Saturday, April 12, 2008

Which candidate can help Dorothy?

Poverty, parenthood threaten to turn students into statistics;

Fifteen years old and in high school, Dorothy Wade — all copper curls and who speaks in a flat mumble from the side of her mouth — has an 11-month-old baby, Santiago. He sometimes turns blue with asthma. Between school and this nighttime job, Dorothy sees him too little.

At home, her own 32-year-old mom, with three kids and now a grandson, sits on the couch recuperating from an operation to cut a tumor from her spine. Because of the surgery, she’s been out of work for two weeks, unpaid and unable to go to her $8.50-an-hour midnight job where she ships packages. The phone company shut off service.

As for the baby’s father — an illegal Mexican day laborer who flirted with Dorothy in Kansas City — the last Dorothy heard, he had been shot in Mexico. She suspects it’s a lie to shield a deadbeat dad.

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