And this is a call to arms
This is a call to hands
This is a call to the voices and the minds
Of the people in every land
A story online, and on the nightly news, made me gasp in horror, and almost feel sick to my stomach.
"Seventeen of the nation's 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent, with the lowest graduation rates reported in Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland, according to a report released Tuesday. In Detroit's public schools, 24.9 percent of the students graduated from high school, while 30.5 percent graduated in Indianapolis Public Schools and 34.1 percent received diplomas in the Cleveland Municipal City School District. Nationally, about 70 percent of U.S. students graduate on time with a regular diploma and about 1.2 million students drop out annually."
How is this acceptable? Can anyone explain? Good God, this is disastrous. Colin Powell and his wife have started a new alliance to address the issue, which Powell calls "a catastrophe." That could be an understatement. I was especially shocked to see that Indianapolis graduates only 30.5% of its students. That's abominable. And 70% nationally? Still not even close to acceptable. Powell's group, America's Promise Alliance, wants to address the full scope of the problem, including the family, the school, and the community. I applaud this effort, and I hope he and his group can raise awareness about such an incredibly poor situation. While I do believe that many schools in small districts and less affluent areas are underfunded, and that teachers are woefully underpaid, we tend to think that pouring money mindlessly into schools will magically fix the problems. There are more fundamental problems going on here, and we can't just blame the schools. The family plays a huge part, as does the community, and I'm glad to hear that they are realizing that we can't foist the entire responsibility off on our schools.
I'm amazed at some of the attitudes I encounter. I've heard people say that their kids don't need to get some kind of "fancy" degree. Ain't nothing "fancy" about it, it's pretty much a necessity in today's world and competitive economy. Ken and I have actually been ridiculed for "putting on airs" because we have college degrees. Are you kidding me? (Of course, such an ignorant remark only serves to prove the ignorance of those who issue it.) I understand that not everyone was able to attend college. (I like the idea of student loans for college being forgiven for community or national service. That's a win-win situation.) There's nothing wrong with that, and there are many who have lucrative jobs and successful lives and careers without one. But anyone with kids now simply must recognize that their kids have to get a higher education. It's a competitive world, and America is not keeping up. We are beginning to lag seriously behind in science and technology, and this can't continue. There needs to be a serious paradigm shift, and the first step is to lose that narrow-minded and short-sighted attitude that a college degree doesn't matter, especially for our country's children. In the current atmosphere and global economy, it matters a lot. Our future may depend upon it.