APPROACH #2: EDUCATION
Written by Acting Apprentice and Chorus Cast member Jake Simonds.
Every night at HOW TO END POVERTY, the audience gives away $1,000 of money from the ticket sales to a poverty-fighting organization. At the end of the show, they vote on which approach to fighting poverty they think is most effective, and the money goes to an organization which practices the chosen approach. The five approaches we identify are Daily Needs, Making Opportunities, Education, System Change, and Direct Aid. Here is some more information about: Education.
Children born into poverty are not nearly as likely as their more affluent peers to receive a quality education. Though there is no longer a direct link in the Portland Public School system between neighborhood property values and school budgets, but a quick look at the Oregonian's high school ratings, or the Willamette Week's map of middle school elective disparity will show that schools in more affluent neighborhoods (as seen by the percentage of children who receive free or reduced lunch) tend to have better test scores, and more electives available.
Now, of course, there are exceptions to this rule: Take Lent Middle School, 15 blocks east of E 82nd Ave, where 82% of kids get free or reduced lunch. Their students have twelve elective programs, more than double the six (two of which are P.E. and Spanish language classes) offered at George Middle School in North Portland, where 87.9% of students receive free or reduced lunch. Another difference between these schools? George serves 358 students, more than double the 164 at Lent. For every student at Lent trying to decide between mock trial, drama, and library/technology, there are two students at George with half as many options.
For a student born into poverty, receiving a quality education requires a lot of things to go right. For an affluent student to receive anything less than a quality education, something has to go wrong. Cumulitively, this traps whole communities in cyclical poverty. As studies have shown, lifetime earnings are linked to the quality and duration of education.
If our audience decides to give to education, that money may go to organizations that provide long-term mentoring, after-school programming, summer programs to prepare ninth graders for high school, and college prep. These programs could give opportunities and attention to students who don't get enough of that during the school day. Studies have shown as much as 76% of the cost of all after school programs fall on parents, either directly through tuition or indirectly through resources or time demands. This limits the availability of such programming to underprivileged students. Choosing Education as your priority at HOW TO END POVERTY would give $1,000 to an organization working to provide more opportunities for students to succeed.
Some information of after-school and other outside-the-school-day program funding: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/time_and_learning/2015/01/the_growth_in_after_school.html
The Willamette Week's middle school extra-curricular equity map:
The Oregonian's School Guide:
Conceived and Written by Michael Rohd and Sojourn Theatre
Directed by Liam Kaas-Lentz
How To End Poverty In 90 Minutes (with 99 people you may or may not know)
February 4 – February 22
602 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97211
Box office: (503) 488-5822
All tickets: $40 (+$3 ticketing fee)
Rush Tickets: $20, cash only at the door, night of the show
Arts for All Tickets (EBT card): $5, cash only at the door, night of the show, up to two tickets
Each and every show, 25 tickets are given to local organizations and to individuals who are unable to afford tickets to the show. Email our Director of Community Partnerships, Elliot Leffler, for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Which approach will YOU choose? Come spend with us.