CFL: How the current minimum wage hurts kids

Chicago Federation of Labor shared NC State AFL-CIO's post.


 

NC State AFL-CIO     August 3 at 8:40am

An emergency room physician's take on why back-to-school is the time to raise the wage:

 

"This month school resumes for many kids. I remember spending those bittersweet late summer days gathering school supplies and clothes.  My family couldn’t afford luxury items, but we always had what we needed.

Many of my classmates fared very differently.  I was regularly asked for paper, pencils and lunch money by kids for whom these essentials were luxuries.  The kids from the poorer neighborhoods struggled through a myriad of obstacles that effectively guaranteed academic failure.  They came to school hungry, they were teased about their clothes or hygiene, they didn’t have books they needed.  One friend lived in a homeless shelter with her mother briefly, so preoccupied by things like transportation and safety that she was unable to keep up with schoolwork.

In this country, 43 percent of children live below or near poverty.  Over half of these kids have one parent working full time.  They just don’t make enough money.  A person working full time making the minimum wage earns a mere $15,080 a year before taxes.  If that worker supports any children, they grow up poor.  In fact, according to the nonpartisan NC Justice Center, the living income standard for one adult with one child is $35,710 a year.

Poverty’s oppressive effect on children renders it nearly impossible for them to thrive and move up the economic ladder.  Multiple studies show that being poor adversely affects children’s academic performance.  More alarming is a newer finding that poverty causes stunted gray-matter development in children’s brains, negatively affecting their test-taking skills.

Being poor harms children’s health in other ways..."

 

 

To read the entire article by Aparna Jonnel:  http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article165142237.html