Annie's Mailbox: Pushing grads for a stronger future

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Dear Annie: It is a tragic fact that one in four young people in America does not graduate from high school. We are at risk of losing our leadership position in the global economy. But I am convinced that by working together we can change this situation.

Already, in some of the poorest performing schools in the nation, we are seeing signs of improvement. In some communities, graduation rates have increased 10 or more percent in just six years. These glimmers of hope inspire me, but the pace of progress is far too slow. We must act now.

We have launched Grad Nation, a 10-year campaign to see that 90 percent of students will graduate and obtain at least one year of education or training beyond high school.

I know we all want to do our part to keep America great. Success requires all of us — educators, business and civic leaders, policymakers, parents and students — to work together. Your readers can learn how to get involved at americaspromise.org. Our nation — and our children — are counting on it.

Sincerely — Marguerite W. Kondracke, President and CEO, America's Promise Alliance

Dear Marguerite Kondracke: Thank you for giving our readers a way to improve the opportunities for students within their communities. An educated child has a greater likelihood of being successful in life and contributing to the overall betterment of society. We cannot afford to let them down.

Dear Annie: My wife recently found out through a friend that her ex-husband remarried and didn't tell her. I commented that I didn't see anything wrong with that, and she was shocked at my response. She told me that if we divorced after 25 years, she would expect me to tell her if I got married again and she would do the same. She also said if we divorced and one of us were dying of some incurable disease, she would expect me to drop everything and take care of her, because she would do the same for me.

I told her that would depend on whether or not we were on speaking terms, but she said it is the least she would expect of me. Now she calls me a scumbag (jokingly, I hope). Am I missing something here?

— Scumbag

Dear Scumbag: It is a courtesy to inform an ex-spouse of a major change in one's life, but it is not a necessity unless they have children together. As for taking care of a sick or injured ex-spouse, it would depend entirely on whether the relationship is friendly, whether anyone else can care for the person and whether the healthy ex has remarried. It is most certainly not expected. We are going to assume your wife is simply a caring, compassionate woman, but ask her how she would feel if you rushed to the aid of an ex-wife (not her) who needed your ongoing care.

Dear Annie: I think you missed another option in your response to "Solicitous Spouse," whose wife has chosen her daughter's blind, incontinent dog over him.

My wife and I have been married for more than 40 years and are now on our fifth dog. We've loved our pets as much as our children, and have spent hundreds of dollars during the last few months of their lives to keep them going as long as possible.

However, in each case, there came a time when the dog had no more quality of life, and we reluctantly made the decision that it was time for the dog to be put down. This may be what needs to be done in this case. It is difficult and sad, but finding a new puppy as soon as possible helped ease the grief for us.

— J.

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