According to the Central Intelligent Agency’s (CIA) The World Fact Book and the United Nations, most people around the world are unemployed or underemployed and millions of people are illiterate. The best way for someone to get out of financial poverty is to find a job that pays enough money for them to pay their bills. However, surprisingly, studies have shown that household income is one of the major determinants of student academic success.
Students who come from families experiencing financial poverty are more likely to fall prey to educational poverty and struggle in school. This is largely because parents in these households have to focus their time on meeting their financial needs instead of spending their time helping children meet their educational needs. Students in poverty are frequently one or more grade levels behind middle class students in reading and math.
The research report Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the book Teaching with Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen, suggests that the best way to address financial and educational poverty is to help adults in households in living wage and reading level crisis find jobs that pay enough for them to pay their monthly bills on time and save for emergencies. It is important to note that jobs in the public and non-profit sector are important. However, these jobs by themselves are not sustainable because they rely on private sector generated tax dollars or contributions.
Public policy often ignores the need to create sustainable local business jobs. However, when policy is focused on creating jobs it is often designed to help large companies at the expense of local companies. Unfortunately, large publicly traded businesses do not provide enough jobs around the world or in the US to significantly reduce poverty.
Local independent businesses (companies that have few owners and do not issue publicly traded stock) have the potential to provide the jobs that generate the level of income that move millions of households from financial and educational crisis to the middle class. The Middle Class Movement is focused on reducing global poverty by influencing leaders to implement policies and programs that incentivize local businesses to hire local residents.