I thank you for a beautiful May 8 Associated Press story about McDowell County's efforts to overcome poverty, largely using its school system. I wanted to add a few thoughts:
It is true that education can help people break out of poverty. But it's just one part of the equation. Often, schools are left to deal with the effects of poor mindsets rather than able to address their roots - and there are many).
This is illustrated by Brookings Institution research that shows a person has almost no chance (2 percent) of being poor if he or she does just three simple things: Finishes high school (not college), marries before bearing children, and works full time (any job).
Schools, of course, target the high school part because that's their job.
But schools and communities can also target the self-control and work-ethic parts that undergird behaviors - like working and waiting for children until you can properly care for them.
Efforts in those directions would be a good compliment to the difficult yet heroic work folks are attempting in McDowell County.
Pullman, a former teacher, is education research fellow at the Heartland Institute, headquartered in Chicago, and is managing editor of School Reform News.