My View: Education is key to breaking the bonds of poverty
July 23rd, 2012
06:32 AM ET

My View: Education is key to breaking the bonds of poverty

Courtesy Bill ParrishBy Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III is the senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ on the Southside of Chicago.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Our current education policies are binding some of our children into a future in which their social fabric is tattered and sometimes broken.

Our nation has not truly committed to eliminating structural economic inequality since President Johnson’s war on poverty. With over 46 million Americans living in poverty, and nearly 50 million who are food insecure, and close to 25 million Americans looking for a job while we face record-breaking rates of foreclosure, we must provide a common foundation beneath which no child falls.

We can do this by giving all children fair and equal opportunities to learn. Yet, by failing to authorize a new federal education framework, Congress has left the states with two choices: to continue the failed policies of No Child Left Behind or apply for a waiver and be subjected to unrealistic requirements and reforms that aren’t much different.

As the parent of two children in public school I am saddened by the tone of the debate about the future of education and the lack of imagination in popular reform proposals that seem to be directed largely at privatizing our school systems. Many of the men and women shaping policy can afford private schools, tutors and have access to other well-funded supplemental programs, but it is our children in struggling communities who are becoming casualties of these education battles.

Research has shown that there are more effective strategies being used in Chicago than the focus on “Turnaround Schools,” which has become a national priority strategy. The University of Chicago identifies five key ingredients for school improvement that include school leadership, parent and community ties, the professional capacity of the faculty, a student-centered learning climate, and instructional guidance. Schools that were strong in all five areas were at least 10 times more likely to achieve substantial gains, but when one of these threads was missing or weak, it undermined virtually all attempts to improve student learning.

Schools that have implemented these key elements have far out-performed Chicago’s schools that have been “turned around” through firing staff, closing schools or hiring outside-expert school managers. Yet, they are forced to rely heavily on the volunteer efforts of parents and the community and have rarely received extra financial support, much less public attention or recognition. Imagine what could be achieved if school financing was equitably distributed, with increased investments going to schools where students live in poverty.

As outlined in the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign's “2020 Vision Roadmap: A Pre-K Through Postsecondary Blueprint for Educational Success”, all teachers should have intense training before they enter the classroom, and mentoring and support throughout their careers. We need new ways of assessing performance and measuring achievement that are fair to both teachers and students. And, we must attract and retain the best teachers in the schools of highest need by ensuring positive, supportive working conditions.

Education is the most vital resource in our communities. When students fail, future economic prospects are diminished and our communities ultimately suffer. Punishing schools that receive insufficient resources and focusing on privatization only further alienates struggling communities. We cannot tolerate failure, but we must stop placing blame solely on teachers. Accountability also rests with policymakers, the clergy, media conglomerates, businesses, civic groups, parents, and community activists. It rests with all of us.

Just as we are bound together in this inescapable network, so are the factors that determine our success or failure. They are woven together in a complex tapestry that traps too many of our young people in generational poverty that we have ignored for too long. Fixing our schools is critical in breaking the bonds of poverty. It’s time for our policies, practices and investments to support an aggressive and comprehensive approach to education reform that gives every child the opportunity to learn.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Otis Moss III.

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    August 3, 2012 at 7:29 am |
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    August 1, 2012 at 12:51 am |
  3. Fred

    What good is education when America's WORK ETHIC SUCKS? What good is educated lazy people? Besides, education or lack of, isn't the problem. In the early 1900's people came from other countries who barely knew the language yet built more bridges, roads and sky scrappers than the kids today ever will because they were go-getters. Gutter rats who use education as a tool to get rich (unions) pretending to help the poor are the real problem!

    July 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  4. BOBINCAL

    In their book “The Bell Curve” in the last chapter; A Place for Everyone, the authors outline some behaviors for success.
    Get the best education you can
    Avoid getting pregnant before you are involved in a committed relationship
    Do not get involved in drugs or alcohol

    I would add a few more
    Be prepared for several different careers
    Have a long term plan
    Live within your means

    July 27, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • kck

      Amen. BOBINCAL.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  5. Ken Margo

    Simple solutions that start at home.

    Make sure you as the parent have an education. Set a example. Have at least a H.S. Diploma

    Don't have children until you are at least 25 yrs old. TOOO many people are having children and are not ready. Single parenting isn't for everybody. When a parent can focus on the child as needed, It increases the chance of that kid making it through school.

