27 March 2009

Graduating To Save Lives

The murder rate in the U.S. of part of A. averaged 16,979 killed per year in 2006-2007, placing the U.S at 24th in world rankings for this kind of violence.

Over the same two-year period, Puerto Rico registered an average of 733 murders a year. Its rankings were included within the U.S.

An average day in the U.S. of part of A. sees almost 47 murder victims added as statistics. In Puerto Rico, the average is slightly over 2. But, and some of you are way ahead of Me on this, the population "up there" is 75 times higher than Ours, which means that by equivalency, Our murder rate is 3 times higher than theirs.

(For you statehooders and math teachers out there, if Our population were 75 times larger--300 million instead of 4 million--Our murder rate would be over 150 killed a day, all other things being equal. 47 (the U.S. rate) X 3 is 141. You're welcome.)

Go back to the rankings, where the U.S. of part of A. is 24th. Multiply the rate there by 3. The answer is 0.128406. Where does that rank Puerto Rico?

Seventh. Seventh. In the freaking world.

Ahead of Estonia and just behind Mexico, which We may have caught in 2008.

I just threw up a little bit. Because, you see, We don't give a damn about this. At all.

Oh, We care when someone from "good people" gets gunned down, you know, middle- or upper class, preferably white. But when its in the projects or Our drug war streets, or some poor woman whose ex-husband or ex-boyfriend (too often a cop) decides he can't let the woman live because he "owns" her, well, We tut-tut and shake Our heads and then flip on the TV to see what celebrity is having plastic surgery or publicly fondling himself in a 767. (In first class, of course...)

We. Don't. Give. A. Damn. Because it isn't really "Us" getting killed, it's "them."

And that's why We are all too often idiots: We don't see the obvious. There is no "them" on an island. There's only Us.

Now let's offer a solution: The Education Equality Project has a link to a study reporting that a 10% increase in graduation rates can reduce murder rates by 20%. Note this isn't a 20% or 40% increase in graduation rates, a percentage that teachers would scream is unreasonable without having a fershlugging clue as to what it really means. It is but a mere 10% increase in graduation rate, an extra 2-3 kids per classroom...to help reduce the murder rate by 20%. 

In Puerto Rico We have a dropout rate of 50% or more, which means Our educational system is scraping the bottom of the industrial world's barrel. We have a murder rate that rivals open gangland warfare. Fixing one--just partially fixing the first--will go far in helping assuage the second.

More graduates. And some 140-150 fewer deaths a year. Let's ask the people here who think there's an "Us" and a "Them" if We should not do this, for after all, helping "them" is wrong, right?


The Jenius Has Spoken.


Anonymous said...

Once again, you are on point...

As an aspiring teacher, I feel like if I can help just one child to realize their potential and their power to do good instead of evil...

People have to take pride in themselves as individuals and as a nation.

Want t show Puerto Rican pride? Pride isn't parading up and down on Fifth Avenue in some slutty swimsuit on some Sunday in June. Pride is bettering yourself and trying to help those around you do the same.

GCSchmidt said...

Ramona, I agree with you 100% and I hope you can go as far in teaching as your highest ideals. We need your kind of passion to make a difference.

As for parading around the Puerto Rican Day parade in a slutty swimsuit, I believe it has nothing to do with patriotism, but I do believe it depends A LOT on who's wearing the swimsuit...you know, a size 16 in a size 5 bikini is just...ugh...