16 October 2006

Simple Formulas

If you...

(A) Graduated from high school,
(B) Waited until you were at least 20 to get married and
(C) Waited until you were at least 20 to have your first child...

then the likelihood that you will be at or under the poverty level is 8%.

If, however, you failed at these three efforts, then the likelihood that you (and your child/ren) live at or under the poverty level is 79%.

In other words, failing to follow this simple formula for reaching adulthood makes it almost 10 TIMES more likely that you will end up poor than if you follow the rules.

Think about that.

To apply this formula and its benefits at the societal level, you'd need to at least have statistics: number of teenage pregnancies, number of teenage marriages or cohabitation arrangements...and number of dropouts.

Why the elliptical pause? Because the local department of miseducation does not--I emphasize, does not--have reliable statistics on the number of dropouts from local schools. Though many would point to bureaucratic mismanagement, political infighting and educational indifference for this hideous lapse, I prefer to think it's because no one in the damn department can count past ten without taking their shoes off.

The maxim is clear: What gets measured, gets improved. That We lack data on the number of Our youth lost from the miseducational system is beyond an "oops": it's a crime. Especially when one considers the enormous, titanic, obscene amount of time and money supposedly invested in making the educational system better. But then again, when 80 cents of every dollar goes to pay salaries and benefits and most of it to lumps who have no direct impact on students, it makes sense to stop measuring dropouts and focus instead on other items, such as...whatever.

Our incidence of teenage pregnancies is on the rise again. Our teenagers are increasingly shacking up and separating without a glance at a bridal magazine. And in some schools, as much as 55% of Our students are dropping out before securing a high school diploma. Not leaving for private schools, not moving to the U.S.: dropping out.

Instead of taxing Our butts, The Fools should try to make sure We keep more butts seated in Our classrooms. Here's a solution: Sweep away the old curriculum and establish a new one that emphasizes the learning, analysis and decision-making skills needed for the global economy of the 21st century. One that emphasizes who We are, so We can share with the world without the void We now have inside. One that empowers a student to tackle the world as a challenge instead of seeing the world as a wallet and his or her role as that of a beggar whining for a share. One that takes advantage of Our bicultural vision instead of making it seem like a split personality.

We need an educational system that develops a teenager who can decide for himself or herself that following a simple formula is easier than plunging headlong into poverty, dependence and a huge share of lifelong futility. Doing that makes future poverty less likely and creates a larger, more robust economy for Us all.

That means there'd be more money going around.

Now I got The Fools' attention...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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