Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Drug-sniffing dogs in middle schools ... ?

... and what on earth would that have to do with this picture? Everything.  A nation that has given up on its children has become suicidal, lost its way, and abandoned all hope for the future. Have we gone completely mad?

And why is so much of the available funding for youth services found in the budgets of law enforcement?  Would we be having better luck if (as before) those funds were again used to staff our recreation centers?  Everything shuts down in the early evening; except the kids! 

How did we get so far off track, anyway?  Is no one else disturbed by the sight of police cars parked at high schools, routinely; high schools in my city that have the outward appearance of prisons? Schools with their metal detectors that long ago -- for budgetary reasons -- gave up counselors and school nurses in favor of this?  Both positions provide prevention, intervention, and might go a long way toward eliminating the need for police on campus.  Resources for youth are often dependent upon their being defined as "at risk," and rarely as entitlements -- as it was when we were young.

The taxpayers of California, by refusing to allow the raising of taxes with which to fund much-needed services for children, have allowed education to be gutted of all those things that brings kids to school each day, and sustains their interest in remaining in the system.  Music, the Arts, electives of all kinds; school clubs, athletics.  The schools have lost their relevance to many young lives by the time they reach their teens, and by ninth grade 49% have dropped out (mostly Black and Brown youth), or been transferred into the prison system where the costs of upkeep are astronomically higher than it would have been to educate them in the first place!

This is not true in the suburbs where parents have formed support groups and foundations which financially support a full array of enriching programs like science fairs, music and fine arts, (yes, and counselors, and school nurses) that school districts in my part of the county simply cannot afford. 

School districts receive funds from the State based on ADA (Average Daily Attendance), so those dropouts determine what moneys come into the district, so where the dropout rate is high, resources continue to shrink and essentials (like textbooks) disappear into some bottomless chasm of need.

If we're not going to educate the electorate, then we'll have need to control it; hence drug-sniffing canines.

How sad that we've come to this.

I need to find the relevance in my work, and where it interfaces with the critical needs I see all around me.  So far today that relevance escapes me ... .

... I'm at home feeling depressed.  Not a usual state for me, yet there's something familiar about this mood, enough so that I think I might be reaching for justification to match the feelings.  Can't find anything in my immediate past, present, or future that warrants "the Blues," so I may be borrowing heavily from the news reports,  all devastatingly unreal.

Maybe I'm having leftover blahs from watching the State of the Union speech last night, and being aware of how much game-playing goes on at such a high level, and understanding just how much the lives of ordinary citizens (yes, and children and youth) depend upon what's happening in that Chamber.  That, combined with the unbelievable nonsense going on in the primary races where candidates whose constituencies appear to represent such a thin slice of the electorate ... it's surreal!

Oh well, maybe tomorrow... .

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