Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

Last year Gov. Brownback put together a task force to take a long look at a serious problem facing our state – childhood poverty.  He brought together the best and the brightest to study, discuss and find a solution facing so many of Kansas’s most vulnerable population.

Finally on September 6th, the Governor’s task force on reducing childhood poverty rolled out their findings.

I put down the latest copy of People Magazine and read the 27 page report.

My favorite part of the report was this:

The task force acknowledges that the government’s ability to address poverty has historically been unsuccessful. Though government at the state and federal level continues to pour money into anti-poverty programs, poverty rates continue to grow, and out-of-wedlock childbirth has exploded. Government must be mindful of programs and policies that result in keeping individuals in poverty by disincentivizing full-time employment and marriage or incentivizing out-of-wedlock childbirths.

After 3 task meetings – the group has found a solution!  It is a 3 pillar approach that includes (drum roll please)

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Marriage

I will talk about the 1st and 3rd pillar.

I think we can all agree (liberals and conservatives) that education is the key out of poverty.  Without the foundation of education, one is almost GUARANTEED to repeat the cycle of poverty.  I applaud the task force and Governor Brownback for identifying this trend and making a commitment to do everything to stop this vicious cycle by showing a true commitment in making sure our Kansas children have the BEST possible education to make them competitive in the global job market.

Hold on a sec…what’s that?

Headline interruption:

Study: Kansas cuts K-12 education funding by fourth-most in nation

State reduces financing of public education 16.5% below 2008 level

From the report:

Michael Leachman, director of state fiscal research at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and co-author of the report, said state government reductions for schools weakened the nation’s ability to foster a well-educated, skilled work force.

“At a time when the nation is trying to produce workers with the skills to master new technologies and adapt to the complexities of a global economy, states should be investing more — not less — to ensure our kids get a strong education,” he said.

Hum…well this is awkward.  How about if we move on to third pillar?

Marriage!  Let’s all just get married and everything will be a-ok!  Get yourself to the chapel and no more poverty!

I even have the PR slogan “Don’t bed before you wed!”  It’s twitter length appropriate, it rhymes and I think it will probably sway young people who are ready to jump in the sack to wait a moment and head to their local church to get married for what I’m sure will be 60 years of wedding bliss.

The task force concluded that two parent households reduce poverty.  In order to address that they are recommending an eight-hour, pre-marital course and then they will eliminate the marriage license cost.  Consider that your wedding present – Mazel Tov from the State of Kansas!

Now If my math is correct – it’s $50 for a marriage license in KS divided by 8 hours for the course.  That means if your time is worth $6.25 per hour then you have a great way to spend some time!

I have no doubt this is going to go over with flying colors!  And by the way – you can use my slogan for FREE State of Kansas! You’re welcome.


5 thoughts on “#KS launching a don’t bed before you wed campaign to reduce poverty

  1. Oh. God.
    So…one poor person + one poor person = two financially stable people?
    Only people with money should have sex and/or children?
    Am I over dramatizing by suggesting I smell a whiff of eugenics?

  2. Cathy Siler says:

    First, “lack of money” is not the problem with the education system in this country! We spend more money per capita than almost all developed countries. Our methods are so flawed. For instance, we try to introduce money in Kindergarten and 1st grade before they have a true grasp of numbers. In Reading, we use the “look-say” or “sight word” method of reading with no understanding of the sounds any given letter or combination of layers make. Please stop the money pit!
    I will address the other issue in a seperate comment.

    1. Hi Cathy,
      Thanks for your comment. I look forward to the 2nd part of your comment. Doesn’t money play a part if teachers don’t have the books we need, janitors are reduced and our schools aren’t clean leading to outbreaks of illness that end up closing schools b/c of illness, programs like art and music are cut, etc?

      Again, thanks for taking the time to read and contribute to the discussion!

  3. mommylinda says:

    Almost any social worker will tell you that if a young person can get their high school diploma, delay children until after marriage, and establish a pattern of employment (even at a minimum wage job), their chances of being in ongoing poverty are almost nil. THIS IS SIMPLE, BUT IT IS NOT EASY. There is a difference.

    I used to volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center (you know, the one where young women can get a free pregnancy test and assistance if they need it.) I was surprised at 2 things. First, most of the young women who visited our clinic were not poor. They were from middle or working class families. Second, their pregnancy was not necessarily unplanned. In fact, I was surprised how many who were disappointed when they found out that they were not pregnant.
    Until we can break this cycle of the attitude that “It’s my baby, and the father is not in the picture,” we are never solve this poverty issue.
    I would like to see some research into the attitude that it is ok to have sex (and a baby) with someone who I would not consider marriage material. How did we get to this place?

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