The Possible Decrease of Poverty

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There are many solutions to a problem.  It just it seems to me that my idea seems sound, not just by me being biased that it is me, but I see the evidence of it around me where I live.  Poverty is a problem, and when people are faced with survival, they will break the law in order to get the things they need in order to survive.  This is not the case with all crime, but a large portion, it is the case.  I firmly believe that with the money that this country has, there should absolutely be no person living on the streets.  Not only should one consider the entire budget of The United States, but consider as well the printing power that this country has.  People don’t like the idea of paying for someone else to live; they would rather have their tax money go towards other things, especially considering how little reading people do on poverty.  People figure that you can just take things into your own hands, and just get out of poverty.  Since the majority of people in poverty stay in poverty, they are perceived to deserve to be there because they do not have the ability to get out.  The whole premise of our economy, our philosophy of it, is that people with more ability should be paid more.  So if people don’t have the ability to get out of poverty, then they should stay there.

But I just argue it is the decent thing to do, and we have the money to do it.  People don’t trust the government, as they should, but I think this would be a key point to use the power of the government.  Church’s do wonderful work, but they don’t have the capital to do what I am proposing needs to be done.  Private charities I just do not trust for the life of me.  The profit incentive is just too much with those organizations, and exploit their message to make more money for themselves at the expense of the people they were paid to help.  This is why I think the government is the only entity that can really pull this off on a national level.

I have found a basic relationship where I live.  There are extremes in income levels throughout the city and county.  What I have found, is that the neighborhoods seem to be in conditions accordance with different schools, and the better the schools create better neighborhoods.  It’s a symbiotic relationship.  Meaning, both entities influence one another in either a positive or negative way.  Considering that most schools, not all, are funded by property taxes, it makes sense that better schools create better neighborhoods and vise versa.  However, it is in my belief, that with this system comes a feedback loop in either the positive or negative way.

In regards to a positive feedback loop, good academic performance creates good test scores, good funding, and good advertisement for the school.  It puts the district or neighborhood in demand.  Raising prices, which increases funding for the school.  There is even a district where I live, that actually volunteered to raise prices for the school district.  The community recognizes the strength of education, and wants good education for their families.

On the negative side of things, poor test scores or academic performance, lowers the demand of the district in general.  This decreases the price of the real estate in the area.  With less money being funded to the schools, cuts have to be made, making learning conditions worse for the students, increasing the likelihood of poor test scores.  This makes property values go down, which further impacts the school.

There are other variables that impact property values.  The big one for me that comes to mind is crime.  The problem is crime would be alleviated if people were more educated, because they would decrease some if not most of poverty, by creating people that can land higher paying jobs, which again would decrease crime.  It’s all interconnected.

In short, by increasing the quality of education in all areas, people would be prepared to not only make better decisions, but to go to college, get a degree, and land a higher paying job.  This would create better communities to be apart of.

What is this idea?

It’s really basic.  I think what makes the most sense, if you the reader, were to read my posts on government debt, to print the money required to fund schools in need, and schools that are the center of poverty.  The funds would initially be used to modernize the facilities of the school.  Good electrical, plumping, good gyms, technological science labs, I mean the works.  There would also be money allocated, to hire better quality teachers.  Hopefully there would be enough funds available, to try and keep class size low.  With better facilities, and better teaching staff, it is up to the staff to provide favorable test scores.  I will note, that I think it would be better to teach multiple subjects, rather than just a test.  If you were to teach the kids well, the ACT or SAT would be just another test to study for.  To take the entire year to teach this test, you rob the student’s potential of learning important aspects of our world and society.

Tax payers are going to want the money to be paid back.  Essentially the school should be run like a business.  If a teacher is under performing, make warnings, but then don’t be afraid to fire.  All expenses, including the salaries of administration, should be termed “expenses.”  The profits are then sent back to the government to be paid back in full over time.  The incentive to pay back the government at a decent rate, is to have that money paid back into the school.  Once the government is paid back, (yes there will be instances where schools will fail and should be learned from) the government can take a database of statistics on the program, and ultimately can be used to learn how to attack the issue of poverty further.

It’s a really basic idea, founded upon a basic relationship I have found in my community.  At the very least, I would hope this idea could start a conversation on how to infuse government capital into education.  We spend trillions of dollars for wars, yet we refuse to educate our own people.  And honestly, I think that it is intentional.  As a Rockefellar was caught saying, “I want a nation of workers, not thinkers.”

The only thing we can really do, is express our voice to the people in power.  Honestly, I have lost hope there, but I am going to write to my representatives about this issue.  Ultimately I think what gets a voice in Washington is money, but at least I will have the ease of mind knowing I did what I could to bring an idea that I have to fruition for America.

