Today, an open letter to our politicians –
President Obama, V. President Biden, Senators Harkin and Grassley, Representative Loebsack, Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds, State Senator Courtney, State Representative Cohoon, State Representative Sands and any other politician who truly wants to help kids.
Last year a new way of life was born here in Burlington, Iowa. It doesn’t have a fancy, catchy name, no slogan and outside of the local Kiwanis club, friends and volunteers, no one has ever heard about it. But that’s my job, to make sure you politicians, particularly Republicans hear about this phenomenon.
Those who read this column on a regular basis know this already, but for you politicians who have to listen to this stuff, after being filtered through an operative, I will recap.
The Burlington Kiwanis Club came up with this idea over a year ago and it goes like this.
The club would partner with the local school system and try and help a group of kids who had , or were surely going to – fall through the crack. They were doing failing work, and frankly politician friends, without help from someone, were going to be driven even deeper into despair.
I’m no psychologist, but those who know, isolated a “lack of an adult role model” as just one of many problems these kids were facing – which they had NOTHING to do with. It was the hand these little tykes were dealt, a bad situation and no one to help them.
But with the help of a couple of small grants, a donation from the Kiwanis club from the proceeds realized from their annual pancake breakfast, which, if you are interested, will happen again this year over the Memorial Day weekend (it will be on Saturday as usual), a couple of teachers, and other volunteers, the results were – are you listening – one hundred percent of those lovely sixth and seventh graders were transferred from failing to passing.
I would challenge each and every one of you politicians to point to one, just one, government program that has yielded results like that, either on the state or national scene. JUST ONE!
So, the folks who were so successful last year are at it again this year. Just a little different scene though. No help from the government in the form of a grant – can you believe that? One of the most successful programs in history, but no funding!
That, it turns out, was just a temporary barricade. The group asked other service clubs in the area to join the cause and there was help. Thank goodness. But the lack of enough funds to repeat the exact same scenario will cause the program to be scaled back a bit, but it will go on!
The program has a real simple metric. As soon as school is dismissed for the day, 3 p.m., these youngsters gather and start their new classes. They get individual help with their subjects, a warm supper and a ride home. I know it is simple, but it works like a charm, and should be instituted in every school in the land, well, at least in Iowa. For example, I can see our math scores skyrocketing again.
You are closer to the source than I am, since you dole out the money, but really, compare a program like this, with ONE HUNDDRED PERCENT IMPROVEMENT to any other program rolling.
I don’t know about you politicians, but this taxpayer is wondering about the deal. Is anyone within earshot showing comparable results, or are they all just grabbing numbers. Folks, we have the proof in black and white and it is easy to understand. From one hundred percent failing to one hundred percent passing – what the heck more do you want?
So I am going to lay it all out for you – plain and simple!
I expect someone from any one, or all, of your offices to be in contact yet this week with our chairman and coordinator, Mr. Brandon Kipp. His cell phone number is 319-572-5049. And I don’t want someone low in your chain of command calling some political operative in the Burlington area to check this out. That will be a waste of time. The last person we need involved in this program is some political “back slapper” with a hundred excuses.
And, I do not expect someone of your stature to fly in and attend a class or two. But I do expect Brandon to hear from someone high up on you staff, and I do expect a personal visit to see how this miracle does occur. In fact, the paper work is all done on last year’s project and frankly if you take a look, your mind will be blown. So let’s give it a try, but do be careful, good minds are hard to find.
Now, about all you nay-sayers who are going to tell me about the negatives.
As gentle as I can possibly be, I am not going to listen this time and here is why.
We are talking about sixth and seventh graders. That’s late enough in life to be making adult decisions, and I believe that is happening as we speak.
With this program in place will we see more crime or less when they get older, which by the way costs us taxpayers a LOT of money each year? Will we see more poverty in their lives or will we see less? Will we see these youngsters leaving this community or will they stay here and become productive citizens? Will they ever get a chance to attend a college or trade school or will they be doomed forever? Will they forever call Burlington a great community, or will they forget and drift?
The answers to the above questions are really simple, and remember – we’re talking kids here!
(This article is the product of the author and is not associated with or submitted by the Des Moines County Republican Central Committee nor any other organization )