4 thoughts on “Peter Levine On The Problems And The Solutions”

  1. Thanks, Brad. I appreciate the plug. As a speech for teenagers, it didn’t necessarily go all that well–maybe too complicated. The kids are now presenting their work and it’s very good.

  2. This is a very sobering article, which I, and I imagine millions of other Americans would prefer to ignore. However, the magnitude of the problems Levine puts forth cannot, in good conscience, be ignored by people who are at all civic-minded. Levine puts forth a reality-based, view of some crucial aspects of American culture, which are jarring: the number of Americans in prison, compared to the number of people in prison in other countries; our education system and drop-out rate, before people graduate from high school; our health care system being the most expensive in the world, with the worst outcomes, even if Congress passes health care reform; the deadliness of lack of health care for millions of Americans; and America burning more carbon than any country in the world.
    Fortunately, Levine is not a fatalist. He offers a way, through civic action, beginning with youth, about how America can change this death spiral, in which we are going. Although reading Levine’s article was painful, I am grateful, Mr. Rourke, that you brought it to my attention and raised my consciousness about these important issues facing our country.

  3. Brad, I also admire Peter Levine’s work and his particular commitment to youth. I live in a State that has made incarcerating youth an industry. I live in a community with one of the largest Colleges of Education in the U.S., and nearly 50% of the high schoolers in the public schools drop out before graduating – many move through the school to prison pipeline. I’ve read that it costs $56 dollars per day to incarcerate them (and many of them are incarcerated for years). Of course, many people in the U.S. concentrate on the importance of “higher education”, but I think we must focus on education from cradle to grave. For those who like the business model approach to social improvement, I don’t think the ROI under current conditions is anything to make us proud.

    In education, ignorance is not bliss
    …….. While Georgia’s high school graduation rate may have improved slightly – to 79% — this means a disappointing 21% of our state’s high schoolers drop out before receiving their diploma. One in five Georgia high school students fail to stick around long enough to gain the advantage of greater opportunity and increased earnings potential that comes with a high school degree.
    Moreover, when Georgia’s dropout rate is compared to other states and countries, there is far less to crow about. In Canada, for example, one of Georgia’s top trading partners, more than 90% of its student stay on to graduate. Even within our own state, in a number of school districts, the dropout rate exceeds 50% – Bob Barr, Atlanta Journal Constitution, December 7, 2009

  4. Margaret, thanks so much for the stark reminder of how far we need to go.

    John, I agree that reading Peter’s diagnosis is quite painful, but very important!

    And, Peter, I bet the talk went over way better than you thought it did in the moment. (It always does for me, at least.)


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