Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Daily Dose of Depression -- Plum Trees and Food Stamps

It’s easy to look around and see the yawning gaps between the rich and the poor.  From the prices on menus at upscale restaurants to the electronic boards featuring “Value Meals” at Mickey Ds, where and what we eat dramatizes these gaps. Schools, of course, also scream out differences in opportunities.  From the green, park like physical settings of private prep schools to the still true 1950s cliche of the asphalt jungles of the inner city, schools can welcome or resist students in search of an education.  The social ladder to success in this country is far from being equal in length and sturdiness.

It’s foolish to resent the golden platter opportunities of an Josh Isackson (see the Jenny Anderson story).  Good for him that he has reached the age of eighteen and has the curiosity to explore the ancient culture of China.  And good for his parents or the trust fund that will pay for this experience.

Juxtapose Mr. Isackson’s good luck and well used opportunity with Charles Blow’s account of  “The Decade of Lost Children.”  America is filled with such contrasts.  We feature the outstanding individual’s luck; we bury the too common in a statistical fog.

Some will say that’s just the way it is .    

August 5, 2011
For a Standout College Essay, Applicants Fill Their Summers
By JENNY ANDERSON

Josh Isackson, an 18-year-old graduate of Tenafly High School in New Jersey, spent the summer after his sophomore year studying Mandarin in Nanjing, China. The next year he was an intern at a market research firm in Shanghai. When it came time to write a personal statement for his college applications, those summers offered a lot of inspiration.

“When I was thinking about the essay, I realized that taking Chinese was a big part of me,” he said.

So Mr. Isackson wrote about exploring the ancient tombs of the Ming dynasty in the Purple Mountain region of Nanjing, “trading jokes with long-dead Ming Emperors, stringing my string hammock between two plum trees and calmly sipping fresh green tea while watching the sun set on the horizon.”. . . 

Full article here
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August 5, 2011
The Decade of Lost Children
By CHARLES M. BLOW

One of the greatest casualties of the great recession may well be a decade of lost children.

According to “The State of America’s Children 2011,” a report issued last month by the Children’s Defense Fund, the impact of the recession on children’s well-being has been catastrophic.

Here is just a handful of the findings:

• The number of children living in poverty has increased by four million since 2000, and the number of children who fell into poverty between 2008 and 2009 was the largest single-year increase ever recorded.

• The number of homeless children in public schools increased 41 percent between the 2006-7 and 2008-9 school years.

• In 2009, an average of 15.6 million children received food stamps monthly, a 65 percent increase over 10 years.
. . .

Full article here

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