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Tycoonism “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.”

July 29, 2009

There are about 1.5 million elementary school teachers and 1.1 million secondary school teachers in the United States, and the amount spent, by average, on home schooling per child in the United States is about $450. (Source: Charity Navigator.com) Between 8 and 15 million children nationwide are unsupervised at the end of each school day; An average deaf child isn’t introduced to English until age six, upon entering school. About 87% of Americans aged 18 to 24 have completed high school with a diploma or an alternative credential such as a General Education Development certificate; The school districts in the U.S. with the highest child poverty rates have $1,139 fewer state and local dollars to spend per student than the wealthiest districts; and when among 18 to 24-year-old Americans are given maps, 70 percent cannot find New Jersey and 11 percent cannot find the United States.

This country is in a sad state of affairs when it comes to the education of our youth and based on these statistics, it will take the political and philanthropic community to continue dialogue around educational, social, and humanitarian needs of disadvantaged children and families in the future to help resolve the problem. Although public education has always played an important part in politics in this country, it has also been subject to continual political scrutiny.

Local politics and education are inseparable, as every city’s local school system is an organization with a political culture. Various groups from both within the system and outside the system compete for power. Typically there are very limited budgetary resources. Yet our local school systems are devoted to children and tax dollars — two of our most important resources. Often times, limited resources cause varying degrees of funding ability for most local school systems, which in turn creates a lot of competition for existing resources.Because of this, special interest groups compete, and funding priorities become the object of political debate – local, state and national.

Education is often a major part of both national political party platforms as well a local community discussions. The focus in the news surrounding our country’s recent elections. But just in case we have forgotten, our country’s Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution delegated authority over education to the states. Each state varies from highly decentralized local education systems to more centralized state systems like Hawaii. However, the most recent trend has been movement toward increased state standards with new accountability systems.

Interest in Education at the Federal levwel has long been part of our culture, and in 2001, under direction of President Bush, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was renewed and renamed No Child Left Behind Act (2001). This was a critical step in bettering our country’s public education – the objective being – to increase the accountability of schools that needed improvement. The ACT also called for “highly qualified” teachers in every classroom. Of all the localized special interest groups – from football supporters, planning and zoning committees, business, boards and various other local agencies, there is also the idea that diverse communities can become divided on school issues in areas of socio-economics.

Religion and political affiliation can also play a role in the politics of our local education, while public education advocates and privatization groups often differ on local policies.Even community business groups can also be divided regarding the money required for facility improvement projects such as stadiums or school facilities. That is why effective local school leadership lies in balancing these diverse special interest groups.The reality is that politics are part of every local school system. Local school leaders must learn to work within the unique political reality of their local system to accomplish the goals of an organization.

As a member of your community, parent or business, how can you help in making this a reality?  There are several ways.  For one, everything begins in the home.  Help your child and encourage reading while young.  Leaders are readers, I keep on saying and I firmly believe that children are our future.  Do away with unnecessary television, as well as unnecessary entertainment practices that not only these games muddles the brain, it does not promote longer concentration and patience.  Children need to begin in the home, and without their parents help they will have trouble concentrating in school.  

In our home, my wife and I had begin our son, Sincere, his own education at a young age.  We let him listen to Spanish audio and songs.  I have read that children who learn another language at a young age.  This familiarizes babies with the rhythm of other languages, stimulates the part of the brain that processes language, with proven benefits for development of language.  This is crucial as they begin to pick up the vocabulary and use it in everyday speech. Toddlers realize every English word has an equivalent in another language, which fosters greater cognitive abilities and they develop a better accent and think foreign language learning is fun! This also provides fun way for babies and parents to bond, as they watch and listen for new words together.

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