    Have a plan, don't have more kids than you can financially support.

    Make the man commit. Get a ring (I don't mean a championship ring either)

    A stable home increases the odds of successful children. No guarantees, you just want to increase the chances.

    Force gov't to invest in education. If we can't afford to educate our kids, why are we having them?
    I'm a realist, there are no guarantees

    July 26, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  6. Bill

    Much different to what school systems across the country attempt, teachers should be focussing on students who want to learn, and let the poor performers leave. The trouble makers are a distraction and a threat to the teachers who are trying to get children who want to be there educated. In the end, control will come back to the classrooms, and ultimately, more students will end up attending. You cannot make a child want to learn (or their parents, for that matter) and throwing money at the problem will not work. We already spend far more than any other country with poor results.

    July 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  7. Someone in Columbus

    @Dee – The situation is not that simple. I know at least two science PhD's, one whose degree is from MIT in Material Science, who cannot find jobs.

    Heck – Jake DeSantos – the guy who famously resigned publicly from UBS – and Joe Kernen from CNBC Squawk Box – both have science degrees – Mr. DeSantos has a Material Science degree from MIT and Mr. Kernene has a Master's degree in microbiology from MIT – and yet both went into fiance where they probably made a whole lot more money (in other words – they were valued more).

    US kids look at things the same way corporations do – what is the reward for the investment? I could go into a science or engineering field, work long hours in the lab, and go out to a job that will likely be off-shored to someone in China or Russia who will make 25% of what I could – or I could go into business mangement, get to have more time to party in school, and come out to a jiob that pays what I could make if I spent 4 more years trying to get a PhD in a science.

    When science is valued by society – kids will go into it. Not before.

    July 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Solo

      I don't think it's even a question of "science being valued more" – a vast majority of U.S. high schools (public, not private) cannot even graduate all of their students at proficiency levels. That's the sad truth that we continue to throw money at without any success or other solution. My taxes are paying for low-income students to receive free bus passes to travel forty minutes from the neighborhoods to mine, of a far higher ranked school system; it still has not yielded a better rate of these kids in either testing scores or graduation rates. More money from my tax bracket is not the solution and I'm sick of paying for empty promises and failed schools. Let's go back to the system of five decades ago – where you live, (and pay accordingly) determines your school to attend. Let's get the administrators out of their offices and in the classrooms – to see if they can practice what they preach, if not, they're gone. Let's hold school boards accountable for results – when schools fail on testing, it's time to end bonus packages and other perks. If the "tough love" that is needed happens, we'll see people take education seriously. As it is now, people are getting rich on my tax contributions and students are none the richer, education-wise.
      IT'S A BROKEN SYSTEM.

      July 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • wwrrd

      Allied science is valued. Academic science with no marketable application is undervalued to the degree is forms the basis of some other applied science advancement at a later time.

      July 27, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  8. Rick S.

    Education is not the answer. Drive, motivation, the need to succeed. How do you teach that? How do you get the students to want to get an education? How do you get the parents to provide the home environment that stimulates the child and teaches them to strive to get an education?
    How can you state that "Education is the Answer" when you can provide the same education to two different children and one will succeed and the other not? We need to provide equal opportunity to succeed but you can't guarantee the children will take that opportunity and that opportunity MUST be EQUAL FOR ALL not just some or it's not equal. Let's not lower the bar but raise the children.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Amen!

      July 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • anne Ingram

      Dear Rick,

      You are so right! The reason why children of the middle class and wealthy do better in school is because their parents read to them, help them with their homework, provide a stable environment ( no boyfriends coming and going), and raise them with the beliefs that it is their job to study and do well in school because they need to get into college to even have a chance of a middle class life (union jobs are disappearing so that is not an option anymore). The author of this article goes on and on about the inequities of the poor but the bottom line is this: jews and asians came to this country with nothing, escaping persecution and facing language barriers (Think of how difficult it is to learn english when your native language is Mandarin). Yet, they succeeded beyond any standards of measurement. Why? Stable famiilies and emphasis on education. Do you think schools is China Town or the Lower East side in NYC are any good? also in NYC jews and asians make up the highest concentration of people applying to the elite public schools (Bronx science, Stuyvesant, etc) . Stuyvesant sent two jewish men to Cuny back in the 20's and they went on to win noble prizes. Cuny produced two rhodes scholars 3 years ago. So there is no excuse.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
      • wwrrd

        This is true but liberals like the politics of victimization and thus they declare these kinds of statements as racist.

