Monday, December 06, 2004

Education and Economics

Education and economics. These are two issues facing the United States that have a great impact on every aspect of the U.S. and the rest of the world. This post will concentrate on U.S. domestic ideas on how these two can compliment one another.

Having worked in an educational organization (not as a teacher), I had a unique opportunity to see many things that happen involving some of the processes that go on. Spending was one of them. I was amazed at the number of industries that benefit from educational spending. This gave me insight on a variety issues that I had never thought of before.

Education could be one of the strongest forces for economic growth in more ways than teaching people how to perform certain tasks. With newer technologies, education has to expand its playing field to be productive. Schools pay a great deal of money for computers, peripherals and software. With computer purchases, schools tend to purchase new types of overhead projection systems. Ones that connect to the computers so the teacher can have the same thing on the screen that the students do. This allows the students to better follow the teacher’s instructions because the teachers can have a simulated one on one with every student in the classroom. Getting back to the subject, education provides a large buyer base for the technology industry.

Technology is only one field in which educational spending is beneficial. New construction projects give work to a variety of fields. Educational spending contributes to even more areas than that. Think about all the things that go into schools. Books, food, janitorial, building and automobile maintenance, sporting equipment, landscaping, office supplies and furniture, science equipment, health care equipment for nurses and special needs classes and the list goes on. All of these areas provide vital cash flow for our economy.

Vocational classes in middle and high schools should be provided to give our children a chance to experience real world work place environments. Wood, metal and automotive classes should begin in middle school to give students skills needed to help them to be more self sufficient in dealing with basic issues such as doing home repairs and basic car maintenance. These should be considered basic life skills to better prepare them for common issues that they will most likely encounter once they are old enough to own a car and eventually, a house. Another area that should be added and/or improved is computer knowledge. Computer knowledge is something that students will need to have in order to function in their future. Purchasing for the needed tools and materials will cover industries sales for each of their respective points.

In high school, vocational classes need to be expanded to include a much wider spectrum. Vocational classes should build on computer skills and provide for personal and small business management. At this stage, a wider range of electives should be introduced. While maintaining the basic core curriculum, students should have more elective course studies available to them. General manufacturing concepts should be available as should service industries. In the 1980’s it was widely accepted that service industries would be the primary industries in the U.S.. Service industries have grown but they still need to be supplemented by manufacturing industries. These two areas need to find common ground if they are to be successful. If nothing is manufactured, what will need to be serviced?

Educating our youth in how to be productive and efficient as members of society is very important to our future economy and overall development as a civilization. At one time, the U.S. was seen as one of, if not the, most productive nations on the planet. Today, we are seen as taking a back seat to other countries such as Japan, China and a few others in terms of general manufacturing. This needs to change. It would be one thing if the U.S. was holding a commanding lead in service areas but we are losing ground in that area as well to other areas of the world such as south east Asia, the EU and some south American hemisphere nations.

It is my strong belief that education needs to focus on preparing our youth to be more competitive in the world market. Not just to get by in the world. With today’s growing arena of economic diversity due to globalizing economic structures, the U.S. must begin to hold an edge in industrial education if we are to continue to be one of the best.

Where do we start? To build the nation to a power house in economics that it once was, we need to look at the “link in the chain” that needs to the most work. I feel that the weak links are in education and industrial.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Why are we dealing with what is handed to us?

Please keep in mind that this blog has nothing to do with the current presidential election of 2004. The ideas presented here are my own and are not meant to influence or even give insight to the current election. Thank you.

The U.S. has been hijacked by two political parties. There are a number of other parties but they are pushed aside by the mainstream media and lost in the shuffle. Party allegiance is strong in many cases and the idea that a third party would actually win a presidential election is just unheard of.

