Lack of motivation - poor can't study way out of poverty
This is a major factor, I think. Our scientists have made so many technological advancements, even in the last 10 years, let alone 50, and yet it is Hollywood and professional sports that get the million dollar salaries. So what's the point of being smart if being pretty or being athletic pays better and you don't have to try so hard?
Thing is this will never change. While I know it's unfair, I agree that life isn't fair, and so there will probably be very little that can be done about this.
Schools are underfunded - don't have special programs to help poor
I don't think it's that schools are underfunded - I think that it's students who are underfunded. What I would really like to do is pass a federal law that will take 5% of all educational funding away from school programs, teacher pay, educational administrator pay, and every other fund from public school and use that money to pay students for getting good grades. That way, students from a very young age can learn that doing hard work pays off in school and does in the real world as well. I mean think of it - we tell kids that they should apply themselves to get good grades "just for the virtue of it" instead of for money - but we, as adults, don't apply ourselves and work our jobs just for the virtue of it and refuse to get paid. So it seems hypocritical of me that we ask kids to do it. So let's start giving students cash incentives to apply themselves to get good grades. Personally, I think Republicans would love this because instead of dealing with the bureaucracy of government programs, such as school lunches, the students themselves will determine how their money should be spent.
I think this is another major point. I think that poor people, not having much wealth, don't know how to acquire it or how to manage it. I mean if all a poor child/teen sees is his parents working hard and spending rather than saving and investing for later, all he'll know about money is to work hard for it instead of wise management and investment. Maybe what we could if we implement paying students for getting good grades we can offer them to speak with a financial and investment adviser so they can start to learn good money management at a younger age.
Gang culture is another part of it too. It is in the best interests of gangs to use sociological manipulations to deride socially-accepted forms of education. What I mean by that is that gangs want intelligent people - however, they want those people to use their intelligence towards criminal enterprises. So while a poor person may be poor and do badly in school, they can still be intelligent but used it towards socially unacceptable endeavors. And they do so because it's a relatively easier way to make a living than to deal with the bureaucracy of legal business ventures. Young people in gangs may be in it for the thrill, but those who stay in gangs are in it for the money to make a living. That's one reason why many of the things we have criminalized, such as drugs and prostitution, I feel should be legal just so it can come under government regulation rather than be controlled by gangs and the mafia. It's not necessarily that I think those things should be commonplace - it's that I think legalization and regulation would control those things better than criminalization and law enforcement do so currently.
Lack of opportunity
I think that the poor don't have a lot of opportunities that those who are wealthier have. For instance, let's say you have two people of the same intelligence, but one is wealthy and the other is poor. The one who is wealthy has an instant advantage because he can afford to go to better schools to get a better education, while the one who is poor won't be able to afford the same kind of school. That is unless he's able to take out enough loans to pay for his schooling. However, that puts him so deep in debt that he may not actually get out of poverty - rather than having a high-paying occupation and going from poverty to wealth, he'd have a high-paying occupation and stay in poverty to pay off the debt to get the education he hoped would get him from poverty to wealth.
Another factor is that those who go to schools of wealth will be able to make connections with those with wealth, which will help them network with people to be potential investors. This means that people of poverty will have a tougher time making those social connections needed to help establish a thriving business network to sustain them. This may be less of a factor thanks to internet social media, but even I think it will still be a factor.
I think we have unrealistic expectations of Americans. We expect everybody to be able to pull themselves up by their boot straps and earn enough to afford a home, a car, and a few modern conveniences. The truth is those expectations are unrealistic. Those who are poor, and who have jobs the poor work, need those things but at a level affordable to them. For example, the poor don't need help getting mortgages they can't pay for but rather housing they can afford with a low-paying job. They also need better public transportation to get around not only their local communities but also across the nation.
No appreciation of middle-class jobs
Our country doesn't appreciate tradesmen enough. I think our culture has developed some kind of notion that if you aren't the best then you're not worth anything. I think this has made Americans believe that unless they are the wealthiest they can be, they have no worth.
This means that people focus on those occupation that will only pay the most, rather than some other job closer to their talents and abilities. There's all kinds of needed technical jobs out there - however, they get no appreciation because there aren't any movies, tv shows, or pop songs written about them. After all, right now there is an intense demand for nuclear scientists to handle our country's stockpile of nuclear missiles. We'll also need them for advances in nuclear power, which we may have to rely on in the near future. There's all sorts of areas where we need expertise - the only problem is that they go unappreciated in our country, and therefore people don't know how much they are really worth.