Presidential hopeful John Edwards will introduce a plan today to promote economically-diverse schools that would give more children access to a quality education.
Edwards of North Carolina, a former U.S. senator, is to hold two events in Youngstown today. He is in Cleveland this morning and after leaving Youngstown, he is to attend an event in Pittsburgh. This is the second day of his three-day, 12-city “Road to One America” tour.
Among the topics Edwards will discuss today, according to an e-mail sent by his campaign, is using more federal resources to promote economic diversity in school districts.
They include: giving bonuses to schools in affluent communities enrolling low-income children, doubling the current federal magnet school funding to $200 million a year with the money going to magnet schools that agree to economic integration, and creating 1 million housing vouchers over five years to help low-income families move to better neighborhoods.
In the e-mail, Edwards’ campaign wrote that poorer pupils don’t adversely impact the academic achievements of “middle-class” children. Edwards says a national model for this program is in Wake County, N.C., where his two oldest children attend public schools.
But U.S. Census Bureau figures show Wake County isn’t exactly middle class. The county’s annual median household income is $54,988 as of 2005. The national median is $46,242. Mahoning County’s is $36,294.
Edwards, a Democrat, is to visit the Beatitude House on Lora Avenue at 2 p.m. The agency helped more than 400 homeless women gain education, employment and housing last year.
He then goes to the Youngstown Business Incubator on West Federal Street at 2:45 p.m.
In Edwards’ e-mail, his campaign describes Youngstown as “once home to a thriving steel industry.” The “decline of Youngstown Sheet and Tube in the late 1970s was the start of economic challenges. In the past few years, start-up technology companies have revived the local economy.” The e-mail specifically touts the incubator as a key to that success.