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. in Detroit, 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.

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