Aug. 2011 Column

We need you!  The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” is cliché but true. It does take an entire community to educate our youth.  We must all take responsibility. Aging Baby Boomers question the ability of  GenX’ers  to step up and provide a strong economy through retirement years. The older population has a vested interest in equipping today’s youth with the necessary skills to ensure a robust economy tomorrow.  That’s why it makes sense for Baby Boomers and everybody else to get involved with the education process of our youth today.

But what can you do to help educate our city’s youth?  Here are a couple suggestions: When students apply for a job, make sure they fill out an application appropriately.  Have them count out the change when working with money.  Expect appropriate behavior and polite manners. “What you allow, you endorse,” according to Dr. Michael Josephson.

When engaging in conversation with young people, ask them to speak properly.  Slang may be acceptable among friends, but it is not suitable for speaking to adults. Profane conversation, which seems so prevalent among our youth, should never be tolerated. Because youngsters learn by example, dress for your occupation.  Although a coat and tie may not be required in most occupations, I have yet to observe a vocation in which wearing one’s pants below the buttocks is proper.

I am asking parents, friends and community members to endorse and expect proper manners from our youth.  If we allow young people to believe their behavior is appropriate outside of school, it becomes virtually impossible to enforce rules and new models of behavior at school.

When catastrophic events take place, we as a nation have always risen to the occasion.  Some experts believe education in the United States is on the brink of just such a catastrophe.  Rather than complain and point fingers, let’s get involved. I am tired of complaining about  budgets that have left our schools with larger class sizes, eliminated professional development and reduced salaries for  the second year in a row.  Instead,  I am asking for your help. 

Volunteer! You do not have to make a commitment to be at a specific school every day at a designated time.  We would appreciate your help if you came one day a month.  Contact a school administrator and let them know you want to help.

Schedule a conference to discuss your child with his or her teacher! For the first time in many years, HMS has set aside one full day each semester for teachers to meet with parents. Please mark those dates – Sept. 27 and Feb. 14 – on your calendar.

Last, but certainly not least, today’s youth must take responsibility for their education.  When a student drops out of school, the impact is felt everywhere by everyone. Not only do the individuals themselves suffer, but each class of dropouts is responsible for substantial financial and social costs to the communities, states, and country in which they live. Dropouts from the Class of 2008 alone will cost the nation more than $319 billion in lost wages over the course of their lifetimes.

In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the annual salary average differences between educational levels are staggering:

  • High school drop outs: $18,734
  • High school graduates: $27,915
  • College grads (with a bachelor’s degree): $51,206
  • Advanced degree holders: $74,602

Hobbs is a great place to live.  As the economy becomes more diversified, it will be up to our current students to fill employment roles at the International Isotopes, Urenco and Potash - just to name a few.  Math and science comprehension will become more important for employment in many of the newer occupations. Hobbs Municipal Schools offers a great education, with highly qualified staff.  Take advantage of the opportunity by being a positive role model, encouraging a child or volunteering at a school. Please support education in order to make Hobbs even greater.

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