Tag Archives: Shane
The role of father’s in lives of America’s children has become so marginalized and so undervalued that it has created an epidemic of poverty that will take several generations to undo once we have the political will to finally admit that our ‘war on poverty‘ diagnosed the wrong problems and prescribed the wrong remedies.
The bipartisan 1996 welfare reform law that was heralded as the end of “big government” and a signature achievement of bipartisan cooperation in Washington was supposed to restrain the welfare state. It has not. While the immediate benefits put many welfare recipients back to work and off the dole and, in fact, were a huge success, Washington has lacked the political will to expand the efforts deeper into the welfare state where lasting change could have been achieved. And the consequence is that 80 other welfare programs remain largely intact and growing, now costing American taxpayers some $700B annually for means-tested programs.
The goal of welfare ought to be increase self-sufficiency. Ours has increased dependency. Since President Johnson crusaded in the mid 1960s, Federal spending on means-tested welfare programs has topped $20,000,000,000,000. That is a staggering sum, especially given that as stated by the US Census Bureau, 46 million Americans live in poverty. And the failure is real. When the war of poverty began, 14.7% Americans were living in poverty; $20 trillion later it has RISEN to 15%.
Why? Because we have systemically failed to address the root behavioral problems that lead to dependency in the first place. That is namely the literal obliteration of the American family. In fact, our programs have exacerbated them. Nearly 70% of people living in poverty are households headed by unwed parents. 70%! Nearly 40% of all American children today are born out of wedlock. 40%. That is 1.7 million children born annually to single mothers.
These are heartbreakingly staggering statistics. And we know marriage helps, as children in married households are 82% less likely to live in poverty. A survey by Princeton and Columbia shows that 56% of unmarried mothers will be poor, but just 17% would be poor if they married the father of their children. Men must be fathers and husbands. They must step up.
Additionally, the astonishingly high rate of unemployment means fewer jobs able for uneducated workers, increasing their dependency on welfare programs.
The war of poverty failed to address either of these issues – marriage and employment. In fact, many of these programs encourage recipients to be jobless and unwed – spirally a cycle of dependency.
The remedies are unequivocal. We must encourage strong marriages. We must restore the role of fathers in the lives of children. And we must focus the power of the government on creating an entrepreneurial climate where job creation is the primary focus and where work requirements are the key element of any welfare program.
We must act. Federal and state means-tested welfare spending is on pace to top $1.56 trillion in 2022. Reformers have their work cut out, but I am convinced that conservative leaders who care about the future of America must declare war on the war on poverty with a positive, proactive agenda that restores work requirements, cuts bureaucracy and regulations that ignites job growth and that aggressively communicates and protects that marriage.
Our nation’s future depends on us getting it right this time.
Note: This essay appeared in The Whitehall Ledger September 15, 2010.
This year marks the first time in three decades that Cardwell School opened without Sally Kreis in the classroom. As is customary with Sally, she left her classroom humbly without fanfare or accolades; but on the occasion of her retirement from teaching I want to tell you about the Sally Kreis that has helped shape my life.
Sally taught me in the 5th and 6th grade, but decades later rarely a week goes by that I don’t respond to something with, “Sally Kreis taught me that.” When people complement me after a speech, I can say, “Sally Kreis gave me the confidence to do that.” When someone remarks on the style of my penmanship my answer without fail is, “Sally Kreis made me write until I got it right.” When someone acknowledges my optimism, I say “it is because my life is filled with people like Sally Kreis.”
Sally is a teacher who goes beyond the basics and teaches by example how to live. Her gentle, yet firm, approach is to allow students to test the boundaries of their own independence and potential, while ensuring we never go too far beyond our abilities.
But when we do and when the cruelty of false invincibility robs us of the innocence of youth, Sally never judges. Sally builds. She helps us learn from the experience to mold and shape the future. Years after I left her classroom and was establishing my career, a tragic car accident of my own making took from me the life of a great friend and everything I had ever worked to achieve. In the darkest days of my life, Sally, in her quiet and gentle way, wrote me letter and sent me a copy of the poem If by Rudyard Kipling that years earlier she had encouraged me to recite from memory before the entire school. Back then, Sally used the exercise and the poignant words of one of the greatest of the classics poems to instill confidence in me. To paraphrase, the poem says “If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise….you will be a Man my son.”
