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Children Drop Out and Into Lives of Poverty and Imprisonment

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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:57 PM
Original message
Children Drop Out and Into Lives of Poverty and Imprisonment
A homeless man talking about how he ended up on the streets said he had wanted to get in with the "cool" crowd in 8th or 9th grade -- a crowd that smoked marijuana, got into fights and skipped school. No adult reached out to help him turn his life around so he continued his decline into a life of chronic joblessness and poverty, and long stretches of incarceration after he dropped out of school.

Youths who drop out of school represent a colossal loss to our communities and nation. And many dropouts are condemned to the social and economic fringes of our society and live lives less fulfilled than their peers who graduate from high school. Today, more than half of all young adult dropouts are jobless. And dropouts are at greater risk of being incarcerated and having poorer physical and mental health than those who graduate.

The impact of the enormous dropout problem is not evenly shared among children in America. Poor and minority youths are far less likely to graduate from high school than White children. An October 2009 report released by the National Center for Education Statistics says 59.8 percent of Blacks, 62.2 percent of Hispanics, and 61.2 percent of American Indians graduated from public high school in four years with a regular diploma in the 2006-07 school year compared to 79.8 percent for Whites and 91.2 percent for Asian and Pacific Islanders. Black and Hispanic dropout rates were more than twice those of White youths.

Children don't just wake up one morning and decide to take a path to a dead end life. So how is it possible that more than half a million of them drop out every year? I believe the main reason is that adults have often let our children down and abandoned our responsibilities to prepare them for healthy and productive lives in our homes and communities. We'd rather punish children after they get into trouble than prevent child problems. The only universally guaranteed child right is a jail or detention cell after they come in conflict with the law. We don't even assure all children prenatal care to be born as healthy as possible. We have deprived our children of fathers by locking up young men and putting them in a pipeline to prison, and we've allowed our community supports to fray, depriving children of safe havens and positive mentors. For most of the week, congregational doors are locked and we've cut back on the hours when community centers and libraries are open. Some have decided that after-school and summer enrichment programs are too expensive. Some states spend more to incarcerate a child for a year than it would cost to send him to Harvard University! Some New York state youth prisons cost $210,000 to house one child for a year. Gangs and drug dealers are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, offering apprenticeships in drug dealing and car stealing and other illegal behaviors.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marian-wright-edelman/chi...
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
1. dropping out is a bad thing, however
marijuana has nothing to do with it. There are students who smoke pot and get good grades, and lead productive lives.

Tossing marijuana in there is just BS drug-war propaganda.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. You just keep telling yourself that.
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. well, as someone who did just that
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 01:13 PM by ixion
I will, thanks. :)

Dropouts are the exception, not the standard, IMO.
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Hestia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Exactly - smoking cannibis has nothing to do with it, not showing up for class does.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. I've known many folk with good jobs who smoke the occasional joint
pot is not in and of itself EVIL
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emilyg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Please read
As Students Prepare for SAT Tests, New Ad Campaign Urges Parents to Keep Their Teens Drug-Free
Some factions of society still try to perpetrate the myth that marijuana is nothing nore than a harmless and misunderstood drug no more dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes. While alcohol and cigarettes are undeniably harmful they are also legal under certain conditions and for this reason comparing marijuana to them is irresponsible and gives teens the wrong impression. The bottom line is that marijuana and other illegal drugs have real and proven negative effects on teen academic
.......................................http://teenadvice.about.com/od/marijuanause/a/marijana1...
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monmouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
3. Decent parenting would surely help...n/t
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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
5. $210,000 to house one child for a year
An ounce of prevention costs less than all this detention.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:42 PM
Response to Original message
6. This gave me a headache.
Not the first time. The first time I was disquiet and outraged. So I re-read it. And I was confused. I pinned down the problem and the third time through reached for the acetaminophen.

The writer plays with the meanings of 'we' and 'our' far too much. Even within a sentence she goes from "our" kids to "our prisons," and surely the two tokens of "our" fail to have the same reference. In Chomsky-speak, there are binding violations all over the place.

Unless she's talking about how the minority communities put their own young men their own community jails, how minority communities close minority community libraries and deny themselves access to prenatal care, how minority communities have decided that summer programs are too expensive and have decided not to fund them. She's not. Her 'we' goes from inclusive to exclusive with a kind of ruthless brutality. It's precisely the kind of binding violation that gives native speakers fits--it's not wrong, it's certainly not right, and the only fix is to recast the entire sentence or discourse.

Great rhetoric. Abysmal clarity.

I can't muster even a modicum of respect for arguments and appeals based on linguistic manipulation.
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