Equity & Diversity Video

Hillbilly Elegy Author J.D. Vance on Poverty and the Opioid Epidemic

January 6, 2017 2:27

Donald Trump tapped into the worries and economic insecurities of the white working-class by promising to bring back jobs, and author J.D. Vance understands that appeal. Vance, author of the best seller Hillbilly Elegy, A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, grew up in southeastern Ohio in a family battling addiction and violence but ultimately made it to Yale Law School. He tells Education Week that families in the Rust Belt have had “the rug really pulled out from under them. They’ve seen what used to be a relatively promising stable working or middle class opportunity completely (disappear).” Vance says education holds the most promise for turning around the fortunes of people living in these regions, and that what’s needed is technical and vocational education to train people for the next generation of high quality jobs. Vance says his life could have easily gone the other way, that a lot of “luck and really good people in my life” helped ensure he escaped the poverty and family crises that continue to define the lives of many of his peers. Now Vance is ready to help others. Currently living in San Francisco and working for a Silicon Valley investment firm, he and his wife are planning to move back to Ohio to start a small nonprofit to focus on improving education and combatting the opioid crisis.

Video

School & District Management Video How Principals Can Approach Difficult Decisions
One big piece of advice: Put students at the center of every decision.
Kevin Bushweller & Lauren Santucci
5:18
A Black female elementary school principal sits in a circle of chairs with two students. She holds a clipboard as she waves a finger at a student.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Video Overdoses at School: One School District’s Response to the Fentanyl Crisis
A surge in fentanyl overdoses is affecting students. LAUSD’s Alberto Carvalho offers advice for educators on the frontlines.
3:13
Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, speaks at a news conference at the Roybal Learning Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 6, 2022.
Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, speaks at a news conference at the Roybal Learning Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 6, 2022.
Damian Dovarganes/AP
Families & the Community Video How Students Are Using Advocacy to Overcome Their Anxiety About Climate Change
For some students, climate change advocacy can help alleviate stress about the impacts of a warming planet. Schools can support that work.
2:28
Climate activists pose for a photo after a march from the White House to the U.S. Capitol on March 25, 2022 as they take part in a global strike demanding action from the Biden administration on climate change.
Climate activists pose for a photo after a march from the White House to the U.S. Capitol on March 25, 2022 as they take part in a global strike demanding action from the Biden administration on climate change.
Bryan Olin Dozier/NurPhoto via AP
Student Well-Being Video Do Students Need Mental Health Supports? Or Are We Just Coddling Them?
Two professionals who work with students describe what the pandemic revealed about the kinds of supports that young people need.
5:29
Second grader Tiffinie Tillis works with dean of students Andrea Keck while visiting a sensory room at Quincy Elementary School, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, in Topeka, Kan. The rooms are designed to relieve stresses faced by students as they return to classrooms amid the ongoing pandemic.
Second grader Tiffinie Tillis works with dean of students Andrea Keck while visiting a sensory room at Quincy Elementary School, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, in Topeka, Kan. The rooms are designed to relieve stresses faced by students as they return to classrooms amid the ongoing pandemic.
Charlie Riedel/AP