Friday, October 28, 2011

Scenes from South Florida

I caught sight of these guys at the Boca Tri-Rail station... Kind of cool!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Occupy Education

So I have been hearing all this news around Occupy Wall Street, and I'm a little disturbed. I understand that people are angry, that they are frustrated and everyone has a right to freedom of speech and to peacefully protest. But I think the best way to make a stand is to ONLY support local business. So I hope everyone there only shops with local farmers and avoids big box stores (so no Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Publix, Etc.) that will make a much stronger point.

But what I am more disturbed by is that no one gives a fuck about education. Seriously! The educational system is so clearly broken, kids are graduating with NO real skills, but nobody cares. They don't care that we aren't even in the top ten in terms of education worldwide. They don't care that every kid learns differently, but they are expected to perform well on a standardized test every year.

Maybe it's because we didn't experience that when we were in school. But seeing how kids are learning, at least here in Miami, I'm disturbed. I don't want my kids to be taught to a test (when I have them.) Even within my family, my brother, sister and I all learned differently, and we were raised the same way and went to the same schools.

Just a thought, but maybe if we were teaching kids financial skills and life skills at a young age, then they would graduate and understand that signing an adjustable mortgage rate for $500k on a house when they make $32k with three kids is a stupid fucking idea. Maybe then you would see people making educated decisions on what they spend their money on, and what kind of debt they take on.

Maybe then you would have people graduate and start their own businesses and thrive in the community. Kids are all driven to go to college and graduate - half of which with useless degrees that don't get them anywhere. But not every kid needs to go to college. We still need skilled workers like electricians, plumbers, etc. Those people could easily graduate, go into a trade school, and eventually start their own businesses. But they need to be encouraged to do those things.

Every kid should know how to manage a budget before they graduate high school. They should know the differences between different types of loans. They should understand basic financial literacy and know how to save and invest their money. This isn't happening.

We need to also invest in schools not doing so well and support our teachers. You have these stupid fucking tests that end up giving schools grades. Failing schools don't get support and the teachers are punished, but the good schools are continually rewarded. I say let's take a note from the NFL here. What do they do when a team has the worst record? They get first pick. Maybe if we give better salaries to teachers who are willing to go into schools in the hood, and you give them the resources and you give the kids support in terms of guidance counselors, variety of classes, etc. then those schools will start to come up.

I'm not saying we should cut off funding for the good schools, but I am saying we need to reinvest. If you have a school that doesn't do well and teachers know they won't get paid well, what's the incentive?

As it is teachers are barely paid anything, and then they have to beg parents and spend money out of their own pockets just to get basic resources in their classrooms. And I'm not talking about computers, I'm talking about paper towels and printer ink. How sad is that? Meanwhile, postal workers and getting paid much more just to put mail in a box (and in my neighborhood, they can't even get that right.)

Why do we expect things to improve and get better when we don't even support the learning system our kids are in? We are not investing in the future? When will people realize that things will only continue to spiral downwards if we don't make changes where it counts, and that's with our future generation of business owners, politicians and educators. If you want change, make change where it counts.