Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Monday, September 13, 2021

 Over the years I've been involved with a lot of arts not-for-profits, and one of the things I've learned to be careful about is mission creep. The organization has a thing that it does, but there is funding available for another thing that's sort of like the main thing, and all of a sudden the original thing isn't the main thing any more. Reading the education stories in this past week's NYT Magazine reminded me that mission creep is not unique to arts not-for profits, and is probably a good deal more common than I once thought. 

The Times articles really amounted to saying one thing: the problems in the American educational system aren't the result of failed instructional programs, or bad teachers: you will find failing schools everywhere where there is poverty, and expecting the schools to address poverty is asking too much from them. 

Something like this can be said about the crisis in American law enforcement. We expect more from cops than they can provide. Poverty breeds, inter alia, crime, and cops lack the training to address the conditions which breed poverty. If the only tool you have is a hammer....

I don't have a glib solution in mind, but I think we need to seriously reconsider the capacity of these institutions to address the problem of poverty and re-tool them so that they aren't called upon to do more than they are capable of

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