        July 27, 2012 at 7:41 am |
  9. Hooza

    Education is a luxury for the rich. The poor are better off learning some trade and making a living that way. I wish I would have.I screwed myself by wasting 4 yrs of my life and graduating from a university.

    July 26, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • RAWoD

      I'm curious about what your major was to have considered graduating from a four year school a "screwing" and "waste of time".

      July 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
      • Hooza

        Biology major, chemistry minor

        July 26, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  10. Hooza

    I earned by B.S. in 2004 at the age of 32. I was much better off financially before I started college than I am now.

    July 26, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Rick S.

      What did you intend to do with a B.S. in biology?

      July 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
      • Hooza

        Field work, bio-tech would have been a good start. I have applied for literally thousands of jobs with the NPS, State DNRs, and many other private groups. Been told I'm qualified to highly qualified, but never offered a job. I had a great time in college, and learned a lot. But now I wish I would have planned for my future instead.

        July 26, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  11. YAWN JOHN

    The lack of interest in their children's welfare is an indicator of why some families are poor – the parents just don't get it. Decades of the war on poverty and this is still a major problem in the US. EIC, Aid to Dependent Children, Head Start, Food Stamps, a host of other programs and this is still a major problem in the US.

    The village is paying to raise the child; and the village idiots are getting the check. I don't have an answer on what will work. But having an answer is not a requirement to stopping what clearly isn't working – throwing money at the problem.

    July 26, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  12. Juanita

    Education is not the key to fixing poverty. Fixing poverty is the key to a quality education. Somehow, we got the roles reversed!

    July 26, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  13. wwrrd

    Maybe it will get better when successful black student stop getting bullied by their peers for "acting white" , being an "oreo cookie", or not being "black enough".

    It is a shame when a whole population embraces lack of attainment, and poverty as a badge of honor.

    July 26, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  14. Kevin

    Consider that school choice inherently engages parents. Will all parents suddenly care about education? No, of course not. Will some if they believe they have a choice other than a local lame public school – sure. Some poor people care about their kids and their future. Many don't, and NOTHING we do will help those kids.

    What is the implied message when a public school tells you where to drop off your kid and nothing more? That's the typical public school experience. If parental involvement is so important that schools can't do well without it, how come they aren't trying to engage parents? Because that might be extra work and might be after 3:00?

    Most teachers care about kids and try very hard. However, they have NO incentive to do their best – NONE. And, most are teachers because it is a job that allows a lot of free time. How many teachers would be teachers if they were required to work 48 hours/week 47 weeks/year like the average professional? Even if they got the pay increase, would they still want to be teachers? My guess is not.

    July 26, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • sue kelewae

      How sad that you are so cynical. As a teacher for 41 years – yes, 41...the great majority of teachers would absolutely be teachers again, and NO they don't go into the field for "short hours". The incredible number of hours spent at schools, at home grading, planning, contacting parents, attending courses, professional develpment,etc, add up to much more than 45+ hours. I now teach pre-service teachers at a University, and the students who are studying to be teachers are the most determined, smart, good, people. Our children will be in very good hands when they are in the classrooms. And, the KNOW what they are getting into – poverty, poor pay for the work they do (and they are willing to teach anyway), long hours, heartbreak at the sad lives some children must endure, yet firecly determined to teach, love, and care about the children. Please be careful when you become cynical about the people who do so much. There is no more important job that teaching – we enable all the rest. (Also, did you go to a public school??)

      July 26, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  15. The_Mick

    The problem is that inner city schools are plagued by the combination of low-income kids who have behavior problems mostly stemming from stresses in the home (like kids who are devils in the morning and angels in the afternoon because lunch is the only real meal they eat each day) and the parent battles and court rulings that allow so little authority to the teachers. If a kid screams and throws a book at a teacher, it's more likely the teacher will be given a big lecture about allowing the situation to occur than it is for anyone at the school to dare suggest to the parent that the kid needs to be taught behavior and the parent is failing. I taught in the Baltimore suburbs and had good students move into my area mid-year who had learned nothing in Baltimore City schools because "our teacher spent most of his time just trying to keep the class in order." That needs to change.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  16. wwrrd

    I would ask the author a question as I have never received a good answer from anyone else. How is a school system supposed to overcome the barriers of unengaged parents or a bad neighborhoods in a statistically significant way. I live in a very affluent and diverse community. Our local school is filled with white kids in honors and AP classes and also with minority kids that can barely read. There all all kinds of special programs to help the disadvantaged kids. Everything from extra tutors, teachers aides, free breakfasts and lunches. However, you rarely see any of these kids parents at school events. These kids disproportionately account for the bulk of the behavior problems.

