in
Navigation

The Need for Better Choices

Room for Much Improvement

There are few people today who would argue against the fact that moral values and proper personal conduct are on the decline in America. As reported in a recent Gallup poll, over 75% of Americans indicated they believe this to be true. They cited poor parenting, the questionable content of television programming, lots of influential information found on the internet, and an increasingly open attitude by young people toward sex and drugs to be some of the reasons.

Outlined below is a recap of some of the “situations in America” that we are facing today. Click on the tabs to read more about the facts and circumstances involved.

Academic Performance

Academic Performance

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN AMERICA IS DECLINING

It is a recognized fact that the academic performance of American students is in decline. 

In spite of doubling the average expenditures per student since 1970 (from $4,552 to $10,441), the U.S. has continued to fall relative to other countries when achievement levels are compared.  After many years of being near the top, the most recent Program for International Student Assessment Report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year olds in 34 countries, ranked the United States 14th in reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics. 

Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States, 25% of high school students fail to graduate on time and the U.S., which used to have some of the highest graduation rates of any developed country, now ranks 22nd out of 27 countries.

The unemployment rate for high school dropouts is 9.1% and those who do get jobs, make on average, $20,240 annually. This lower income leads to a greater need for government assistance and a higher rate of crime.

Poor academic performance doesn’t just affect the student, it also affects the community, and rarely is poor performance caused by lack of intelligence, but rather social and economic factors, such as, bullying, lack of civility, lack of proper parenting, poor nutrition, lack of motivation and most importantly, poor choice making. 

Use of Drugs/Alcohol

Use of Drugs/Alcohol

DRUGS/ALCOHOL - USAGE BY STUDENTS IS INCREASING

More than 24.6 million Americans age 12 and older use illegal drugs, according to the government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health

According to a study of 47,000 8th, 10th and 12th grade students performed by the University of Michigan for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana use increased in 2011 for the fourth straight year from 31% in 2007 to 36% in 2012. In addition, the report revealed that 47% of 12th graders use alcohol and almost 10% of them reported non-medical use of either Vicodin or OxyContin. 

With marijuana now being made legal in more and more states, it is likely that teenage use will rise. Therefore, teenagers and parents alike will need to develop even better understandings of the short and long range problems involved if they want to make "good choices" and prevent these difficulties in their life.

Bullying/School Violence

Bullying/School Violence

OUR SCHOOLS - NO LONGER A SAFE PLACE FOR OUR CHILDREN

Bullying Statistics reports that “bullying is a crime that is not going anywhere soon” and points out that there are about 160,000 students who miss school each day out of fear of being bullied.  They report that about 2.7 million students experience bullying at school each year. 

On a more serious note, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that during the 2009-10 school year, 85% of public schools recorded one or more incidents of violence, theft or other incidents resulting in over 1.9 million crimes.

According to a study released in January, 2014 by Brown University’s Alpert Medical School…children and teenagers who are assaulted at school account for nearly 90,000 emergency-room visits in the United States each year. 

Teenage Depression/Suicide

Teenage Depression/Suicide

MORE CHILDREN ARE DEPRESSED THAN EVER BEFORE

It is estimated that 15 to 20% of teenagers suffer from depression at any one time. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is now the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24- year olds.  According to Michelle J. New, PhD girls think about and attempt suicide about twice as often as boys, yet boys die  by suicide about four times as often as girls. 

Ginny Neuckranz, the President and Co-Founder of Erika’s Lighthouse, an educational organization in Winnetka, IL dedicated to raising awareness of adolescent depression and mental health for young people, characterized the situation this way: “If this were any other disease, it would be considered an epidemic.”

Smoking

Smoking

NO QUESTION, IT'S A KILLER

In spite of the fact that smokers die on average 13 to 14 years earlier than non-smokers and that smoking has proven to be a major cause of cancer, heart disease and lung disease, over 45 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. 

Smoking is responsible for over 480,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. 

Although known to be the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., almost 4,000 young people try smoking their first cigarette every day and about 1,000 of those go on to become daily smokers.  According to the CDC, 15.7% of teenagers smoke...down slightly, but E-cigarettes, whose health effects are unknown, are growing.

Sex/Unwed Mothers

Sex/Unwed Mothers

CHILDREN ARE NOT LEARNING SEXUAL RESPONSIBILITIES AS THEY SHOULD

Sexual activity is occurring at an earlier and earlier age with most recent studies revealing that over 50% of young people are sexually active by the age of 16. Current statistics provided by the CDC indicated that "34% of teens reported having sex in the past 90 days."  Worse yet, the CDC reported that 41% of those teenages indicated that they did not use a condom during intercourse.

