Monday, September 26, 2011
I Don’t See A Sense Of Urgency
It's times like these, when I wish, I was back in the workplace having some interesting discussions, instead of just watching the depressing news, as it unfolds. I need someone to talk me out of thinking that this world is just stagnated with no sense of urgency.Perhaps I just need a vacation or I need to get another hobby besides blogging.
I think education, health care solutions, jobs, innovation, and fiscal responsibility should be at the forefront in all our path-forward discussions.
We used to be the leaders in graduating college students, but we have seen 16 countries pass us by. I don't sense any urgency at the local, state, or federal level. I always see the Department of Education and teachers unions being attacked on a partisan basis, but I don't see enough emphasis on the 54% of dropouts across the nation. The United States Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is doing a great job with his "Race to the Top" initiative and is now allowing states to opt out “No Child Left Behind" because those goals were impossible to meet. Surprisingly, Mr. Duncan is not carrying water for the Democrats, because he doesn't believe the federal government can micro manage 95,000 schools and 15,000 school districts. He's right, but the local districts need to come up with their own credible plan, which can be adapted to get our children to learn the subject rather than the test. Mr. Duncan believes in rewarding progress not necessarily test scores. For example, a rich school with superior labs, students, and equipment should do better than a crumbling public school. If that public school shows progress, it should be rewarded. One man, one committee, one legislator, one governor, or one president can only set the wheels in motion; the rest of it is up to parents, teachers, and administrators, but they have to have funding and support. If we are going to favor school vouchers, perhaps we should find a way to keep public schools going at the same time. If we don't do that, we will be heading back to the days before the landmark “Brown vs. The Board of Education."I don't know a lot about the problems we are having with education, but that does not mean I'm not interested.I've seen and heard some excellent ideas,so if we know the solutions,what's the hold up?
Health care solutions, jobs, and innovation are intertwined because I think healthcare is a right, not a privilege. As legions357 stated, we have tried all the gimmicks but we're still in the same place or retreating to a double- dip recession. I also agree with BigJ that both parties are playing politics. Somewhere, somehow there has to be a way to find a viable reason for the Fortune 500 companies to invest their $2 trillion surplus in America. Our European trade partners are just diddling, so the innovations should be geared to American consumers. Barriers will first have to be trampled, because we need to get over the idea that a partnership with government is socialism. Capitalism in America is suffering because of a lack of an educated work force, expensive health care plans, greed, and a huge trade imbalance. I'm not for protectionism, but we need to get back to the days where it was feasible for the middle class to consume. The innovator for the next alternative energy solution will lose his enthusiasm, if we get into that “drill baby drill" mindset. I know that we will be on fossil fuels for a long while, but oil is not infinite and its effect on our health and environment should be considered.
The most disturbing thing to me is a lack of accountability. I'm reading yet another book where everyone knew about the financial crisis but no one from Wall Street stood up and told the world and worse, they don't want rules to protect them from themselves. Europe is going through the same thing, but they haven't had their Lehman Brothers, "come to Jesus" moment yet. Our former vice president admitted he ordered torture, a clear violation of the Geneva Convention, yet he never paid the price. It's not one or two incidents, but a series of them were no one is held to account for their misdeeds. I hope I'm wrong but I just read a story (Wiki Leaks cable) where our troops went into the wrong house looking for a terrorist, severely roughed up the women and children, but when they found out, and they were at the wrong house; they called in an air strike, destroying the home, children, and evidence. Atrocities happen during a war, but we must punish our own and send a signal of accountability.
I think that we need to see more stories of success because we're going down the road of negativity. I know that we react to what we see, but I'm not one that thinks that we will become a country without accountability, adaptability, or a sense of urgency.