April 25, 2007 in City

Matthew Rivera : Solid education key for next generation

Matthew Rivera Senior, Rogers High School
The Spokesman-Review photo

(Full-size photo)

To our readers

As part of the “Our Kids: Our Business” project, five local students were asked to write essays about the Five Promises.

The students, all members of the Chase Youth Commission, volunteered to write from their perspective about the meaning of the promises, which represent the obligation of adults to ensure children live happy and fulfilling lives.

Developed by America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth, the promises have been incorporated into the “Our Kids: Our Business” project, which seeks to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect in the Inland Northwest.

According to the Alliance for Youth, children who are exposed to at least four of the promises are “more likely to be academically successful, civically engaged and socially competent.”

The Five Promises: Caring Adults; Safe Places; A Healthy Start; Effective Education; Opportunities to Help Others

In an era marked by our appetite for safety, committing to a better future is only the first step to ensuring that our generation and generations thereafter receive the adequate skills needed to make safe and smart choices.

Effective education is a facet to the proactive approach that our community is trying to perfect in order to guarantee youth have the resources needed for the future.

America’s Promise, the umbrella under which Spokane’s Promise operates, argues that “every child and youth needs and deserves the intellectual development” needed for success.

News headlines force us to recognize that child abuse can happen anywhere, and the force that drives effective education reaffirms that our community is committed to engaging youth in decision-making.

Despite the national call for effective education, America’s Promise says “only 39 percent of teens are experiencing the ‘effective education’ ” that will raise academic test scores and keep kids in school.

Sadly, the youth that drop out of school are not often found playing soccer in the park or reading a book in the library, but are rather found in compromising situations.

Our culture endows youth with pressure to attend college, yet, according to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, 15,921 students dropped out of high school in the 2004-25 school year. The dropout rate of students who entered ninth grade in the fall of 2001 was 19 percent.

When the state education system is graduating only about four in five youth, it needs help. Too often we look solely within schools to find the problems, but an effective education entails more than what is found in a classroom.

Among factors such as learning environment and friends, a student needs parents who are involved in their education. One person can spark a child’s interest that can ignite their desire to learn. An effective education not only guarantees that children have a safe place to be but also gives them the tools to make smart choices after the last bell of the day.

If we insist on a good future for youth, we must insist on effective education. Only through knowledge can we overcome the child abuse that affects us or someone we know or care about.

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