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FLEXO Magazine : February 2010
54 FLEXO FEBRUARY 2010 www.flexography.org Contact the Flexographic Technical Association or your local school district to find out how you can make a difference. The Silent Disease, as aptly named by Dr. Tony Zeiss, president of Central Piedmont Community College, is not releasing its grip on society. The Silent Disease is the inexcusable, unacceptable, un- necessary high school dropout rate in the greatest country in the world. We can blame it on teenage parents, single mom parents, illiterate parents, drug addicted parents, alcoholic parents, children who spend more time thinking about hunger than about math---you name it. There is a "good reason" 1.2 million kids each year who are "undereducated," destined for menial jobs, crime, incarceration, the warmth and comfort of a jail cell. Simply blaming someone will not solve this problem. Point- ing fingers will not solve this problem. There are about 25,000 per year in North Caroline and 28,000 per year in South Caro- lina. Other states are either a little better or a little worse. The Silent Disease impacts all of us, not just the individual or the illiterate family. Regardless of who we blame, we must strive to eradicate this disease from coast to coast. Educa- tion is expensive, but the alternative---more prisons and jail cells---is even more expensive. And like it or not, imprison- ment costs you, the taxpayer, more than a good education for every child. Sixty-five percent of those in American prisons are high school dropouts. What can we do? Good question? Are we responsible for all the dropouts? Are we our brother's keeper? Why should we worry? Because it is not only the least expensive approach, it is the right thing to do. Get involved with your school. See what you can do to help. Offer your time, your money, your expertise. There is so much more we could say about this repulsive sub- ject, but I think you get the message. We need to show these youngsters that we do care about them and we want to person- ally help them become responsible, productive, happy citizens. One more point, a teacher in the first or second grade can now virtually determine which kids will drop out of high school. If it is that obvious, then you can bet that together we can help. Please spread the word. We need to educate all kids, even those with little hope... and we must do that for the sake of our society, our future and for America. The Silent Disease is not going to just disappear. We must take action to cause change---and we must do it now! The Silent Disease By Ron Harper PLANTS & PROCESSES