I would have to agree with the Indy Star on this one... not sure what we can do to help, except raise the children you have well and helping to educate parents on the importance of education and focus some concrete energy into youth development.
June 28, 2006
Children deserve better than this
Report on well-being of state's children is a harsh reminder of the challenges Indiana faces.
How much do we value our children? Not just the ones we call sons and daughters but also the kids living down the block, across the city or on the other side of the state?
How can we as Hoosiers explain why Indiana ranks 32nd in the nation in the well-being of the state's children, as measured by the Annie E. Casey Foundation? Are we embarrassed that our neighbors in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan all fare better?
How can we tolerate being 50th -- the absolute worst in the nation -- in the percentage of teens who drop out of high school?
Or 34th in the nation in the percentage of teens who neither attend school nor hold down a job?
Does the fact that Indiana ranks 34th in infant mortality and 31st in the rate of teenagers giving birth and 22nd in the percentage of low-birth-weight babies illicit a shrug or a scream?
Are we comfortable with these numbers? Are we resigned to accepting mediocrity or worse? Have we given up not only on our children but on the state we call home?
Do we read that one-third of children in Indiana live in homes without a parent who has a full-time job and then simply turn the page? Are we alarmed to learn that the number of children whose parents didn't have secure employment grew by 22 percent between 2000 and 2004, a rate seven times the national average?
How do we respond to yet another mirror that shows Indiana not in the soft tones we envision but in a harsh reality that is too often denied?
Do we turn away? Give up? Or begin to demand more of state and local governments, of public and private schools, of churches and synagogues, of community organizations and charities, of our neighbors and ourselves?
Do we finally say enough and begin working to build a better future for our children and our state?
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