TRUANCY AMONG YOUTH IN SAN FRANCISCO (03/07/10)
There is this cliché that says that the youth are our future leaders. I say they are our present leaders, our genuine resources to what Society as a whole can benefit. That is why I put so much of my energy working with youth, from all communities and working with the youth has kept me young and hopefully as energetic as I can be.
Many of us Baby Boomers were fortunate to have the best of life. Even the few that did not - had certain organizations and institution, hopefully family members and close friends to help them through hard times. I cannot speak for everyone - but generally most of us Baby Boomers had access to good education when we were growing. Often times I ask these questions and I am impressed when many of the Baby Boomers reveal about their education and hard work.
Education is critical in today's world. In years past those few that did not have a good education could get by. But, in today's world a high school diploma is nothing much, even graduates find it difficult to get a good paying job. I really do not want to get into details - but have met taxi drivers who have a Masters' Degree, and other doing construction work that have degrees in Science and so on - but, have to survive and will take any job.
Truancy in San Francisco is increasing and there are about six thousand youth that are deemed truants - that for one reason or the other - will not go to school. Many hang around places and peer pressure leads them to break the law. Many land in jail. Many go to jail, in and out, many times and soon are incarcerated for major crimes and spend years in jail - some get life time sentences.
Those of us on the front lines see it all. We can help some but really speaking the opportunities are not there for many youth, especially in the poorer neighborhoods to succeed. It has become fashionable to recognize "turf wars" and do nothing about them. Many youth are afraid to go to school. They live in fear of being killed. Our Mayor knows this but can do nothing about it. Our San Francisco Board of Supervisors knows this - but will turn away from helping the youth that need help. Both young women and men in San Francisco, the City that knows how - need help, but there is no one to take the lead and bring about the change. The change is linked to Quality of Life Issues.
Sixty percent of the youth are chronic truants and the authorities know about this but cannot do anything about it - except talk in vague terms and create phony organizations that the youth do not respect. For example Beacon Centers that once were created in places to totally help the youth - taking into consideration the location and the Centers being Safe Haven - are now moved to places that put the youth in harms way.
This is done by the Department of Children, Youth and Families that gives out the grant and is led by folks that have no clue about youth that face life and death choices - every single day. Our City and County of San Francisco has a $6.8 Billion budget ö YES, six point eight billion dollar budget. Yet, for all our vain talk, we cannot take care of our youth. We can pay the thousands of Managers that work for this City over two hundred thousand plus but not take care of our youth. Some Managers like the Director of the failed Municipal Transit Authority - is paid over $350,000. For every twenty six constituents we have one City worker. Go figure, and compare that to other major Cities in the United States.
For years San Francisco had a system that took care of our youth. In San Francisco we have a Youth Commission that is well known but does not have the clout to do as much as it wants to do. We have a Mayor that will spew diatribe every opportunity he gets, moving his hands like a Wind Mill - saying stuff that he only understand and no one comprehends. Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco is a disgrace to the human race. He has failed our youth.
Thousands of our youth do not have roof to live under. Thousands of our youth live in fear. Thousands of our youth go hungry to school. And more thousands find that they do not get the help they need in the schools they attend. Thousands of youth live in one neighborhood and are forced to travel clear across the other side of the City - to meet requirements that are out dated and make no sense.
Our Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District will listen and say stuff that makes sense but as a leader he has not shown the ability to rise to the occasion. Often times he panders to the Mayor and has taken the "Rainy Day Fund" in stride twice to help him stop laying off teachers and administrators. But, this time there is no Rainy Day fund and he is over $116 million in the hole and drowning.
One has just to listen to the Unified School District Board of Directors. They talk and talk and make you feel asleep. Most of them should resign - because they have failed our children and more they have failed our communities. They all fall shy of blaming themselves, but will blame the whole world - the State of California, the Governor of California, anyone but their poor leadership.
Many of these members on the SF Unified School Board are living in a world where they spend thousands on consultants and buy into the nonsense of consultants. Here in San Francisco we have astute constituents from all over the world many of them with high University Degrees. Many of them confide in me and they do not appreciate the long hours, the good for nothing so called SF Unified School Director spend - pandering to the Television on Channel 26 and 78.
In the interim our youth are suffering because of poor leadership. Every year the Superintendent, Carlos Garcia will wait until the end to issue pink slips to the teachers. Then, class sizes are increased without any meaningful dialog. Many Administrators making a lot of money should take a long vacation. Good teachers are laid off and no one in their right mind - is seriously concerned about the future of our children. They are our present leaders and we must give them the best of education.
Suffice to say, we are down the totem pole when it comes to education - that is the State of California. In San Francisco, considering that we are so close to center, where strides are made in technology, the center of the Information World, the place that the world admires - San Francisco is so close and yet so far away. It may surprise our idiotic San Francisco officials that the best brains that make stuff happen - are from all parts of the worlds and most of them did not get their education in San Francisco or the neighboring Cities and Counties.
It is time the San Francisco Unified School District, pull up their sleeves and do what is required. Tape their mouths with some good duct tape and come out with solutions. Our youth are dying and no one cares about the real causes that make the youth suffer. We adults know what is happening and look the other way. For how long can this nonsense go on ö something has to be done - now.
Years have passed and the clarion call has been sounded by these so called School Officials from the San Francisco Unified School District are deaf and what is more lacking in some quality IQ.
In the mean time, good students lacking the opportunity, go to jails and are incarcerated. Other drop out because there is no one to support them. Imagine the many Baby Boomers - if we did not get the support, we would not have attained what we have made of ourselves today. How many times did we fall down and others pulled us up. Talking to my peers - many of them tell me hundreds of stories of people helping them - teachers, pastors, family friends, neighbors, coaches, police men, fire fighters, doctors - professional and not so professional people. Laborers and house maids with work ethics - you all get the picture.
Our youth today are surrounded with violence and economic problems. Our schools are dysfunctional, our colleges and universities are under siege. Tuition is up and if you apply for a course there is no guarantee you will be in the class. Our youth look for hope and all they get are promises that are made and not kept. We adults lie and think nothing of it. Our youth are quick to observe and do not admire and less respect - liars. We are duty bound as adults, especially after we have had our good fortune to fight for what is right and help our youth.
Our youth are our present leaders and we have a moral obligation to do all in our power to help our youth. Let us not let our politicians take us for a ride. I am shocked and disgusted to see our San Francisco Unified School leaders take the easy way out. They can talk all they want - but are slow to hear the public and give less time for public comment. What is it that they have to hide - when we know, full well, they are NOT doing their job as well as they must to it.
They want our VOTES to REPRESENT - they do not have anything of worth to prove their leadership. So far we are watching and what we see we do not appreciate. Good leaders know the way, show the way, and go the way.