    The problem really seems to be home environment. These poor kids have tough home lives, their parents are not well educated and the kids see and emulate their parents behaviors. They seem to get drawn in to negative behavior by bad kids in their neighborhoods and then it all goes downhill for them..

    It doesn't seem to be a question of money. Our school system spends more than virtually any in the country. Per capita funding on the poor kids exceeds that average when you factor in the special programs. How can schools overcome these challenges?

    July 26, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  17. derni

    Education at all levels in the USA needs to be evaluated and changed as needed. We place too much emphasis on all students taking a College Prep program in High School. The colleges can't be doing a great job if over the course of 4 years a class loses 30-50 % of it's total numbers that started . High schools have similar dismal drop-out rates-worse in poor large inner cities. Now with the increased negativity being placed on teachers fewer young men and women are going into education. The schools are offering less pay and benefits and terrible retirement benefits..so you won't attract good men and women into the field. In addition, with all the cuts and layoffs many teachers that can't find jobs will try another career. And don't forget,,a large number of teachers leave teaching within the first 3-5 years of entering the field do to the nature of the job; student behavior; overly demanding parents; and poor school leadership. So good luck..I don't see a real quick fix..but then why worry..in 50 years with global warming the schools will be teaching survival skills and school and career will not be important.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  18. Sarah

    But wouldn't this be the parents fault? Not the government? I will go without, just to make sure my child has the best education. If I have to eat noodles for 5 years, I will. If parents cared a little more about their childs future, there might be a better system because they wouldn't let the schools or the state take that away from the child.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Springsgranny

      Sara, You are just a tad nieve...a lot of the parents of these children didn't want them to begin with...they either had them to get more assistance from the government or, you might notice that brothers and sisters don't have the same last name. They just keep having them and deserting them. Don't know how to fix that, unless the government steps in and cuts off the assistance.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  19. Pragmatist

    Dee makes a great point. The current (perhaps also the last 30-40 yrs too) US culture is simply not tuned in to the workforce needs of the future. If you travel outside the US and take a look at the value other societies place on education, you'd be amazed. For-profit private charter schools are being touted by some as the solution but many of these schools are full of incompetent teachers and feel good programs with various religious themes. By establishing high standards/ qualifications/skills required for K-12 teaching and increasing their starting pay to atleast $50,000 would be a start. The parental involvement is also crucial. Perhaps community/church/temple/mosque based local programs could best address that.

    July 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  20. KC

    Not necessarily. I got a good education. When it came out that I had worked my way through college as a top-speed typist, every job interview turned into "the man we hire for that job will need a good secretary". I was never able to break out of the pink collar ghetto, despite my expensive education, because I couldn't shed that stereotype.

    July 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Rick S.

      If you're applying for a position that doesn't specifically state you need a certain skill why would you include it? Leave unimportant although maybe excellent skills out of your resume. Stick to the skills they request.

      July 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  21. bluegillonthefly

    If privatizing education is such a bad thing, why do so many of us (including me, since last year, after sending my kids to public school for the first few years) pay extra for private education?

    I'll tell you why: it's because private schools do such a superior job of educating our children. I went to some very good public schools, as did my children (they also went to a not-so-good one after we moved, which is why they are now in private school), but even the best of them were not as good as private school. The difference is night-and-day.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Andrew

      You are ignoring a few things:

      1) Kids who have families who can afford private schools aren't in poverty to begin with, thereby nullifying any comparison or relevance to the topic.

      2) Parents who make the time and effort to send their kids to private schools are already above average as far as involvement in their child's education.

      3) Private schools are NOT doing a better job of teaching US students. They are getting better (meaning more affluent and more prepared) students with better families in their doors to begin with. Again, the biggest factor in a child's success is their family involvement and income level. Compare the average private school student with the average public school student on things like family involvement and income and you will see a large disparity. The disparity actually shrinks in comparisons of student achievement, which means public schools are doing a better job on average, with fewer and less resources per family.

