Vol. 9, No. 14
April 5-11, 2001
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‘C’ is for Chump, ‘D’ for Dope and ‘F’ for Flippin’ Burgers

Dear High Schoolers:

We've read the collective report card for Anne Arundel high schools.

That sobering news was in the task force report showing that nearly 7,000 of you couldn't manage a C average last semester.

That's lame. It was amazing to us for several reasons. One reason has to do with the flow of information and knowledge that can be turned on with a finger thanks to the Internet. You can do in 10 seconds what it took us hours to achieve at the library trudging back and forth between card catalogues and stacks of books.

Still, we don't think you're entirely to blame. Sometimes, it seems like we're being bombarded with too much information. There's television and radio squawking at us, newspapers and magazines everywhere and people of all ages yacking about how the world works.

It can be confusing. Why not just float along, have some fun and not get worked up? Being a rebel is cool, right?

We think so, honestly, and that's the message of this letter. The next few years will determine if you have the luxury of being rebellious in the coming years - or whether you will be locked in a job that just might feel like a rubber sack over your head. Put another way, you will decide between now and age 21 or 22 how much freedom you will have for the rest of your life.

There's an important fact or two that you need to understand. We are living now in a global economy much different than when your parents were your age. To put it bluntly, we don't make much stuff here in our country anymore. Used to be, we made clothing and shoes and lamps and knick-knacks and steel for our buildings and cars.

Over the years, unions fought to win good wages for the people who made all that stuff. And to get those jobs, you didn't have to have good grades or a college education.

These days, much of that material comes from Asia and Central America where people work for almost nothing. Check where your shoes came from. Walk through the mall and see how long it takes you to find a label that says "Made in the U.S.A." Every year, the United States sends about $450 billion to China, Malaysia and other lands. It's called a trade deficit, and if it continues, our standard of living will decline by the same proportion that life improves in those foreign lands.

Right now, you are in competition for good-paying manufacturing and high-tech jobs with high school kids in India, Thailand and Brazil. And judging by the task force report showing your grades to the world, you are getting whipped.

But you still have more of one commodity than teens anywhere in the world: opportunity. Unfortunately, bad grades don't only make you ineligible for sports and school clubs. They stifle your future and limit your freedom.

But hey, delivering pizzas at 30 might be fun.

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly