A Modest Proposal to the Powers That Be

There is nothing worse than complaining about a situation and not offering at least something resembling a workable solution to the problem. If I had any power to change the current state of things, which I don’t, which is probably a good thing, this is what I would do.

Massive Public Education Investment

No person who gets a degree in education and wants to teach, should be looking for work. Create more schools, enhance the existing schools. Invest in education so there are more academic jobs available. I do work at a university but I am not a teacher so this is only a partially self-serving request.

No one should have to be in a classroom with more than 20 students, in any of the lower grades. If a kid has a learning or behavioral issue, there is no faster way to make it flair up than to stick the kid in a room with 30-40 other kids. Even normal kids can’t deal with that compression. Think about it. Could you thrive in those conditions? I couldn’t.

Acknowledge that children are evolving and not every child is the same, nor can they learn the same way. Create more inclusive programs in the local public schools for gifted as well as those who learn better through art, music, hands-on, and physically. Throw the term, “special needs” out of the window. Every child has special needs. Create learning tracks that can be tailored for each kid. Leverage technology to create a more flexible curriculum.

Implement a 9 hour school day. Har, har – I know. Don’t hit me. But, instead of having the kiddos out and about causing mischief after school, channel them into intellectual or physical activities. Take more time to review concepts. Bring subjects like art and music back into the classroom. Provide more opportunity for physical activity several times during the day and time to eat lunch and digest. Provide classes in practical knowledge like cooking, personal budget, gardening, and sewing. Work on special projects like film making or theater. Have kids interact with their communities and volunteer. Create a more holistic education that is focused on how to live in harmony with your environment and world, how to be a responsible citizen. I’m sure every teacher is cringing but if there were more teachers to share the burden of longer days (I work 9 hour days, all year long, btw), and smaller classes, this might not be so horrible. School should be fun – for everyone. No one has fun when there is too much to do, in too little time.

No more summer vacation. I asked the Pumpkin if she would be upset without a summer vacation and she said no. It would be much better to spread out what she has to learn over 11 months instead of 9. It would be better to have more long weekends, spread throughout the year, since she likely needs breaks more often, but not an entire summer of sloth.

Create a national paid mentor program so professionals can spend time in their local schools, sharing their knowledge, giving back, and inspiring. Connect businesses to the community.

Create a national college student co-op program. No one should graduate college without practical experience. An added bonus is that students can find out if they are really cut out for their given career choices and make changes in their plans while they still have flexibility.

Our public education system needs a bailout worse than the banks. For those who think they shouldn’t have to invest in the future of the country because they didn’t breed, who do you think is going to take care of you when you’re older? Don’t you want them to do a good job?

Abolish Unreasonable Late Fees

If you’re financially struggling, late fees don’t help. Seriously. It’s like hitting someone over the head with a baseball bat if they fall behind in a race. Like, we see you struggling, let’s make it worse! Yay! Instead of late fees, they can call and email you hourly until it’s paid, which is very irritating and will get people to pay faster than just silently applying fees. Accounts that have fallen behind should be frozen until current so people don’t get in worst shape. I bet there are a lot of other creative ways to get people to pay, but late fees are counter-productive.

Cap Interest Rates

No one should be allowed to collect more than 20% in interest. What’s worse, is that people who are struggling are often the ones who pay the highest rates. If I was a lender who identified someone as a high-risk borrower, I would do everything to help them pay back the debt as fast as possible, not make it worse so they default. You want to get rid of the liability like a hot potato and get as much money back as possible. Getting back some money, at least the original sum lent out, is better than not getting anything back when people declare bankruptcy.

Government Sponsored Reproductive Healthcare

No more unwanted children. No more children having children. Kids are a huge responsibility. If you can care for a litter of offspring, more power to you. But if you can’t afford, or don’t want, any more children, you should be able to get birth control, contraceptives and abortions (in worst cases) for free or close to it. The planet isn’t getting any bigger and things are getting more and more crowded, and resources are scarce. The other option is limiting peoples’ ability to reproduce, which takes away personal freedom. In any case, allowing people to control their own reproduction isn’t a terrible idea, especially things like sterilization and contraception, which would hopefully prevent people from having to take more drastic measures. Make it easy for people to enjoy human companionship without punishment or risk of destitution. Children should be well provided for and cherished, which is very hard to do under financial strain.

Abolish Political Parties

These days, technology makes it easy to get your message out to the masses. I cringe everytime I hear of a multi-million dollar fundraiser for a campaign in places where there are people starving and homeless. How frivolous! Grass roots campaigns using technology to cut costs however possible is the way to go. Without huge price-tag, maybe it would open the door to a more average representation in our government. If people don’t need the backing of a political party to run for office and to support a campaign, we could actually vote based on the issues. Better yet, have people vote directly on issues rather than rely on an elected official who may be completely out of touch with their communities.

And then…

Well, what else. Actually lots. But anything else I can think of isn’t exactly democratic. It involves telling people what to do. Saying hey, we don’t have a choice right now because things are going to hell in a handbasket.

Sigh…

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