The odd thing about this point is I have spoken to a fair number of people on the topic of voting for a third party for president. If for no other reason than to shake up the system and send a real message to the big two. The response is over whelming. I would have to say that out of all political topics that I have discussed with people the only one that brings all sides together in agreement is this one. They almost always say that this would be a great thing. Problem? They also agree that the third party candidate wouldn't get the vote and they don't want to "toss their votes in to the trash". When you get a consensus of around 90% from all sides that it would be good and only 10% of those would be willing to make it happen, you don't really get anywhere.

It is far too late for the '04 elections to get a third party elected. Sure Nader is well known but most people won't vote for him because of two reasons.

One is that many think he is a bit extreme in areas that most people do not consider to be "major topics" and he is a little relaxed on the topics that people think are very important.

Two is that he is a third party guy and won't win the election anyway. He is seen as a spoiler. Much like Ross was.

The true question is, are these guys being fairly judged in being called spoilers? Or, are these guys people who feel strongly enough about their positions that they would put it all on the line to make a point even if they knew they wouldn't get the vote? Under the constitution, these men as well as Michael Badnarik and anyone else running for president have the right to do so. That is, if they are within the guidelines of the position, which these men are. I think these men deserve the same respect in the media and should be allowed to have their voices heard just as much as the big two parties.

How can the American people be expected to make an informed decision about whom they feel is the right person for the job if the people running aren't given equal time and coverage to plead their case for the position? Hell, if I thought I could get the position of president of the United States, I would certainly take it. I would need to see support from a large number of people before I would make a move for it though. Not that I see that happening. But, who knows what tomorrow will bring?

It is my belief that the American people are socially engineered to think a certain way. We can see this in demographic polls. Some areas think one way by majority and other places think another in a different area. Much of our beliefs will come from our surroundings. This is evident all over the nation. We, as a nation, need to get past this if we are to build a true future for ourselves.

How much is there to being president, really? You get the position, you hire knowledgeable people to positions under you and you make decisions based on the information provided. Your decision will be made on your personal convictions about what you feel is the right direction for your country. It is best to take into consideration as many options as you can find and weigh the possible out comes. Some may see this stance as simple. Some may say it is too weak of a statement about the position. I say, why?

What makes the Presidency such an unreachable position for a person that is willing to see it for what it is? It is an elected position that represents the ideas and desired direction of the nation. If you have the slightest bit of common sense and decency, and hire people that know what they are doing, all you have to do is make a decision of the choices presented to you. The big trick to being President is not in doing the job. No, the big trick is figuring out how to GET the job.

I'm not saying it is a cake walk by any means. There are a lot of difficult decisions to be made. The thing is, do you really need to have spent so many years as a Senator or a Governor to be able to understand the difference between right and wrong? I don't think so. Basic understanding of right and wrong comes from growing up. Many if not most of our politicians have proven that they have yet to grow up. Sure, they have degrees from big universities and they can claim years of time spent as a politician but can they claim to know what the common man is thinking and what he goes through on a daily basis and truly mean it? Chances are very slim in most cases.

There needs to be a person that everyone can stand behind, a normal guy, someone that is NOT a career politician to rally behind and push for the 2008 elections. Even if the guy doesn't win, the message sent to the career politicians can't be ignored.

The career politicians constantly talk about sending a message TO the people. How often do you hear a politician, honestly, look for a message FROM the people? It just doesn't happen. Yes, they will talk about being able to hear what the people want. Take them to task on these comments. Don't ask them what the people want. Ask them what they have given to the people. Actually, asking them is a bad idea. Political records are available for public view. Look at their records then decide if the guy really followed through on what the people wanted. Or for that matter, needed. Or, even what that politician promised.

Let's talk about promises. Career politicians make a great number of promises while in an election run. Think about the promises that they are making and whether or not they can truly keep that promise. In the political arena, there are few direct promises that can be made and kept unless you can get the majority backing in our government structure. What am I trying to say, you might ask. Take a president. Can that president truly make the statement that he will lower your taxes, get international help when needed and/or help our economy with a plan that they have drawn up? If that person honestly thinks that they will do these things, they are sadly disillusioned. The president can't do any of this with out the backing of the congress. A more true statement would be that the person promise to do what they can to get these things but to make that promise they would need to follow up that they would hope for the backing needed from those in congress or in the international statement he would have to explain that he would attempt to gather support.

