Mike Hicks [Feb 3] identifies the decisions made by individuals that almost guarantee poverty—quitting high school, using drugs and having children out of wedlock.
I grew up in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s in a small, poor, suburban city, and educated in public schools. Each school week included a time of Bible stories.
The elementary school was run by a disciplinarian who had the respect and support of the parents. There were consequences for children and parents who did not live up to their responsibilities to education.
There was no sex education. If you quit school it had to be with the parents consent, after a certain age, and usually was conditioned on enlistment in the military. The existence of marijuana was vaguely known. Unplanned pregnancy’s shame was muted by “shotgun weddings” and the disappearance of one girl who had “gone to live with relatives.”
The adage “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it” seems to apply in reverse. Those of us who have experienced “the good old days” as we drive by the Lawrence school district’s signs that say “building character” ask, “building on what foundation?” What we see today is not working.