Addiction, homelessness, gang violence, confusion, despair and poverty can all be ripple effects of a bad education. Here in Portland, Oregon we have a very conflicted situation going on between teachers and the school board. After talking to one of the teachers involved (who is a friend) I learned that teachers are going to be overwhelmed by too many children in the classroom, not enough pay, not enough resources, even building that are substandard and to top it off double shifts. That means teachers are working overtime without pay.
So what is the deal that we can put so much money and focus on so many things that are not that important when compared to our children and their education? Are we so stupid and clueless to the fact that if we don't give our kids a good quality education right from kindergarten on to 12K we are going to produce ripples that end up in violent waves in our cities. Much has been written about this already so I won't elaborate here but just needed to write a short article to stimulate thinking about the issue.
As I watch the back and forth between teachers union and the board (politics) I see that money, power, egos, chaos, and selfishness seem to be more important than the children and their underpaid, overworked teachers. Huh? Really people get a better board and a better politics.
Poverty is a bane in our nation. Children of poverty suffer the most as I mentioned in my book Negotiating Shadows. (http://negotiatingshadows.com) Poverty and lack of education coupled produce all the above mentioned situations. I see what lack of education and poverty do to people that are older---I live in a community of elders that suffered all their lives from lack. What a waste! Ok so time to go to your school board, local government, national policy makers and do what you can to encourage, well insist, that we have better conditions for our children, teachers, and parents. Healthy families in healthy communities produce a better country---Let's wake up and make it happen.