I think the people are intelligent enough to know this but have been socially engineered to ignore the obvious in these matters. That is what this posting is all about. Why do we take what is handed to us? The media and major political parties want people to stick with what makes them comfortable. And, because they are the ones that control the content presented, that is exactly where they will stay. The media is trained to work the psyche of people. If the media is able to keep things where they are, then that is exactly what they will do. Politicians are the same way. It is their career objective to instill their opinions and ideas into other people’s minds. How else would they get their job and keep it?

It's too late in the game to get someone into the White House in 2004 that would be a normal, everyday kinda guy. No reason to stop thinking about it though. 2008 isn't that far off. Plus, there can be trial runs for the idea of putting a regular guy into office. Mid term elections are just 2 years away. Find someone you know that you feel would be good for you and your community. Maybe that person is you. Either way, make the push, Knock on the doors, plant the yard signs and find followers to the positions being presented.

An interesting piece of information:

Quote: "In the United States, there are 210.4 million eligible adults, with 128.2 million being registered. In the 2002 election, 88.9 million, or 42.3 percent of eligible voters, went to the polls."

This information is noted here.

Why do less than half of the eligible voters in the U.S. make it to the polls? Because they have no incentive. They are fed up with the sad choices that they have to choose from and they aren't getting anything new worth looking at. They feel that career politicians are the only choices they have and few trust career politicians (Even those that do vote). So why do they not stand up and let their voices be heard? I will be making posts that I feel are key issues and why I think those issues are what we need to focus on. I keep the option for others to post comments to see where these ideas stand in the public view. This also gives people the option to ask me and others that might comment for clarification on what is said if they do not understand how the views posted will work effectively.

I love open discussion. As long as we stay on track with the issue. My first post in this forum is about education. I plan to work on releases covering a variety of topics. I am still in the process of breaking down the current political parties views based on their posted information via their web sites. Consider these blogs to be a town hall. We all get a voice. I only ask that we stay on track with the issues of the individual posts. If there is a topic that you feel should be addressed, please feel free to mention it with out going into discussion on an unrelated topic. I will do what I can, given the time allowed to me, to cover any general topics requested.

The points of my blogs are not to support or denounce individuals in the 04 election. Please, let’s discuss the issues and not the people for now. It's too late for 04 in the areas that I am looking to bring up. I would like to keep an eye on the ball. The ball is 2008. No, it's not too early to start looking at the future in 4 years. Not if you honestly want to make a difference. Many of the issues of today might not be in the spot light in 4 years. That is why I would like to keep to general issues and not the highlights of today.

I love this country but am not satisfied with the direction that most of our politicians are taking it. There are some that will put more effort into some areas but ignore or give little attention to others. My personal opinion is that the vast majority of politicians are not in it for the honest improvement of the nation but to push personal achievement and acquire recognition and power. Power with out cause is worthless and this is what we have sitting in our government positions. They give the illusion of having a cause by looking at the polls and saying that they are with the consensus. That is not real. That is manipulation of the voters. Once they achieve their objective of getting the seats that they are looking for, they will push most if not all of that aside and start working for their own ideas. There are very few exceptions to this.

I hope at this point that you have gotten the idea that I am trying to present. The floor is open for discussion.

Let's be respectful to one another and have fun talking about these important topics. We need to return to the ideas of our government being by the people, for the people and OF the people.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Where do we go from here?

Being an election year, I have been very much inspired to do some research and get views from many other people through online message boards. Many claim their allegiance to one party or one train of thought. I am a Centrist. I believe it is best to keep an open mind to as many ideas and perspectives as you can find.