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Further Evidence of the Failure of the Public School System

I just recently read a short article in Scientific American that is making me feel more concerned about the state of our educational system.  A venture capitalist wrote the article, and he focuses on educational projects for the firm.  Essentially, data is showing more and more immigrants are getting higher percentage of bachelors, masters, and doctorates.  In many cases these foreign students fly back to their home country, because there is better opportunity for them there than in the states.  First, the private sector is not hiring, and if they are, a masters will lead the life most are looking for.  The amount of people with college degrees working a minimum wage job has increased, and the average amount of money one can earn with a college degree has decreased.  It seems that if a person commits to going to college, they must commit to getting a masters.  So why are all these foreign students consuming a larger portion of the degree pie?  It is simple.  The public school system of the United States are not preparing students for college level work.  Considering the numbers involved, it is apparent that it is a systemic failure rather than the students’.  Sure there are students that put their failure in their own hands, but the drastic changes in the numbers can allow for the assumption that there are systemic issues at play.

There are multiple ways in which we could reform our education.  A TED talk that I will never forget, talked about the fundamental changes we should make towards education.  The first that comes to mind was recognizing how a certain child learns.  Do they learn best in a group, or by themselves?  If the child interacts in a group, how big of a group does the child learn best?  Teachers should be tailored and trained to identify, and it may just require asking some questions, on how the child responded to a given activity.  Eventually, activities would be tailored to how the children learn best.  I would of been the loner.  I would of loved to be able to pick from a collection of books which one to read, and then to just sit at a desk and read.  When it came to science and math, they were my strong suits but I needed a teacher to explain key concepts that other ideas were founded upon.  Excellent teachers are priceless, and I think we should put into place incentives for teachers to have their students perform better on exams.  If their students are performing well, then they systematically get a raise in pay.  If the performance of students are declining over time, then pay should be removed.  This idea was expressed in the Washington D.C. city schools, and the teacher lobby voted against it.  A lot of the teachers don’t teach anything if at all, while students are in the back smoking crack or weed.  The teachers are there to earn money and do nothing, while the students burn their time with drugs and gangs.

Those schools we need to help the most.  Their community doesn’t have the tax revenue to provide for good community schools.  And, where there is bad schools, there is bad neighborhoods and crime.  Simply, if a student drops out or figures there is no point into trying in school because their school performs so poorly, then they will resort to living on the streets.  And in order to survive, people turn to crime.  It is a vicious cycle.  The poor performing schools don’t have the financial resources to improve their facilities and faculty, and more students end their educational journey.  They don’t work a high paying job.  So therefore there isn’t substantial tax money to help the school out.  And so people continue getting in trouble and populate our prison systems.  It costs about $44,000 a year to sustain an inmate.  I think it is money worth spending to decrease the amount of people we have to sustain at a given time in the prison system.  That is a solid investment.  But that means helping some very poor people.  And frankly many American’s don’t like it, especially after the Welfare system.  The Welfare system was a fluke, but that just means that methodology didn’t work.  I firmly believe there are solutions out there that would benefit the poorest of schools into making them a thriving institution.  We would have to monitor the schools like an investment, and figure out where more money should be spent or saved.  There should be reforms on how teachers get paid, as well as administrators.  Schools should embrace technology and promote the usage of it.  Finally, schools should have a set plan to eventually seeing their students reach the goal of college and beyond.

Recently there has been a new curriculum pushed to some public schools across the country for grades K-12.  It provides a full plan on how to get students ready for the college scene.  I honestly think there should be a core curriculum required by all schools to follow, so that the public education system is in touch with higher education.  There is a danger to this methodology however.  Putting forth federal regulations on what people should know – if under the wrong hands – will create an educational system that is used as a barrier to revolution of an oppressive government.  Honestly though, I find no alternative in getting our schools out of such a dire spot.  I think tax money needs to be poured into education with nation wide reform.  I think better schools would be a stepping stone to ridding this country of poverty.  With a decrease in poverty, there would be a decrease in crime, which is money saved for everyone on many levels.  Plus, there would be more tax paying citizens, providing funds to not only the government but consuming goods and services.

Currently Washington is battling healthcare.  That is a battle that needs to be fought.  But I hope after things stabilize a leader will take aim for education.  We should be investing in ourselves, not dishing out our knowledge to other countries.  Better education not only produces revenue, but decreases the costs of crime and dependency.  Finally, it fights poverty.  It is just a humane thing to do to try and deter this problem of poverty.  The current welfare system doesn’t work.  We all know this, and we all should learn from it.  But that doesn’t mean we should give up!  If we could provide transitional housing for people on the streets to either further educate/certify themselves, or for aid in finding work, we should provide it.  It is a good thing to do for a fellow human being, and it benefits society as a whole.

With that said, it is apparent that our educational system is failing us.  I just hope enough people care to reform our public school system.