James Polk campaigned for president on the slogan. Extending the boundary of the Oregon Territory to 54 degrees, 40 minutes north latitude--well into what we today know as Canada--was the goal.
Didn't happen. As President, Polk negotiated a boundary with the British at 49 degrees north latitude via the Oregon Treaty of 1846. That's where it still is today.
54. 40. 49. 46. Similar numbers have been in the news lately. After revising methods to be more accurate, the state has finally come up with high school graduation and dropout rates that echo some of the above numbers. In the Portland Public Schools, 54% of students graduate. That means 46% don't. Out here where we live in the Reynolds District, 51% graduate. 49% don't.
So where's the fight?
Hint: the fight is not about dollars for education, although that wouldn't hurt. In the Reynolds District, class sizes will be going into astronomical numbers in the high 30's. Those class size numbers might have worked OK with the more collected and disciplined kids of the 40's and 50's. With today's attention deficit, overstimulated, fragmented and displaced kids and teachers whose disiplinary hands are tied, they are a disaster. Complete, total disaster.
But more importantly, where are the parents? Who is bringing into this world children that are not disciplined, loved, motivated, held accountable and socialized enough to finish high school in four years? High school, for God's sake! It ain't that hard!
Our daughter who attended a private Catholic high school worked her butt off and learned to write. At Portland State University, she spent half her time helping friends who came out of public school--some of them on scholarships--write papers.
Where's the fight? And where are the churches in this fight? Still wasting time trying to defend marriage from gay people's assault when the assault is and always has come from married heterosexuals?
Churches, and anybody we can join forces with, need to be about helping students graduate. But even more urgently, we need to be about Remedial Parenthood 101, Remedial Adulthood 101, Remedial Responsibility 101.
Remedial Love Your Neighbor As Your Own Family 101.
Where's the fight?