October 3, 2009

OK - Life Goes On - Let's Make It Better For The Kids

The upcoming discussion with Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan next week needs to encompass more than ‘finding kids jobs’ when discussing school violence. There’s a whole list of issues that have not been dealt with for decades in Chicago and the US of A.

Perhaps the politicians can begin by removing an outdated law which allows a 16 year old child to make the decision to drop out of high school. Some kids may need jobs after school to keep them off the streets but in this economy, it’s an unlikely scenario. Younger children't can't legally hold a job. Many parents are struggling but parents in decades of yore struggled and somehow managed to teach moral responsibility to their children. Probably because their parents taught them.

How many generations of drop-out children having children are we dealing with? How many frustrated young adults turned away from education, and turned to drugs and the street life? How many started families before they were mature enough to even know what parenting meant? How many found the job markets difficult to compete in without an education? Did they reach for help or grow older filled with resentment? If they reached for help, what was the outcome? Rather than dissolving a senseless law, the wise ones created the Welfare state, the housing projects, and left the rest of the worries to the neighborhoods. The wise ones had more important goals to accomplish. Isn’t that what some call doing a half-assed job? Children are still growing up in homes where there is physical, emotional, and often substance abuse with little hope but an abundance of anger and hate. Sadly, there are 'people' making money from these situations.

Yesterday is over and if ‘life goes on’ can we sense the reality to act upon specific needs beyond meetings and rhetoric? Every school near a park facility should be lobbying for some of yesterday’s money to ensure that at-risk kids have a place to go. So should the politicians and religious leaders. Park employees should be visiting neighborhood schools to advertise, entice, and give hope to school children. And, parents of these children should get their priorities straightened out. What’s more important – buying those lottery tickets, that six pack or half pint, the Stroger-taxed cigarettes, the fast food drenched in grease or a safe place for the kids after school?

The everything is free mentality needs to be amended as do the enabling attitudes exhibited toward low-income people. Is it really helping or in the long run is it a life-long hindrance? If the wise ones want a world class city, then perhaps that time, energy and money should be spent turning around the social mess they’ve created and hidden beneath the cloak of liberalism.

It shouldn’t revert to the age old dilemma – which came first, the chicken or the egg?


been there said...

fyi, the current law requires kids to stay in school until the age of 17. this was changed at least 5 years ago. not that that answers the problems of kids who just don't learn sitting on their a*&.

Toni said...

17 is still rather young to drop out in this era don't you think? I will try to remember the law you pointed out.

And how does one get kids engaged in learning? My mother read to me, I read to my daughter, she reads to her sons. We've all had 'great' teachers and we've all had mediocre teachers..but the desire to learn usually is born and nurtured at home. We've all had to survive the mediocre teachers and get on with the process.

been there said...

well, since most kids are 18 when they graduate, and amny are only 17, no, i don't think it is that young.
all my kids love learning, and they read because we read. but most of them didn't like school very much, and both boys dropped out. one is in college now, and loves it. the other will end up there someday, but right now he is just looking for his path.
we didn't all survive the mediocre teachers. how many really smart people do you know who never really amounted to much? i know lots. many suffered terrible emotional damage, and ended up in all sorts of jams. those whose parents had the resources, financial, emotional and other, often kept them from sinking too low. but for many, there was no rescue.
and i honestly believe that most parents do their best. but it is a tough job, and there are a whole, whole, whole lot of ways to fail. we are all pretty imperfect beings. those imperfections tend to be magnified quite a bit when raising a child. to think that we all ought to do an adequate job is nice, but not the least bit realistic. so, instead of blame, maybe we should be talking about ways to support all parents, and all kids.