The economic engines of Alachua County are education, medicine and government. Yet, the county has struggled over the years with a graduation rate between 60 and 78 percent.
On the surface, that may sound really great. However, I would, will and do argue that this the hallmark of a dysfunctional system in a dysfunctional community. A 78 percent graduation rate rounds out to 1 out of 4 kids not graduating.
The reality of this graduation rate in a community that is stratified into an economy where education is the most essential prerequisite to any meaningful occupation relegates 25 percent of its children to poverty-producing jobs if they choose to be satisfied with a life of poverty.
The real truth is that these non-high school drop-outs are the necessary but disposable middlemen that connect the drug cartels and pharmaceutical industry to the ‘responsible’ and ‘successful’ professionals who deem it their right to participate in recreational drugs in a responsible manner.
When these disposable middlemen become successful drug dealers, they are harvested by the criminal justice system of their profits and used to fill the jails and prisons of the nation. Think this is an exaggeration? Then look at the profiles of the 102,000 inmates in the prisons of Florida.
They have an average education of the 6th grade. Over 60 percent are characterized as addicts of one sort or another. Statistics point out that some 65 percent are in for drug-related or drug-motivated crimes.
Back to the basics of education in Alachua County. Alachua County has a higher incarceration ration than that of the state of Florida. The state of Florida as a higher incarceration ratio than that of the nation. The USA has a higher incarceration ratio than any country in the world. Think in terms of a country with less than 5 percent of the world population and 25 percent of the incarcerated people.
I invite you to look at this article and tell me there is not a correlation in the numbers of 25 percent non–high school graduates and 25 percent of the Alachua kids living in poverty, where the economic engines of the county are education, medicine and government.
I was coming out of an accountability meeting were some of the school board were answering (pandering) to a large voting block and a representative from Juvenile Justice stopped me out side and said, “You know, we have generational poverty in this county, and nobody cares.”
To make matters worse, there are some 700 kids of North Central Florida living in foster care because they are the victims of abuse or neglect.
So, the question that falls out of this horrendous situation is: Just who benefits from all of this that allows this situation to continue? It must be to someone’s benefit; otherwise it would not be allowed to persist.
This is an article that points out American education does not serve us well, and this is especially so in motivation. As I was traveling across the country and camping out last summer, it seems as if every other person I meet was a skilled tradesman, and they stated that they could not find the men or women to learn a trade as a craftsman. The pay is good at around $80,000 or so a year with benefits. See: Skills gap hobbles US employers.