Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How To Change The Things That Matter

When I look at the things that matter the most to the quality of our lives, and the key issues that most directly effect whose side I prefer politically, I'm amazed that two things always repeatedly come up: economics and education. Economics comes up obviously because we all want better jobs, and want to punish those politicians who aren't doing a good enough job at helping us get them. Education comes up because everything about our society ties in to it, whether it be crime, money, stability, security... Nothing doesn't go south without good, quality education. And since education affects the economy, education is the more important of the two.

Yet what do we really know about these two key factors? If we want to change the things that matter, we must be more competent about these two things than anything else. But are we? Ask yourself: what's needed to give a child a quality education. No, I mean REALLY needed. Be specific. Phonics in grades K through 4? Algebra in grade 5 instead of 6? What is the ideal class size? 15? 20? 30? Is a central teacher-in-classroom model even effective? Or is perhaps a direct-tutoring model more efficient? Perhaps a more multi-faceted model is needed, where two or three teachers handle three levels of learning, depending upon a child's needs? Perhaps boarding schools, the one form of school which has proven effective for inner-city children, should be assigned across the board?

And how about economics? Will tax cuts for the rich really work? What kind of tax cuts? How big should a corporation get? At least some regulation is necessary - as we learned the hard way - but how far should rules of regulation go? What kinds of reforms would work? Why would they work? What measures would make it fail, and why would the failure take place?

When it comes down to it, we don't know jack. ALL of us! Even the smartest people know very little about the fundamentals of both education and economics. And yet poor quality, as well as poor quality of understanding, of both these topics is a sure-fire recipe for disaster for any civilization.

And where are the most radical changes happening right now? Yeah, you follow me. And you understand why we should be concerned. We're blind, at the helm, and have no clue where to steer clear of the rocks.

I certainly don't have all the answers. I don't know how exactly education should be reformed, nor have I yet worked all the kinks out of my synthesized economic model. But I know this much, and it's a reform that both political parties can agree to, and can be implemented right away. I hope everyone writes their legislators in support of this idea. And it is simply this:

Teach economics as a required course in high school!

Eric

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