Oklahoma City, this state and this nation are in a crisis. Most of us know it but don't understand the magnitude of the problem.
Prisons are full of people who grew up without adult supervision or an education. And it's accelerating every year. We keep ignoring the increasingly depressing statistics. Law enforcement, the courts and educators are fully aware of and overwhelmed by the trend.
We are faced with a significant and increasing number of people who have no work ethic and no education. They are unemployable. The problem is not only single-parent families. In the majority of two-parent families, both parents work and the children don't get the supervision or education they need. Nearly all children today have too much idle time. As my grandmother would say, “Idle hands work for the devil.” This trend will destroy our culture, our heritage and ultimately our nation. The crisis is worse than the threat we faced in the Great Depression or Cold War.
The cure will take a heroic effort. The longer we wait, the more expensive, invasive and painful it will be.
David Levin and Michael Feinberg, winners of the Brock International Prize in Education (www.brockinternationalprize.com), have shown us the way. They've created a groundbreaking organization that I believe is a harbinger of things to come in education. Their KIPP schools solve the problem of educating inner-city children and latch-key children, and the problem of the absence of parents during the work day. They've taken their KIPP system into the inner cities where the existing education system has failed and proved that those students can do just as well as students in the successful schools.