      July 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
      • wwrrd

        You are dead on right. It isn't so much the schools , it is the engaged parents and stable homelife that makes the difference. Public schools get a bad rap. Wealthier people in most decent school districts send their kids to private schools to protect their children from the thugs and bad kids that public schools allow to stay enrolled and interfere with the learning of the other kids.

        July 26, 2012 at 9:37 am |
      • ES71

        > Private schools are NOT doing a better job of teaching US students. They are getting better (meaning more affluent and more prepared) students with better families in their doors to begin with.

        Yes, they do. At least the academic ones. My daughter's class in private school has 6 kids vs. 18 in the public school. They don't have to teach to the test, they don't have to spend 80% of the time on the underperforming students. And the teachers are excellent. They have arts program and a foreign language program. US public schools don't teach a foreign language until High School , when it is too late.
        If you can afford it, the private school is the way to go. Anyone who says otherwise is either has an agenda, cannot afford it, or is an apoligist for not spending the money on their kids.

        July 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  22. Andrew

    You have it backwards. Eliminating poverty is the key to education and not the other way around.

    There have been dozens of studies that show that the greatest factors in a child's education are a stable home and safe facilities with parents who are active in their child's education. With these things in place the child will succeed.

    A child who is worried about their next meal or where their parents are cannot learn effectively. Yet schools are called upon every day to educate children despite many of them not even having the basic needs covered, and then they are blamed when the child doesn't succeed.

    Lots of people tout personal responsibility until it comes to education. Then it is someone else's fault if there is failure. Well I am here to say that education, like fitness, hygiene etc., is a personal responsibility for you and your family.

    Get involved and don't blame the system if you fail your own children.

    July 25, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • jim8

      There also studies that say the taller you are the more successful you will become.

      You might just as well to wish to be taller than to wish for everyone to have good, dedicated, smart parents.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
      • Andrew

        Yeah, except one is within your control and one is not. To compare height with laziness is, well, lazy.

        July 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
      • Rick S.

        If you want your children to succeed then you need to push them. Show the example and keep on them.

        July 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Solo

      Well said. The fact that he's making it racial means he's bringing his own agenda, and not solutions, to the table.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • bluegillonthefly

      My parents were poor, that didn't stop them from making it through school and rising into the middle class.

      The problem with poverty Vs. education today is that there is such a high percentage of the poor who have parents who basically don't give a rat's behind about education, or about properly raising their children. Without parental involvement, education gets way, way harder – and that's not something you could easily convince me that the school can fix, even if it tries.

      The problem (well, one of them) with education is that we have come to equate education with going to college, and there is often no other track. My dad was a mechanic, and a very good one (he eventually retrained and became a systems programmer as a result of a work injury, but it was being a good mechanic that moved him into the middle class). For many people, the right education might not be a college education. It might be teaching them to be a plumber, electrician, carpenter, machinist, or other skilled trade, but there is very little of that in the schools anymore.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Toad 390

      How right you are, it is always some one elses' fault. NO one is without the oppurtunity, some just choose to blame "the system".

      July 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  23. dale

    How right the Rev. is. Pay attention! The agenda is to privatize education. Corporations have recognized that there are vast amounts of money spent on education and they want it. Many charter schools are already producing huge profits for the private owners who pay low wages to unqualified staff and collect our tax money. Vouchers are giving our tax money to private schools that do no better than the public schools. It is time to support our public schools as a national priority. Stop the special interests from pushing policies that keep public schools from being effective to build a case for the privatization of education.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  24. mkurbo

    Daddy, what did you used to do at work ?

    Well son, I was a NEA union leader and I didn’t really work, I just collected dues from union teachers that did work, and then spent that money on corrupt Democratic politicians so the NEA union could gain an unfair bargaining position with the government education system. But the schools closed because the States couldn't afford the union contracts and the country (government) went broke…

    Daddy, is that why we live in a box ?

    No son, that’s President George Bush’s fault.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • Fed Up

      Bravo!

      July 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  25. Mom of 2

    The education system isn't just harming the lower class–our lack of vision for the American eductaion system does a disservice to all students. We need to get back to the basics in our schools. We need to focu on math and reading in the early grades, and encourage our children to see how much they can learn. We no longer challenge children to do better–we expect them to learn enough to pass the test. Period. And that test is now set to the lowest common denomnator. I'm not rich enough to afford public school, nor poor enough to qualify for scholarships to those schools. My children attend public schools where doing average is the goal, and reaching your potential doesn't matter–just get high enough on the test so the school maintains its ranking. We need to free up our teachers to actually teach students that learning is desireable and enjoyable, and goes beyond the standardized test. We need to teach our kids that learning can be fun. We need to teach our kids to work for their goals instead of lowering standards so that no one's feelings get hurt.

