The excellent commentary in the Dec. 12 Frederick News-Post, “Whose problem is it, anyway,” by Fred Ugast, focuses on the plight of 595 homeless children in our school system as a stark reminder of the fallout of a lack of a long-term approach to our social ills.

Many organizations have been focusing on this fallout after lives have already been severely damaged. We do need to continue providing for this short-term emergency help. However, we need to consider the root causes of these social ills if we are to break the cycle.

More education in “life skills” may be one approach to consider. At the present time, in grades K through 9, the Frederick County Public School System curriculum has mandatory specific health classes and physical education classes. These encompass the “life skills” such as proper use of medications and risks of illicit drug use, appropriate and positive family and peer relationships, financial planning, responsibility to the community as a good citizen, and other skills that all help one navigate life’s challenges.

Unfortunately, these specific, mandatory, standalone classes are not mandatory after 9th grade (no Maryland state requirement). Some have indicated that all of these important “life skills” beyond 9th grade are being incorporated into the academic classes — English, math, physics, etc. This patchwork approach does not permit enough time, nor teachers qualified to teach both subject matters.

Generally, Advanced Placement courses that affect the admission to better colleges have been completed early in high school, and many students have completed most classes required for graduation before the twelfth grade. Therefore, there would be time for more mandatory classes that would be beneficial to those of all academic achievement levels.

The outpouring of aid in response to the 595 homeless children indicates a willingness of many people to help. Many of these people would support implementations of long-term solutions if there were some organized way they could contribute.

The Frederick community should seriously consider how to address the root causes of these problems. “An Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure” — Ben Franklin.

Tom Werner


(13) comments


When the AP kids help out the homeless kids, our society will benefit.


For some life skills are brushing your teeth and combing your hair. Counting and sorting are goals they will never achieve.


AP classes aren't for everyone. Perhaps our social structure is getting too complicated for all members of society to participate. That leaves people with poorer communication and socials skills standing on the outside. But education alone won't change this because some people are already functioning at the highest level they are capable. We either need to change the social structure to incorporate lower functioning people inclusively or we need to accept there will always be people who can't make it in this social structure and we need to provide for them.


We need a vaccine to prevent disability and aging.


Not one mention of parenting, personal responsibility, or life choices.


Oh you're the expert on that!


President8444 and diddugmd are the same person......[thumbdown][ban]


The most effective means of poverty prevention is better access to free abortions in poorer communities. Poor women should be encouraged to receive free first trimester abortions, late term abortions and even post birth abortions. Abortions are the answer.


I think we are looking for a less misogynistic approach.


Suggesting euthanizing American babies because US capitalists and politicians cannot craft an effective strategy to compete globally is evidence of someone harboring irreversible moral decay.


EGO problem, notice the HAT.


TOM did not see any problem from you with the billions Obama and Kerry give to foreign countries to be used for these people. Well why not TOM write it do something for them TOM go to the white house with many homeless and stay in front of the white house with a banner for these not foreign nations,do it TOM not just write.[thumbup]You won't ,but continue to write.


Mr. 1% again.

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