The goal is to get 70 percent of the K-3 group to sign up and about half of them to secure matching sponsors. DeKalb may be a small county but the people there think big.
Will this help to turn around what is rapidly becoming a national malaise? Beats me. But DeKalb has a couple of ticks on the plus side of the ledger. First, the community leadership didn’t begin by asking a governmental agency to fund this. They are going directly to individuals, schools, not-for-profits and employers to help with moral and financial support. They hope to raise $900,000 in private funds to extend the program through high school.
Second, a lot of folks there appear willing to help push this program. That is a characteristic of DeKalb County, a county I have neither lived in nor worked in but follow its activities closely as examples of grassroots enterprise. Contrast this approach to the crony capitalist, big project, taxpayer-funded overreach practiced by several Indiana cities I won’t name here.
Clearly DeKalb is playing the long game by concentrating first at the youngest ages. These children are still impressionable and solving a generational problem will take at least a generation to solve. You have to start somewhere.
But this 1950s throwback wishes the folks in DeKalb could have worked the term “American dream” into their title. But that’s just the curmudgeon in me showing through.