    July 24, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • WHAT?

      Not rich enough to afford public school?

      July 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  26. Flamespeak

    While education certainly doesn't hurt, I would say a strong work ethic is a better tool to combat poverty with.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:34 am |
    • JOSE-USMC-0311

      A STRONG WORK ETHIC ?? IS THE MOST IMPORTANT AS A KID GROW UP. THEY SHOULD HAVE A JOB INSTEAD OF SEATING IN THEIR HOUSE PLAYING VIDEO GAMES ALL EVENING.

      WHEN I WAS 8 YEARS OLD I WAS HELPING MY DAD ON THE FARM. KIDS TODAY ARE SUPER LAZY VIDEOS GAME AND TOO MUCH T.V. IS THE PROBLEM. GET YOUR KID A JOB AFTER SCHOOL. DELIVERING THE PAPER–CUTTING A FEW LAWNS-WORKING AT MCDONALDS

      July 25, 2012 at 8:39 am |
      • WHAT?

        That would be a great solution – but even adults cannot find the jobs you listed.

        July 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
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    • Imad

      a lot of education now isnt, thaneicg critical thought, or having opinions, its more a case of parrot fashion repeating facts. facts are good, but without the intelligence to work out the reality with the facts, then what good is education.more kids are going out of school not able to read or write, how is that better for anyone.i went to an all boys catholic school in the 80's, so i experienced it, there was more sports because sports are a way to get rid of aggressions, but thats not all they did, they taught thinking, education was worth something then, now its more a feel good, follow your feelings rather than critical thought. i had a well rounded education, i can build stuff woodwork, i can program computers, i can understand french and german roughly, i can do high end maths, i can write stories, now the education is not like that, its social studies, its fit in, become a yay sayer, theres no thoughts in education now, and no respect for themselves or others. i astound kids of today because i can do so much more, this is the UK, and i have astounded some of the people in america (my fiance lives there) because i can argue and put together a point of view regardless of my personal beleif.

      August 3, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  28. Renee Michel

    I place the work needed at a much higher level. You will never change the conditions of the school without changing the community the schools are in. Develop the community and you develop the support needed for a better school experience. This is a very difficult task, however, after several decades of bussing kids, blaming teachers, and changing curricula, the real work must be done to help the community. Better paying jobs, safer streets, and a more healthy environment are the foundations for lasting change in educational outcomes.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:59 am |
  29. Portland tony

    Other than reading and writing. Lets teach these kids how to do something productive coming out of high school. Everybody is not going to a college and unlike days gone by, employers don't have the time or money for teaching labor skills. That's why your
    manufacturing and skilled middle class jobs are going overseas.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  30. beyondtheuniv

    Reblogged this on Ontimeorg's Blog and commented:
    Education is vital to our future.(optional)

    July 23, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  31. Audrey

    This is a great topic and YES YES YES I agree. We need a total revamp of our educational system and accountability for the teachers. Teaching is more than just showing up. We also need to put our money towards what matters. Our National budget is directly representative of what WE as a democratic society determined to be important to us. So many intertwining issues but YES education is key. Final answer.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Really?

      Will there also be accountability for students? For parents? For administrators? The teachers can't do it alone. It seems as though everyone is saying "hold the teachers accountable" when we can't solve everything that's been handed to us. Try teaching a class sometime when administration has allowed cell phones in class. Does anyone hold administration accountable? How about the many parents who don't come to conferences? What about the students who don't read their assignments? I'm just saying that accountability should be for all parties in education, not only teachers.

      July 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
      • DisneyMom

        It does not matter how much is spent on schools and education if the PARENTS are not involved. Shipping these kids across town to a more affluent school is an EPIC FAIL. The poverty stricken areas are that way because of over population in their area – how can you possibly be a qualified parent if you do not have enough money to support your kids? How can you be a qualified parent if you do not have constant involvement in your kids school, help them DAILY with their homework and take them to the library, museums and more (free by the way)????? Stop blaming taxpayers for the laziness of the breeders in the hood. I am a single parent who makes less than $25k a year. I do not get govt assistance, free lunch or anything else. We live in the smallest possible apt in a decent part of town so my kids can easily walk to school/library, etc. They are on honor roll, band and I work very hard to provide for them, study with them and take them to educational places. Oh – and we do not watch tv, have not had cable in 10 years. Just saying....

