Niagara Gazette

Niagara Living

August 1, 2008

DELUCA: Do we need universal parent test?

It was a coincidence. Really. I was in my car, headed over to get a photo of a teenage safe house for a story that’s running in this issue.

As I was driving, I was deep in thought, pondering a single question that had popped into my head: What I would do if I were president of the United States?

There were some things that come immediately to mind. If I were president, there would be no welfare. For a long time, I have been troubled about welfare. I think it steals a person’s soul and self-respect. I’d create a new program called workfare and no able body would get a dime of government money unless they did something in exchange.

Then I would initiate a volunteer service program for high school kids. Ask them to volunteer a year for their country after they graduate from high school. For every year they gave, they could earn one year of money for college while they assisted impoverished communities or helped to rebuild our parks and infrastructures. Great job training and great training for life.

I would change the high school graduation requirements so that the many kids who are unable to learn in our current system could find a way to graduate, teaching them valuable trade skills like plumbing and welding so they could get could jobs when they graduate instead of expecting all kids to learn the same way and take the same tests. That sets too many kids up for failure.

I tapped my fingers against the steering wheel as I passed through some of the saddest streets in Niagara Falls. What else could I do to make this world a better place? Then I thought about how much I worry about the kids. All the kids.

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