Views from elsewhere in Tennessee

Views from elsewhere in Tennessee

Posted: Friday, June 20, 2008 9:22 pm
By: AP

The following is a roundup of recent editorials from Tennessee members of The Associated Press. In some cases, the editorials have been edited for length. They do not reflect an editorial position of the AP but represent the opinions of the newspapers from which they are taken. ———— The (Maryville) Daily Times, June 17 One of the most important things we have seen regarding high school education in Tennessee was the 45 percent reduction of the dropout rate 2000 and 2006. That leaves the state’s high schools ranked No. 15 among the nation’s 50 states. That still amounts to 6 percent of the teens enrolled though and that is far too many. The overall score in the annual Kids Count report, based on 10 areas, was not good at 42nd overall. That was up from 43rd. However, while important, many of the other points did not directly involve schools but included infant mortality, poverty rates, single-parent families, teen death rates and low birth rates, perhaps all contributing factors. Heavier emphasis should be placed on keeping young people in school. Many are lacking a loving home care in which parents help them learn to read, write, add and multiply and properly express themselves as they gradually become responsible adults. That has placed a far heavier load on public schools that too often have to fill the role of providing training not received at home. In this day and time, most dropouts are almost assured of getting into trouble if they have not also done so beforehand. They need help while they are young and the greatest help society can give them is to see they have an education. They won’t get on the streets. In pre-adult ages, it should not be an option to drop out of school. Keeping children in a basic education learning situation is the most important thing we can do for the good of the individual child and the future of the nation. http://www.thedailytimes.com/article/20080617/OP01/952710486/-1/op The (Nashville) Tennessean, June 17 Like many others around the nation, Tennessee’s juvenile justice system needs reform, or at least improvement. Just how much reform or improvement is needed depends on whom you talk to. The issue came to light last week after the Annie E. Casey Foundation released its annual report on national trends involving the well-being of children nationwide. Along with its 2008 Kids Count Data Book, the foundation also presented what it calls a clear path to reducing the number of children and youth in the nation’s justice system. An essay in the Data Book titled “A Road Map for Juvenile Justice Reform” talks about development “highlighting recent research and reforms that provide the basis for a fundamental, urgently needed transformation.” The essay relates that in 2006 the estimated daily count of detained and committed youth in juvenile justice facilities was 92,854. That same year, 66 percent of all youth in custody were there on nonviolent offenses, and the ratio of youth of color to white youth was 3-1. The essay makes the case for keeping youth out of the adult justice system, reducing incarceration, ensuring safe institutions and eliminating racially disparate treatment. While Department of Children’s Services officials might be at fault for some of the problems in the state system, they can’t reform or improve the system by themselves. Tennessee needs to make another effort at juvenile justice reform, and Gov. Phil Bredesen and members of the legislature should be leading a call for positive action. The state should be able to do a much better job with most of its troubled youngsters. And if the right programs were in place, many of the youngsters the juvenile justice system sees today would probably not have to be admitted. http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pecs.dll/article?AID/20080617/OPINIO N01/8061 70362/1008 Published in The Messenger 6.20.08

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