        July 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
      • FiveLIters

        Totally agree. I have always said that the education process begins at home. Kids mimic their parents,as this is their basic point of reference early on,so it is up to those parents to groom their kids and show them how to act in the real world,how to respect adults,how to dress,develop good study habits,etc. Unfortunately,there is a subset of parents who treat school as a sort of day care and have little to no interest in their childs academic development,then complain or blame everything on the teachers/Obama/whomever when their kid -maybe- gets a job at Burger King instead of a Fortune 500 company.

        July 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
      • ES71

        > Will there also be accountability for students? For parents? For administrators? The teachers can't do it alone. It seems as though everyone is saying "hold the teachers accountable" when we can't solve everything that's been handed to us.

        Evertything starts with parents. Even with not a very good teacher kids will learn if their parents push them to learn. In Brazil (I read) the government is giving money to poor parents whose kids attend school every day and make good grades. We need some of that here. But of course it will never happen because we'll immidiately hear about profiling and discrimnation. Those parents don't care about their kids but sure know how to work the system.

        July 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
      • Teja

        He,he,he,, SCHOLARSHIPS .. in an AMERIKAN SCHOOL.. now THAT is FUNNY. You must REALLY be FOREIGN or you would know that the REPUBLICANS have cut funding to ALL the sochols in the world's larges THIRD WORLD COUNTRY.. the sochols are dropping SPORTS and FOREIGN LANGUAGES from their curriculum because THERE IS NO MONEY.. in many of the sochols, the MUSIC DEPT.was the very FIRST casualty.. the REPUBLICANS need the money to GO KILL AFGHANS.You need to spend some time contact the sochols ONE AT A TIME and ASKING them if they have any scholarships.. FOR AMERIKANS and once they tell you the scholarship money has dried up.. THEN you can ask if they will give a free scholarship to a NON AMERIKAN. Was this answer helpful?

        August 3, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
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        August 5, 2012 at 6:35 am |
    • Kathleen

      The winter coruess on the website will be changed whenever we get the information, we hope to have this by late December, the winter flyer will be delivered with the flyer packs between Christmas and New Years but check back anytime as we will strive to keep the site updated!

      August 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  32. HUSSEIN ADAMS

    That could be true in the US and other advance economics in europe,but not in africa where I reside,where people above their retiring age refuse to exit for the young ones to take over from them

    July 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Elias

      Hussein,

      This will work in Africa. They have to die off at some point, and when they do the youth should be prepared to take the reigns. We can never have too much education. So, let's encourage people to be ready for that day. Also, the realities are different for different people Africa. Some are closer to this reality than others, so lets not group every African country in there.

      Cheers

      July 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
      • Jamie

        excellent, Bob. grab a cold one as my way of saying conagrts . here's to many more years of B&R, enlightening discussion, boneheads and other things of the day, and a general increase in fan base. what has it felt like to still be creating an amazing legacy?

        August 5, 2012 at 4:33 am |
  33. Dee

    I have to agree  ...as a HR professional who has done her fair share of hiring from janitors to research scientist and engineers, I can confirm that the USA lacks the required skills to move forward. Much of the hiring that we have done, particularly in the Sciences, are candidates who were born, raised and have lived in countries other than USA. Doesn't anyone but me find that odd? I don't think we value education enough to ensure all American children have the opportunity to learn.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • Steven

      Dee,
      You are not alone in your sentiments. Education in the United States is seen as a mere stepping stone toward making money, not as a means toward expanding one's intellectual horizons. We live in a post-industrialized society that is predicated upon mathematical and scientific literacy, yet we consistently fall behind other nations in these disciplines. we have absolutely no hope of maintaining our hegemonic status (if ever there was one) if we do not revamp our curriculum, especially in the two above-listed disciplines. No amount of preaching, political demagoguery, and charismatic rhetoric will save us if we do not first save our crumbling educational system.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Dhanoe

      Hey good stuff keep up the good work! I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack subcnatse but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I'm glad I found your blog. Thanks,)A definite great read :)

      August 3, 2012 at 7:42 am |