Academics Say The Same Old Thing Again (again)

Not far across the road, a rather horrible, aggressive young girl who was truant from school (doing such lovely things as killing fish in an aquarium) was taken away in an ambulance to give birth.  Two ambulances attended, ‘Daddy’ is some useless prick who knocks the younger brother about and so on, no doubt practising for ‘council-flat bliss’ later.
A study by Concordia University staff tells us that kids, particularly aggressive kids who get thrown out of school are much more likely to get into this kind of trouble and remain poor.  In their sample of 30-somethings they found:
* 22.6 percent of mothers and 22.5 percent of fathers had not completed their secondary education (Grade 11) by age 25.
* 40 percent of female participants – married, single, cohabiting – were poor.
* 28 percent of male participants – married, single, cohabiting – were poor.
* On average, 35 percent of households were considered poor. 

The study found that childhood aggression and withdrawal resulted in lower school achievement. Girls who experienced academic difficulties were at increased risk to drop out of high school. Girls who failed to complete high school were at greater risk for entering motherhood at a young age and to parent in poverty.  Not only were aggressive girls at greater risk for becoming mothers early, but having children at a young age increased the likelihood that children would be raised with at least one biological parent absent and the absence of a parent, in turn, increased the likelihood of living in poverty.  Boys who were aggressive and those who experienced academic difficulties were at increased risk to drop out of high school. Aggressive boys were found to be at increased risk to be young parents of children who would be raised in the absence of one biological parent. Early parenthood predicted future family poverty among men regardless of family structure.

For disadvantaged kids to rise above challenges, social intervention strategies must specifically target school drop-out, early parenthood, parental absence and family poverty. To do this effectively, problematic behavior and learning difficulties during childhood and adolescence need to be addressed for conditions of parenthood to be substantially improved for socially disadvantaged youth.

The study is from abroad.  I’ve seen plenty of the same done here and remember teaching from books written in the 1950s saying much the same.  Concordia is quite a civilised university, possibly in Canada.  My idea of research is not to go over such old ground.  It would be to find out why we never give a damn and can’t sort out these kinds of problems.  I’d bet local cops could identify most of the kids at risk.  Ours tried pretty hard and got parental guidance in across the road.  Our problems with the kids more or less stopped, but there has been no cure.
Frankly, we ignore these problems, dumping the families amongst others least able to cope, and applying sticking plaster every now and then.  Gadget is full of the depravity of these people and often accurate.  I sometimes suggest a ‘cull’ as a thought experiment on what it all costs and who benefits.  Some of what goes on beggars belief and my experience is that the inactions of cops and social and housing workers and the glossy lies their institutions tell are worse than the trouble itself.
The kids involved are more in need of education than anyone going into higher education, but we can hardly offer this on the ‘pay for it later’ university scam-lines.  What education is available to them is useless.  If we could dice their brains, we’d find (judging from scans) that they are ‘wired-up’ differently.  Even the presence of a relatively benign alcoholic father does this.  Many of these kids get much worse than that.
My own belief is we should stop messing with ‘social work and education fixes’ and get kids like this into work situations early in a discipline different from school and organise work they can do and rates no one need be poor on.  It’s the crude way we run our economies that causes much of this kind of problem.  I suspect we have not worked out that there is now no reason to keep any section of our society in poverty so we can be virtuous workers doing better than them.  I would guess these people are the clog of 80% of our CJS  and social-health care.  Whilst I’ve seen brilliant work by mature students, this lot have little or no light under their bushel.  What we don’t do is give them chance to have lives they can manage in decency.  We despise them from holier than thou spots, in order to feel no responsibility, and at least know there is lower life in the pond.
ConDoomed policies just play on our intolerance and feeble pride we are better than these sump-dwellers, and do nothing to bring about changes that would ensure employment of the right kind.  We need something much tougher – almost like sending kids ‘away to sea’ at 14.  I favour a form of National-International Service for all from 14 – disciplined but not necessarily military.  We need the detail, but should remember this is left out as a matter of course in “government planning” that relies on the Private Sector Cavalry or the public being so dumb it falls for the old weasel words again.
In Russia, Putin put up CCTV linked directly to his office to get a village rebuilt.  I’m not much of a fan of Russia at the moment, but the principle holds with much of our feeble state.  Joanna Lumley did something a bit similar with that slime Woolas.  It is about some surveillance in public scrutiny that somehow deals with media-political corruption but also somehow protects privacy in a meaningful way.  This problem is two hundred years old, and fifty in its modern form.  Passage up its river of lies, promises, deceit and blunders starts at Shit Creek – you have to smuggle tour own paddle in.

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