Friday, February 01, 2008

Go read Tony Norman's column in the Post-Gazette today. Make sure you click through the links to the news story.

I knew this kid when I was in high school, and I see him all over the place around here. These are kids who the system failed. These are kids who are 16 and still in the 8th grade thanks to No Child Left Behind.

In the SotU the other night, that guy who is currently the Chief Executive talked about how well that program is working. It is not. There are kids left behind all over this country. Not only are the public schools failing them, the social services system is failing them, the criminal justice system is failing them, and society in general is failing them.

These are not kids who are born bad, who are born pre-programmed to shoot up a house and kill a 12 year old girl. These are kids who turn to gangs because it is the only place, the only circumstance where they feel supported. There family situations suck, no other adults in their lives take an interest, their teachers take one look at them and mark them for failure. Instead of getting them into some kind of diversion program on their first criminal offense, they toss them in juvenile detention, where they just learn more and better criminal techniques in order to survive.

Listen up political candidates - especiall Mr. Obama, Ms. Clinton, Mr. McCain, and Mr. Romney. One of you is going to be in the White House next year. One of you has the potential to impact the young people our society is currently failing. Will you? Or will you allow the status quo to continue indefinitely?

I bet I can answer that without even trying.

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