“I’m So Broke That a Dollar Bill Looks Big as a Window Shade.”-Lee Hays & Pete Seeger, “Empty Pocket Blues”

“The cry of the poor is is not always just, but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is.”Howard Zinn

“With the exception of Romania, NO developed country has a higher percentage of kids in poverty than America. Similarly, America also has a remarkably high percentage of people living in what is called “deep poverty…”-Sarah Abramsky, The Nation, 9/2013  

As we remember that 85 years ago we had Black Tuesday, the beginning of The Great Depression & last year we had Hurricane Sandy, we must realize that TODAY in 2013, in the U.S.A., more than 46 MILLION people live in poverty and so-called safety nets are being slashed by some comfortable elected officials who think Food Stamps and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) are luxuries, free hand-outs to people who can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but are just lazy… what a load of crap

 “Come everybody listen while I sing, this high cost of living is a terrible thing. Every day you go into a store, prices hit the ceiling just a little bit more.”Oscar Brand’s version of a Woody Guthrie song


As a teacher, I knew I couldn’t teach if a student of mine was hungry. I made sure that every child had breakfast; I’d send a hungry child down to the cafeteria with a note to the cafeteria workers to please provide a breakfast. Many of my students received free or reduced breakfasts and lunches, but if they came in late, as many did, they’d miss breakfast, but NOT in MY class! Under my watch, every student had breakfast and lunch; even students who brought lunch from home, if they forgot it, I made sure they were fed. I also knew that if a student didn’t get enough sleep and fell asleep in my class, well, I let that child sleep. He/she couldn’t learn if tired…if hungry…if depressed. As teachers, we have to be very aware and observant of our students and their families and contact the proper support personnel in the school building to provide the necessary services for our families in need. Teachers are on the front lines and it’s up to them to serve and protect…Yes…it’s a War…a War on Poverty, On Violence, On Abuse, On Dysfunctional Families, On Inequality, On So Many Issues and Situations that affect our most vulnerable citizens from all over the world. Does anyone ever wonder how a teacher can teach when he/she has a multitude of student needs that must be addressed in order for their students to learn? When I think back on my long and successful career, I wonder…How did I do it?  How did I instill the love of learning…that learning is sweet, in my ever-changing classrooms?  RESPECT, and wow, does that one word contain a lot of stuff!

All the data you need is out there to document how poverty affects our society: on education; on physical and mental health; on the high school drop-out rates; on the future prison population., blah, blah, blah. “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows!” The MAN, Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues






2 thoughts on ““I’m So Broke That a Dollar Bill Looks Big as a Window Shade.”-Lee Hays & Pete Seeger, “Empty Pocket Blues”

  1. You mean you fed them even if they didn’t get high scores on their standardized tests? No wonder the public schools are in such bad shape. 😉 Seriously, I’ll bet you were a great teacher, Ilene! I finally started reading Zinn’s “A People’s History…”.

    • Howard Zinn was a great man. I was so happy when my daughter was taking AP American History in high school that her teacher made sure they read what you’re reading now. Happy Reading, Jeff!

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