A Shoe In For Success

As far as I’m concerned, children have one job – actually two jobs – their first job is to be a kid, and their second job is to go to school.  Period.  It never dawned on me while I was growing up that I had a choice.  There was no choice.  I went to school because, well, kids went to school.  All my friends went to school.  I never played hooky, not even once.  I’m sure I would’ve gotten a really good spanking if I had.

Well, if anyone thinks our society isn’t going to hell in a hand basket, here’s another reason I think it is.

A Detroit shoe store, Bob’s Classic Kicks, is giving away a free pair of black leather Nikes to every student who goes to class on October 3 this year.  Apparently, that’s the day when students are counted and their numbers are used as the basis for per-pupil funding from the state and federal government.  Wonderful.

This story is so wrong on two levels.

Bribing kids to go to school?  Why not “reward” children with a new pair of shoes if they don’t miss class for a whole semester?  Or get straight As?  Or participate in extracurricular activities?  Rewarding someone for doing something they’re supposed to do in the first place doesn’t make any sense to me.

Secondly, according to the plan, the more bodies in class on October 3rd, the more money schools have all year.  It’s pathetic that the bean counters are only interested in one day.  If one day’s attendance is what matters, then it’s obvious no one cares if a child succeeds or ever shows up again; they just want their little piece of the pie to feed the school coffers, most of which goes to administration.  Ask any teacher how much they spend out-of-pocket for school supplies.

Well, the schools don’t need more money.  The local and federal governments already spend a ton of money to feed the insatiable appetites of the school boards, district administrators and unions.  It’s not about money.  Solving Detroit’s problems would be easy if it was all about money.  It’s problems go far deeper.

Detroit needs children in stable homes, with two parents who care and nurture their children, and who provide a healthy environment for learning and who will give them an opportunity to thrive in school.

Aside from its horrific crime rates, in 2008, the Michigan Department of Community Health reported 78 percent of children born in the city of Detroit were born to unwed mothers.  Babies having babies – without husbands.  That statistic is mind-boggling.  And I’ll bet if I dig deeper, the majority of those unwed mothers didn’t attend school regularly and didn’t graduate. There’s no way these young women can provide an environment for their children to thrive in school.

On our way home from other events, sometimes we’d stop at Walmart around 10 p.m. and I’m always surprised that parents are there with their children.  I always restrain myself from going up to these idiots and say, “what do the both of you do for a living that you have to go grocery shopping at 10 o’clock at night with your child?  They should’ve been in bed by 7!”  Well, I’ll bet if I was crazy enough to visit a Walmart at 10 p.m. inDetroit, I’d see plenty of kids there.

One of my brilliant nieces used to tell me when her little girl went to bed at 7 p.m., “a rested child is a child who can learn.”  She’s absolutely right.  I remember going to bed all through high school, Sunday through Thursday nights, at 9 p.m.   I wonder how many students in Detroit can say the same thing today?

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
  • Chief98110

    As a former school teacher, I know that parents’ participation in their
    child’s education is the key to raising the level of education. Just
    look at the success of charter schools. The parents are the key and if
    they are missing then kids suffer. Given the appalling stats in Detroit I
    very much doubt that dropouts care about education. 

  • Roger Ward

    Your sad commentary (and Ron F’s incisive follow-up) show why things in this country will only get worse in the future.  While my niece in Wyoming maintains a 3.8 grade average and goes to bed at 9 PM (as a senior in high school!) she is but one example of good in a wilderness of evil.  Yes, I said evil …. because it is evil to bring so many unwanted children into this world with no thought about how they are to be nurtured. Detroit is an example of the rot that has set in in most of our major cities (think Chicago, Philadelphia, San Antonio et al).  Sadly, I see no likelyhood of a change for the better in the future.  There are just too many bad people in the cities who are reproducing like roaches.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    “[I]n bed by 7″ seems a bit draconian. How are these kids supposed to watch The O’Reilly Factor

  • Ron F.

    I looked at the Detroit public school system’s budget for 2012 and the amount spent for school based costs is 89.2% of the budget, executive and administrative support is 6.8% and debt related costs are 4%. It does not seem out of line. In addition, looking at the number of clerical positions per student does not seem unreasonable. I can understand why the State of Michigan and the school districts have financial problems when there is a state mandated pension rate of 24.46%. A 24.46% pension rate is ridiculous.  At one time private employers averaged 30% in a total benefits.  I believe the cost per student in Detroit is more than $10,000 a year. That means the cost for each 30 student classroom is about $300,000.00. I don’t care how much special educateion there has to be, it still seems like a lotI saw one article that stated the graduation rate in Detroit is up to 62%. Another study that looked at the four-year graduation rate for students entering high school in 1999 found Detroit had a 32% graduation rate, 25% for boys, 39% for girls. I wonder how valuable a high school diploma is.  I have no idea if Bobs Classics Kicks program will help the students. Maybe we will get lucky and a few will stay in school. I do not see how it can do any harm. If it means that school attendance is distorted and as a result funding is distorted, it is up to the people of Michigan to change how school funding is allocated. I have no problem with the bean counters. They are doing their jobs. It is the state legislature and probably the federal government since there is federal funding of education that determines how schools will be funded. Maybe the parents at Walmart are working two jobs. There could be a lot of reasons why parents are shopping at Walmart at 10;00 P.M. Finally, I never went to bed at 7;00 in elementary school or before midnight when I was in high school.

    • Chief98110

      Hey Ron, I would not rely on the official stats since the count of
      actual students is based on one day and, given this story, they probably
      never come back. So where is all that money being spent?