Conspiracy theories can be fun but, in my opinion, they have become ramped and people are starting to take stalk in them. This isn't just from one side of the spectrum. It is evident through out the spectrum. Some go to greater extremes than others but the fact is they exist everywhere. I feel that we need to get beyond this if we are to ever become a nation or world with any kind of positive future.

I have been digging through site after site looking for the things that seem to work well for civilized development and longevity. Some of the bigger things that I have noticed are simple once you take the time to see them. Education, defense, various technologies, environmental observation, energy sources, individual freedoms and self reliance.

All have hit road blocks in every corner of the world. From what I have seen, Education is the one that needs the most attention. With out education we cannot understand what needs to be done to defend ourselves. With out education we cannot maintain or develop new and better technologies. With out education we cannot see the needed step to improve our environment. With out education we cannot develop or discover new cleaner and better energy sources. With out education we will never be able to understand what it is to have freedom. And, with out education we will never know how to be self reliant and make things happen for ourselves.

Many of the governments of the world have turned to give away systems to provide for the common wealth. From what I have seen, this can work for a short while but eventually, will end up causing more harm than good. It is my belief that the only give aways that government should be obligated to give to its people is the power they need to make things happen. This can be achieved through education. I am a big believer in self knowledge but understand that we can't learn everything on our own. We need the tools and surroundings to encourage and enlighten us to what is available to learn. It is my belief that education, at all levels, should be openly and freely available to all.

The United States is in a unique position to make a strong positive impression on the world. The issue is, we have NO well known representative running for office that has presented any points that would put us in that direction. I do not want to make this blog into a political "but this guy says this" posting. The truth is none of them have shown the willingness or ideas to go the distance.

All parties’ representatives talk about making improvements in education but none of them really present a solution that is real. Sure, there are some steps that are being promoted but we are in a position to make bigger commitments. Taking steps is the fundamental aspect of traveling. Today we have the ability to strap ourselves into a jet or rocket powered vehicle to far exceed the fundamentals. This is true of education as well. We must first begin at home. Brining things home is one of the things that the Libertarian party is big on. I think, in many ways, that this might not be a bad idea but not to the extreme.

I am reminded of the quote "With great power, comes great responsibility". I first heard this as a child while watching the Spiderman cartoon and was reintroduced to it recently in the movie. Despite where the quote came from, it is true. This is why I cannot fully agree with the Libertarians on the issue of noninterference. I don't think we should interfere with military force on many occasions (Some, yes.). My ideas on interference stem from education. The U.S. has a responsibility to assist other nations in their development. I'm not talking about international welfare. I am talking about knowledge. Instead of sending billions of dollars to other nations, I feel we would better serve our international community by spending that money on higher education for our own people then encourage those people to help others around the world learn to do things for them selves.

The U.S. has spawned a number of international help groups and also supports other groups from around the world. These are wonderful directions to take but if we do not have enough educated people in these areas, it will do little good. Sending money will only make those nations dependant on us. Sending them knowledge of how to do for themselves will make them stronger and more productive to the world as a whole.

I have similar opinions of domestic welfare. I do not feel that domestic welfare should be removed totally. It is a great thing for those who need temporary assistance to get back on their feet. But, too many times, the system is abused and that is because of the way it is run. Welfare should consist of temporary assistance to pay bills while allowing for funding to educate the individuals in the field of their choosing to help them into an industry that will be best suited for them and give them more incentive and opportunity to make something for themselves and their families. Welfare should only last long enough for these people to get the education they need to start providing for themselves and then it should stop. No more draining the system for those who feel they can live off the government.

It is my opinion that education is the key to making the world a better place. There will be those that do not share my ideas on this. It is very well known by looking at history that uneducated people are more easily controlled and manipulated. Those people would seek to stop the progress of open education. That is why we need to learn how to defend ourselves. I do not feel it is necessary to attack the people that would oppose open education in their part of the world unless it is found that they are looking to attack us first. This is why we need a strong military and intelligence community. Education will drive those areas to proficiency.

