Ayelish McGarvey

Ayelish McGarvey is former a Prospect writing fellow.

Recent Articles

The Best Investment We Can Make

Scotty and I shared a table in Mrs. Kerner's kindergarten class in 1984. He was the classroom's centripetal force, always drawing the teacher's attention away from the rest of us. He rarely finished even the simplest assignment, instead wandering the room or doodling on his desk. He cried easily and threw raging tantrums. Other days, he was so sleepy he laid his head on his desk and napped for two hours straight. I didn't know it then, but Scotty was pretty much slated for failure before he ever set foot in that classroom. He lived with his mother, whose life was a series of low-paying jobs, abusive boyfriends and trailer parks. Some afternoons, long after the rest of us had gone home, Scotty napped in the nurse's office while he waited for his mom to pick him up. He often wore the same clothes for days on end, and his extreme nearsightedness, which made it almost impossible for him to read, was only discovered midyear. Not surprisingly, Scotty was held back for a second year of...

When the High Road Isn't Enough

Dan St. Louis may never grace the cover of BusinessWeek magazine or dash off to board meetings in a Gulfstream jet. He works in a cramped, windowless office in a former Nickel's department store that is now home to a branch of Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, N.C. But he is a man on a mission to save an entire industry. Specifically, socks. For many of Hickory's residents, the hosiery industry has provided good hourly wages -- today, $12 or more -- as well as health insurance, paid vacations and retirement benefits for three generations of workers. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Catawba Valley is responsible for roughly a third of the hosiery produced in the United States. But its share is shrinking fast. What has made it possible to keep those jobs in the United States for so long while similar apparel textile jobs are exported to cheaper labor markets? For one thing, unlike other textiles, labor fees make up only about 30 percent of the cost of...

Reform Done Right

Christopher Mixen, 23, looks very much like a college student in baggy cargo jeans, clean white sneakers and an oversized navy sweatshirt. His blond hair is cropped close, and his sharp, blue eyes gaze out from behind wire-framed glasses. But clipped to Mixen's shirt is a photo ID badge that sums up his adulthood thus far: ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, INMATE. His mug shot stares out from beneath the shiny plastic. Mixen is a felon serving a four-year sentence for two counts of burglary. He is one of more than 600,000 inmates -- more than the population of Washington, D.C. -- who will be released from state and federal prisons this year. For newly released prisoners, the smallest logistical details can make or break their reintegration into life on the outside. In the Urban Institute monograph "From Prison to Home: The Dimensions and Consequences of Prisoner Reentry," researchers Jeremy Travis, Amy Solomon and Michelle Waul identify the "moment of release" from prison as one...

Pair Down

It didn't take long for people to start conjuring the ghost of Bill Clinton in the person of Wesley Clark. In fact, long before Clark declared his candidacy, supporters and detractors alike were mining the similarities between the two men -- both Rhodes Scholars and Arkansas natives -- for deeper significance. Ironically, both liberals and conservatives seem eager to tag Clark with Clinton's imprimatur -- liberals because they long for a candidate with Clinton's political skill, conservatives because they want a Democrat with Clinton's political vulnerabilities. But both camps are probably engaged in a little bit of wishful thinking. Clinton has encouraged such commentary by appearing to play a behind-the-scenes role in Clark's rise. "While I cannot take sides in the Democratic primary, I believe Wes, if he runs, would make a valuable contribution because he understands America's security challenges and domestic priorities," Clinton told The Associated Press in June. "I believe he...

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