Last week I blogged about a young lady that dropped out of Pagosa Spings high school seventeen years ago, only to be “rescued” by her business teacher, Doug Bowen. On Friday morning Jessica Curry graduated from Winona State University. She was accompanied by her daughter, her mother, her fiancée and his two children. It was a joyous occasion. There was a lot of publicity generated around Jessica’s story, with articles appearing in the Winona Daily News and The Pagosa Daily Post. The Pagosa Springs Sun will soon publish an article about Doug Bowen, who has a long history of helping young people.
Stories like Jessica’s happen frequently, but the news media doesn’t pay much attention to them. There are Doug Bowen’s all over the world, thank goodness. One of them is a tall, muscular man named Kenneth Wise, the 42 year-old son of two Chicago public school teachers. Kenneth owns and runs an apartment building on Chicago’s south side. While Kenneth is not a school teacher like Doug Bowen, he has taken a special interest in the well-being of the kids in his tough neighborhood, trying to keep them out of gangs and out of trouble.
This morning Kenneth is in critical condition in a Chicago hospital. His eleven-year-old son, Ashton, was shot in the head and killed Friday evening when someone approached their parked car and opened fire. Authorities believe that the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. “You have a young boy and his father, no affiliation with gangs whatsoever,” said a Chicago Police Superintendent.
Fortunately, Ken Wise will survive is injuries, but his soul will never completely heal. There is a better solution for poor kids in lousy urban neighborhoods. It is high time that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Mayor Daley and other past and present “community organizers” stop parading in street rallies decrying gangs and “gun crimes.” It is time that these elitist “activists” do what they know they should have done a long time ago; establish an educational voucher system. It is time to say NO to the members of Chicago’s teacher’s union, who put their own children in private schools while drawing nice salaries in poor-performing public schools. With the competition that educational vouchers would provide, we’ll get more Doug Bowen’s in the classrooms and more Ken Wise’s on the streets. While a responsive, cost-efficient, accountable K-12 education system isn’t the entire answer to crime, gangs, and violence, it is a large piece of the puzzle.