Dear Annie: Every 29 seconds, another student drops out of the U.S. public school system. Before this year ends, more than 1 million children will have dropped out — passing on their best chance for a productive adulthood.
Strengthening our schools is critical, but when one in three young people drops out every year, it’s no longer just about improving education. It’s about creating an integrated approach that involves the family, the school and the community. Most of all, it’s about making an investment in the whole child.
My husband, Colin, and I have championed this approach with America’s Promise Alliance because we know that more time, energy and resources must be invested — in and out of school — if we are to ensure the future of our children and the future of our national security.
This month we’re kicking off a Dropout Prevention Campaign, with more than 100 summits being held nationwide over the next two years. We’ll bring together mayors and governors, business owners, child advocates, school administrators, teachers and students to come up with solutions to curb this crisis.
For information on getting involved, your readers should visit americaspromise.org. Sincerely — Alma Powell, board chair, America’s Promise Alliance
Dear Alma Powell: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address the importance of acquiring an education. Too many children drop out for reasons that can be addressed and changed. Helping them stay in school is beneficial not only to the child, but to the entire community. We hope our readers will contact America’s Promise Alliance and find out how they can get involved in this worthwhile endeavor.
Dear Annie: I have two sons (7 and 3), who keep me on my toes. What would be the right age to teach them how to use the kitchen?
My husband doesn’t have any idea how to cook a meal for himself, and I don’t want my boys to be so helpless. I would like to guide them, step by step, and make them independent in case I’m not around someday.
I know this could be enjoyable for them, but since they are so small and mischievous, I fear they might create a mess or have a serious accident. When are they old enough to use a gas stove or a kitchen knife? — Chief Cook in New York
Dear Chief Cook: Everyone, male or female, should know how to get around the kitchen. Your 3-year-old can set a table (without knives), fold napkins, knead dough, get out pots and pans and help you sweep the floor. He can learn to make a sandwich. Your 7-year-old should be able to peel vegetables and, under your very careful supervision, put food in the oven and use a knife. He can learn to scramble eggs and make toast. There will be a mess, but they can help you clean it up.
You can find lots of information as well as kid’s cookbooks at your library, bookstore and in parenting magazines and online forums. Good luck, Mom.
Dear Annie: I had to take a detour tonight because there was a body of a young woman in the road. The driver of the car that hit her was sitting on the ground, dazed.
Why did this girl die? Because she was crossing a three-lane road at night in a poorly-lit area. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people cross dark streets when traffic is coming. Here’s a bulletin for anyone walking around at night: DRIVERS CANNOT SEE YOU — especially if you are wearing dark clothing.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of this woman who died so senselessly. And even more so for the driver who will have to live with this nightmare for the rest of his life. — Saddened in New Hampshire
Dear Saddened: How tragic. Please, readers, wear reflective gear when walking at night. It could save your life.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.8.08