Accompanying this trend is a significant increase in unwed mothers…from 5.2% of births in 1960 to 40.7% in 2012. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2012 there were 1,609,619 live births to unwed mothers in the U.S. plus an estimated 1,210,000 abortions that occurred in that same year. 

Obesity/Overweight

Obesity/Overweight

WE ARE GETTING FATTER...AND UNHEALTHIER

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, overweight and obese children are significant public health problems in the U.S. and the number of adolescents who are overweight has tripled since 1980. 

Being overweight during childhood increases the risk of developing high cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory ailments, depression and type 2 diabetes as a youth. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over two thirds of the U.S. population is either obese (35%) or overweight (42%).  Clearly, this is an area where "poor choices" are the primary reason why these conditions exist.

Lack of Exercise

Lack of Exercise

WE NEED TO WORKOUT MORE

Harvard Medical School reports that only 18% of us meet the weekly recommendations for cardiovascular activity. And, barely 5% of those interviewed said they engaged in vigorous activities like swimming, running, or strength training. 

A 22-year study released in 2014 by the Stanford University School of Medicine revealed a strong correlation between the rise in obesity and a striking drop in the amount of time that Americans spend exercising.  During the period from 1988 to 2011, researchers found that the percentage of women doing no exercise rose from 19% to 52% and men "doing nothing" rose from 11% to 43%.  During this same time, obesity increased from 25% to 35% in women and from 20% to 35% in men.

Exercise is the closest thing we have to “a magic bullet” against heart disease and stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, some types of cancer, depression, and a host of other ailments. The disconnect between the amount of physical activity we do and what we should do is unfortunate.  

Crime

Crime

OVER TEN MILLION BAD CHOICES EVERY YEAR

According to the FBI's national crime statistics, there were 1,200,000 violent crimes committed in the United States in 2012.  These violent crimes included murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

US crime statistics also report that property crimes totaled over 9,000,000 during the same time.  

In other words, these crimes represent well over 10,000,000 “bad choices” that not only hurt or damaged the victims, but, as we point out on this site, stole the perpetrators’ opportunity to live a full and meaningful life for themselves.

More people need to understand that there are much better ways to "get ahead in life" than by taking something that doesn't belong to them.

  • Academic Performance

    Academic Performance

    ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN AMERICA IS DECLINING

    It is a recognized fact that the academic performance of American students is in decline. 

    In spite of doubling the average expenditures per student since 1970 (from $4,552 to $10,441), the U.S. has continued to fall relative to other countries when achievement levels are compared.  After many years of being near the top, the most recent Program for International Student Assessment Report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year olds in 34 countries, ranked the United States 14th in reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics. 

    Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States, 25% of high school students fail to graduate on time and the U.S., which used to have some of the highest graduation rates of any developed country, now ranks 22nd out of 27 countries.

    The unemployment rate for high school dropouts is 9.1% and those who do get jobs, make on average, $20,240 annually. This lower income leads to a greater need for government assistance and a higher rate of crime.

    Poor academic performance doesn’t just affect the student, it also affects the community, and rarely is poor performance caused by lack of intelligence, but rather social and economic factors, such as, bullying, lack of civility, lack of proper parenting, poor nutrition, lack of motivation and most importantly, poor choice making. 

    Academic Performance
  • Use of Drugs/Alcohol

    Use of Drugs/Alcohol

    DRUGS/ALCOHOL - USAGE BY STUDENTS IS INCREASING

    More than 24.6 million Americans age 12 and older use illegal drugs, according to the government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health

    According to a study of 47,000 8th, 10th and 12th grade students performed by the University of Michigan for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana use increased in 2011 for the fourth straight year from 31% in 2007 to 36% in 2012. In addition, the report revealed that 47% of 12th graders use alcohol and almost 10% of them reported non-medical use of either Vicodin or OxyContin. 

    With marijuana now being made legal in more and more states, it is likely that teenage use will rise. Therefore, teenagers and parents alike will need to develop even better understandings of the short and long range problems involved if they want to make "good choices" and prevent these difficulties in their life.

    Use of Drugs/Alcohol
  • Bullying/School Violence

    Bullying/School Violence

    OUR SCHOOLS - NO LONGER A SAFE PLACE FOR OUR CHILDREN

    Bullying Statistics reports that “bullying is a crime that is not going anywhere soon” and points out that there are about 160,000 students who miss school each day out of fear of being bullied.  They report that about 2.7 million students experience bullying at school each year. 