As a boy, reciting those words changed my life. As a man, reading those words saved it. Sally always knows just what to say and do.
When the rawness faded and the political pile-on of the accident began, Sally refused to do the easy thing and walk away. She is loyal to the core of her being. Nearly a decade after that tragedy, Sally still marks every August 15th with a kind note of encouragement that reminds me that life can be, will be and is still meaningful in the wake of failure, loss and adversity. And she has been there at every joyful occasion in my life since then – completing a marathon, getting married, earning my MBA, becoming a company president and experiencing the birth of my children – with her presence or with a note as if to subtly nudge, “I told you so.” Every time I look into the eyes of my own children, I know once again that Sally is always right.
Our lives are really just fabric woven from the people and experiences that shape us. My fabric is stronger because of Sally Kreis. Sally may not be imparting knowledge in front of a chalkboard this year, but the lessons she has taught us, the confidence and values she has instilled in us and the example she has set for two generations of young people will help all of us privileged enough to have been in her classroom to in turn do our part to impact the lives of others for generations to come. That is a legacy worth acknowledging. Thank you, Sally.
Shane Hedges is the third generation of his family to have attended Cardwell School and now resides in Washington, DC with his wife and two children and is the president of the nation’s leading company for leadership education for high-achieving young people.
Mr. Shane M. Hedges is the immediate past president of a leading national educational company. The company aspires to educate, motivate, and inspire students around the world with its innovative and experiential educational curriculums. As President, Mr. Hedges was responsible for the development and growth of the company, in addition to ensuring that the company’s objectives are met. Shane Hedges manages a team of professionals who work to identify new opportunities for both the company and the students it serves.
Shane M. Hedges began his tenure as a Financial Analyst, but he was quickly promoted to Managing Director of Education for his firm. In this role, Shane Hedges was responsible for facilitating the growth and development of exciting new educational programs that meet the standards of the company’s best business practices. Earlier in his professional development, Shane Hedges worked in several industries, including consulting and politics. Mr. Hedges held a position as a Strategic Communications Consultant with Foley & Lardner, and he played a key role as the Chief Policy Director for the Governor of Montana
An alumnus of Washington, D.C.’s prestigious American University, Shane Hedges studied Communications, Economics and Government, and Law, earning his B.A. in 1996. Ten years later, Mr. Hedges received his M.B.A. from the University of Maryland.
Shane Hedges also enjoys helping people outside of his educational capacity and is involved in several charitable endeavors.
Currently residing in Washington, DC, Mr. Shane Hedges enjoys running, traveling, and reading in his spare time.
Mr. Shane Hedges has a history of being tenacious and hard working. Shane Hedges recently led the nation’s preeminent creator of leadership education programs for young people and is known for his diligence and for quickly working his way to the top.
While he was a student at American University in the early 1990s, Shane Hedges was an intern at the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF). Mr. Hedges started out as an intern, but after only a few months, Shane Hedges received an offer for a fulltime position as the Executive Assistant to the NYLF Executive Director. Shane Hedges accepted the new position, and he worked during the day and took classes at night, proving his dedication to both his career and his education.
Shane Hedges then became the Chief Policy Director for Montana’s first-ever female governor. After a stint working at the Montana governor’s office, Shane Hedges returned to the Washington, D.C. area and took on the role of Strategic Communications Consultant for Foley & Lardner consulting.
Before he was named President, Mr. Shane M. Hedges served as the innovative company’s Managing Director of Education. After more than five years as Managing Director of Education, Shane Hedges was promoted to President.
In addition to facilitating a quality education for thousands of participants, Shane Hedges gives generously to community charities. Aside from his duties and his charitable contributions, Shane Hedges spends his downtime traveling, listening to country and pop music, running, and spending time with his wife and children.