Learning other cultures and how certain groups work is the stepping stones to prevent many innocent people from getting hurt. It is also the key to understanding how best to educate the people of different cultures and to learn from their ideas at the same time. AS the world moves into the future, we must learn to work more closely together. We are reaching for space and will need to have a better understanding of each other before we can truly understand and appreciate what we might find in our travels. Every culture will look at things in a different way. If we work together to incorporate those views, it could help us to see things that we other wise might have missed. None of this will be possible with out education.

It is the general idea that defense is in full reference to military power to defend against or attack another military. I see this as a narrow view of what defense spending and development can be used for. Our military industrial complex can have a large number of uses. It can help to invent and develop new technologies for advancement in daily use products and space travel.

To some extent, our defense spending is used for much of what I have mentioned. Much of our defense spending is used for the Army Corp. of Engineers. The Corp. of Engineers, along with military reserve units, are used in disaster recovery for many uncontrolled events such as forest fires earth quakes and weather disasters such as tornados and hurricanes. I think that disaster recovery and prevention should be one of the strongest peace time roles of our military. Defense from Mother Nature should be a part of our defense spending. More people need to be educated about how to best deal with these events. None of will be possible with out education.

On the environment. People can pretty well govern themselves if they have the knowledge and understanding of what is going on around them. Many companies today extend beyond government guidelines in reference their ecological stance. Why, because mass consumer opinion is worth more to them than government laws and guidelines. Sure, guidelines are good to have but when it comes down to the bottom line. The consumers are the ones that pay the bills. If companies do not satisfy the wants and needs of the consumer, they will not stay in business for very long or at least, not make the profits they want. Governments should provide guidelines but it should be up to the informed consumers to regulate environmental concerns about big businesses. This cannot be done with out education.

New energy sources and better use and development of current energy sources can be one of the greatest things that we can do for our world. Much is said by many in power about these things but in truth, very little is really done. Yes, there have been things that have been done to help out in these areas. These things are just very small drops into a very large bucket. The main problem is information. There is very little information being presented to the general public. What information is released, many times, conflict with one another. Some say one thing is happening to cause environmental issues and others say that there are more pressing events that have little or nothing to do with what the first reports say.

It's difficult to come up with a solution if you haven't effectively defined the problem. I think that part of the higher education process needs to focus on a hands on approach to finding the answers needed combat many of the issues that reek havoc on our environment and get down to the truth. Are people responsible for the climate changes or is it a natural phenomenon. If it is a natural progression, is there anything that people can do to reduce the effects that we are having. If so, what? We need to pin down the correct problem(s) then work on a solution. I have run the environment and energy sources together because, at the moment, they appear to coincide with one another. Either way, none of this can be resolved with out education.

Freedom and self reliance. How can anyone be truly free if they are not educated. Being uneducated leaves a person at the will of those whom might want to manipulate them for their own gain. How can someone be self reliant if the do not have the freedom to think and do for themselves. An educated society can be so much more productive for the individuals that make up that society as well as the society as a whole.

Information on the ideas and belief structures of others will give insight on how to handle encounters with in our very diverse world. I'm not saying it will excuse everything that happens but it will give us a better understanding of why certain things do happen. In turn it will give us the power to confront bad things head on with a stronger understanding of how to best deal with them. Again, I will say, with out education none of this will be possible.

It is a little late in the game to make this an issue to pursue for the 2004 presidential elections but those who believe as I do, can continue this message for future election years. This will include mid term elections as well as presidential elections.

Thank you for your time in reading this. I hope I have sparked something in at least a few of you. No matter how corny it sounds, the old saying that knowledge is power is true. Push that idea on to our politicians. Support your local schools and help in developing positive reinforcement to your children at home. Schools can't do everything they need active parents to make it all complete.

And just for the record, no, I am not a teacher and no, I have never been a teacher.