Monday, August 27, 2007

Educating America

America is often called the land of opportunity. We wish our children to be better off than we have been throughout our lives. This is a very noble goal and one that everyone should achieve. We are a land of great resources and have the world’s best innovators and yet we are unable to level the playing field and allow everyone the opportunity to succeed. The key to success and leveling the playing field is through education. Our high school dropouts rates are too high. According to the Editorial Projects in Education, nearly 1/3 of high school students will drop out. Just think about it; thirty three percent of high school students will drop out of high school. How are these people going to live the American dream? How are these people going to receive medical insurance? How are these people going to become productive members of society?

In order to overcome poverty our nation will have to reduce these rates. We will have to increase spending on education. John Edwards speaks of a divided America and of “two Americas”. There is one country that is rich and prosperous and another that is poor and downtrodden. We must ask ourselves what can be done to overcome poverty. We must address this very vital issue in a mature and rational manner. The issue has to be addressed through higher education and national service.

I found it interesting that all of the Democratic Presidential candidates talk about the need for education. They know education is a key to overcoming this disgraceful poverty in America. The problem is they do not have any well thought out plans. In the debate on 19 AUG 2007, all of the candidates addressed the issue of education. They spoke of funding pre-school and making kindergarten an all day affair. My question is how is this going to provide an opportunity, lower high school dropout rates, and level the playing field? The plan to increase funding for pre-school and all day kindergarten is a shortsighted view that does not address the issue. These plans are inherently doomed to failure. These plans will ultimately lead to a greater deterioration in the “Nuclear Family”. These plans focus on the front end of education. They sound good however they are fatally flawed. Placing our Nations future in school for an additional year will lead to an increase in High School dropout rates not fewer. Our K-12 education system would have to change curriculum in order to accommodate the higher education level of the youth or all will be lost. With the K-12 education system staying the same, our youths will be faced with similar decisions in High School that they are today. Children will be more apt to become frustrated and dropout rates will have a tendency to rise.

So what are we to do? My suggestion is to focus on the backside of our education system. Provide the poor and underprivileged with hope of a future. Provide the future of America with an opportunity to succeed. Provide all of American youth with an opportunity to excel by leveling the playing field. The US should provide every child with the opportunity to attend the college, university, trade school, or vocational school of their choice. Our politicians will need to establish guidelines and fully fund higher education for everyone with a need. This would be an expensive endeavor. However, the US could establish a public service corps. After attending the higher education source the recipients of taxpayer funding would be committed to serving in the public service corps. For every semester paid for by the taxpayer a recipient would owe 6 months of public service. This corps could be utilized to benefit society. The use of our most valuable resource would reduce the budget. We would be able to address issues through human resources rather than the almighty greenback.

By leveling the playing field and providing an opportunity for all, the young will be more apt to see a future in their lives and continue on with education. This would tend to lower our shameful dropout rates. A focus on the backside of the education issue will provide everyone with opportunity to succeed and excel.

A better educated American public will reduce poverty. It will help alleviate some of the health care crisis. Education will also provide additional resources to overcome issues related to law and order, environmental, and diplomatic relations. Educating America will push America forward. No one will be left behind. Please leave the short sighted plans at the door. The current presidential hopeful’s plans are designed to keep poor people poor and making the middle class poorer. The Democratic plans will create two classes of people: the ruling elite and the ruled labor. Let prosperity return to America and educate the public.

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