Commentary on School and Poverty

As a criminal defense lawyer who has been in practice for over 40 years, I know first hand that the vast majority of those serving time in prison for committing violent crimes are high school dropouts. On top of that, The Star just reported in an article dated February 27th that one in five Hoosier children younger than 18, or 20.9%, live in poverty. We’ve waited too long to address these problems, and the solution lies at the tip of our fingers.

More to the point, why don’t we have a national policy that requires public schools in major metropolitan areas to remain open 12 months out of the year? For example, close to 90% of public school kids here in Marion County are on the school lunch program. Where do you think they are able to obtain food during the long summer recess?

Summer vacations began decades ago solely to allow kids to work on the family farm. Not only have those farms disappeared, but many city kids are lost to the street with little or no direction during the summers.

If we have these kids in school year around, we can ensure their academic progress as well as addressing the needs caused by poverty. I taught grade school in 1969-70 where I was the only white male in the building, teacher or student, and I saw that we already began losing many kids by the time they reached the 5th grade.

We owe it to these kids to make sure that an education means something. Not only would we be paying teachers to work the entire year as everyone else, but the kids would be intellectually stimulated from kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Let me politely suggest that we make the financial commitment to monitor my suggested program over the next 12 years. Let’s see where we end up. I suspect that our prison population will be decreased while innumerable city kids will be able to grab a hold of a far better future.