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July 28th, 2003
A Similar Idea

While I like this idea, I have another, similar, one which I’d love to see take shape someday.

The article referenced above talks about a lawyer who had the idea of having other professionals, as well as himself, set aside $100 a month for 10 years, with the idea of giving the money to a college-bound kid upon graduation. Specifically, a low-income college bound kid. The kicker to all this is designating the children as scholars when they are young–they grow up with the expectation of receiving this money, which is supposed to encourage (and provide a large incentive) to not only stay in school, but to excel and apply to college. This is a great program, and I applaud those taking part.

But what about the other kids? The kids who aren’t college material, who are low-income. Don’t they deserve a program like this? There are plenty of careers out there that pay a good wage that don’t require a college degree–plumbers, electricians, builders, auto mechanics, etc. What these jobs have in common is that they do require training, either by apprenticeship or at a vocational training school…and these programs cost money. What if you started a kid out as a freshman in high school (when it becomes more apparent who is college-bound, and who is not) and promise money for vocational training upon graduation? How many kids who drop out because the school bureaucracies don’t care about them, might stay in school and out of trouble, if they knew they had a future? These kids get designated as throw-aways because they aren’t going on the college-bound path, which is getting to be the only path that is valued as cash-strapped schools cut out all the vocational classes in order to preserve the core academics and advanced classes. Aren’t the plumbers and mechanics and electricians in our society just as important as the white-collar college-degree professionals? Society needs both to survive.

How about doing something like this for all the kids with developmental disabilities? You know, those “retards” society would like us to forget exist? They’re people too, and believe me, with training many of them will become functioning, contributing members of society. But many of their parents can’t afford to send them to programs that train them, and places like Goodwill can only serve so many people at a time. These kids need a program like Marathon too. They deserve it as much as the college-bound kids.

Let’s face it–charities for vocational students and the developmentally disabled just aren’t “sexy” like “Send a Kid To College!” when it comes to appealing to the upper-middle class people who can afford a ten-year $100/month commitment. I say shame on anyone who thinks that the only children worth helping are those who are “smart.” All children deserve a future, not just the “smart kids.”

Posted by Claire at 02:43 PM | Activism | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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