SIMMONS: Government’s not the ‘village’

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Ms. Bethune summed the prospects up this way: “[W]hat gets poured into them or not poured into them determines the direction they take.”

She suggested simple things, such as, “Make them read.” She also urged families to return to what she rightly called “old standards.”

Relabeling them “traditional values” is OK. “Family values” works, too.

But whatever you rename them, don’t think “it takes a village to raise a child.”

The liberals, socialists, Hillary Rodham Clinton and many, many others have twisted the proverbial context to mean “it takes a government entity or government program to raise a child.”

That’s so unfortunate. The true meaning of “it takes a village” refers to a child’s biological family, his and his family’s true friends and the elders of his community.

Colin L. Powell, who stood alongside Mr. Obama on Monday at the dropout announcement, has, with his wife, Alma, invested much time and humanitarian stock in battling the nation’s dropout problem, and much of their work is channeled through America’s Promise. Much of the media coverage of the event focused on the numbers and the group’s goal to ensure that 90 percent of today’s fourth-graders graduate on time (compared with the current 70 percent). But it was Mr. Powell’s admonishment, if you will, that was striking. His characterization was “moral” imperative.

How right he is.

c Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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