Four years ago, I wrote about Mayor Bloomberg’s Opportunities plan, which was modeled after Mexico’s Oportunidades program.
For those that don’t remember, here’s a quick primer.
Mayor Mike and a bunch of his very rich cronies put a lot of moolah ($14 million) into a pot and doled it out to low-income families as an incentive to be better parents. You know, things like take the children to the dentist, show up at school events, and basically do what parents should be doing from the get-go — without the incentive of free money.
Last April, after seeing a report on 1010 WINS which stated that the program’s results were not very promising, I wrote about it again.
In that report, I learned that the target group hadn’t become better parents — even though they now had a checking account and, indeed, took their children to the dentist more often.
But I guess they needed that checking account and dentist visits a little more, because now there was much more to spend on Gummy Bears. See what money does? A checking account and cavities.
It’s four years down the road, and after the original plan puffed out with mixed results, you would think the head numb-nut running this comedy show would have the brains to just say “Okay it failed — let’s cut the line and let the fish go.”
But no. The powers that be have no more brains today than before. I just read in the NY Post, (Aug. 26, “Parenting ‘bribe’ twist”) that the program is going to get another go — only this time it will be tried 2,300 families in the Bronx. And get this — this time around the money isn’t contributed from millionaires. No siree Bob. It’s federally funded from good ol’ Uncle Sam to the tune of — wait for it — $23 million. You heard it right, $23 million federal dollars. And worse — hold on to your seat — it’s aimed at parents with high school children.
Do we all see the problem with this? If it didn’t work with kids in grade school, what makes these morons (I’m sorry, but I call them as I see them) think it’ll work better with teenagers? I have a teenager — you can’t make them do squat. If they don’t want to go to school, do homework, go to the doctor or the dentist, whatever, you can scream until your throat is sore, your face turns purple, (believe me I’ve been there) and you fall on the floor.
They’ll just walk right over you and go on about their business as usual. If Mayor Mike thinks that a few bucks is going to stop that — well I just want to know what meds he is on.
So to recap — the federal government is going to fork over 23 million bucks towards a program, that at best, is mediocre, and they expect it to work on teenagers.
Not for Nuthin™, but shouldn’t opportunity only knock once? Maybe it’s time that Uncle Sam shut the door on Oportunidades once and for all.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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