I like the expression, “Light at the end of the tunnel.” When there is no place to go into the future, the futility disease kicks in and human beings crash with no hope of achieving the American Dream. When a political/economic system fails and people are piled-up in economic morasses, no teacher or school or current educational program provides a way out – a way to the light.

At this time in our history, those who want access to the education tax dollars we pay for education blame schools and teachers. Why? Because they seek control of the minds of the young (America), and seek personal wealth and power. As a result, they have ignored the problems damaging youth and the American Dream. None have attempted to solve the root problems – in fact, they have made them worse.

The problem: Poverty caused by a failed political/economic system that does not allow a meaningful path to success for citizens caught in the hell caused by the deprivation of basic human rights.

The Solution: Break the cycle and provide programs that let these children/citizens work their way out of poverty. Our current schools do some of this, but we cannot educate a way out for these citizens until we actually allow a path to work and success. That path requires meaningful jobs and employment with the opportunity of a better life. Surrounded by examples of human futility, with no promise that going to school or academic prowess will change their lives, kids turn to other ways to survive. We don’t like their choices because they involve crime, abuse, and dependency. Many of the ill-informed rant about welfare, but never consider that the cost of providing a school-to-work, rather than a school-to-prison-or-welfare solution is less than what we are spending now.

Ironically, because a very few blinded politicians believe that austerity is a solution to “Saving our children’s future,” we cannot create an economy based on jobs and opportunity to allow a pathway for our children. There are more jobs necessary in America today than ever before, but improving the infrastructure and building new technologies is blocked, throwing more people into poverty. The greed and power of those who hold great wealth, plus bad political leadership and dead-end economics, not the schools, create wards of the welfare systems and the futility disease crippling our society

We know what to do. We can connect each child with a future by providing hands-on, necessary work through apprentice programs, CCC type programs, WPA type programs, and schools experiences that connect those in need with income for themselves and their families. When a teacher can look a child in the eye and tell him/her, “We need you. America needs you,” and help that child get on a track that enhances dignity, pockets of poverty will generate healthy, working, proud citizens who are part of the American Dream.

It is really about human dignity and turning on lights at the end of the current dead-end pathways. It is about building America through America’s children and families, not exploiting children and blaming schools and teachers.