    On a more serious note, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that during the 2009-10 school year, 85% of public schools recorded one or more incidents of violence, theft or other incidents resulting in over 1.9 million crimes.

    According to a study released in January, 2014 by Brown University’s Alpert Medical School…children and teenagers who are assaulted at school account for nearly 90,000 emergency-room visits in the United States each year. 

    Bullying/School Violence
  • Teenage Depression/Suicide

    Teenage Depression/Suicide

    MORE CHILDREN ARE DEPRESSED THAN EVER BEFORE

    It is estimated that 15 to 20% of teenagers suffer from depression at any one time. 

    According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is now the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24- year olds.  According to Michelle J. New, PhD girls think about and attempt suicide about twice as often as boys, yet boys die  by suicide about four times as often as girls. 

    Ginny Neuckranz, the President and Co-Founder of Erika’s Lighthouse, an educational organization in Winnetka, IL dedicated to raising awareness of adolescent depression and mental health for young people, characterized the situation this way: “If this were any other disease, it would be considered an epidemic.”

    Teenage Depression/Suicide
  • Smoking

    Smoking

    NO QUESTION, IT'S A KILLER

    In spite of the fact that smokers die on average 13 to 14 years earlier than non-smokers and that smoking has proven to be a major cause of cancer, heart disease and lung disease, over 45 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. 

    Smoking is responsible for over 480,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. 

    Although known to be the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., almost 4,000 young people try smoking their first cigarette every day and about 1,000 of those go on to become daily smokers.  According to the CDC, 15.7% of teenagers smoke...down slightly, but E-cigarettes, whose health effects are unknown, are growing.

    Smoking
  • Sex/Unwed Mothers

    Sex/Unwed Mothers

    CHILDREN ARE NOT LEARNING SEXUAL RESPONSIBILITIES AS THEY SHOULD

    Sexual activity is occurring at an earlier and earlier age with most recent studies revealing that over 50% of young people are sexually active by the age of 16. Current statistics provided by the CDC indicated that "34% of teens reported having sex in the past 90 days."  Worse yet, the CDC reported that 41% of those teenages indicated that they did not use a condom during intercourse.

    Accompanying this trend is a significant increase in unwed mothers…from 5.2% of births in 1960 to 40.7% in 2012. 

    According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2012 there were 1,609,619 live births to unwed mothers in the U.S. plus an estimated 1,210,000 abortions that occurred in that same year. 

    Sex/Unwed Mothers
  • Obesity/Overweight

    Obesity/Overweight

    WE ARE GETTING FATTER...AND UNHEALTHIER

    According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, overweight and obese children are significant public health problems in the U.S. and the number of adolescents who are overweight has tripled since 1980. 

    Being overweight during childhood increases the risk of developing high cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory ailments, depression and type 2 diabetes as a youth. 

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over two thirds of the U.S. population is either obese (35%) or overweight (42%).  Clearly, this is an area where "poor choices" are the primary reason why these conditions exist.

    Obesity/Overweight
  • Lack of Exercise

    Lack of Exercise

    WE NEED TO WORKOUT MORE

    Harvard Medical School reports that only 18% of us meet the weekly recommendations for cardiovascular activity. And, barely 5% of those interviewed said they engaged in vigorous activities like swimming, running, or strength training. 

    A 22-year study released in 2014 by the Stanford University School of Medicine revealed a strong correlation between the rise in obesity and a striking drop in the amount of time that Americans spend exercising.  During the period from 1988 to 2011, researchers found that the percentage of women doing no exercise rose from 19% to 52% and men "doing nothing" rose from 11% to 43%.  During this same time, obesity increased from 25% to 35% in women and from 20% to 35% in men.

    Exercise is the closest thing we have to “a magic bullet” against heart disease and stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, some types of cancer, depression, and a host of other ailments. The disconnect between the amount of physical activity we do and what we should do is unfortunate.  

    Lack of Exercise
  • Crime

    Crime

    OVER TEN MILLION BAD CHOICES EVERY YEAR

    According to the FBI's national crime statistics, there were 1,200,000 violent crimes committed in the United States in 2012.  These violent crimes included murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

    US crime statistics also report that property crimes totaled over 9,000,000 during the same time.  

    In other words, these crimes represent well over 10,000,000 “bad choices” that not only hurt or damaged the victims, but, as we point out on this site, stole the perpetrators’ opportunity to live a full and meaningful life for themselves.

    More people need to understand that there are much better ways to "get ahead in life" than by taking something that doesn't belong to them.

    Crime
It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what is required. Winston Churchill