say that?
"The Poverty Platform," by Matt Bai, New York Times Magazine, June 10, 2007