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July 19, 2006

Global History of homelessness

It’s been estimated that there are approximately 1 billion people around the world who lack adequate housing[1]; this includes those who live in their cars, on friend’s couches, and various other makeshift shelters. When 1/6 of the people on earth are homeless, we as a human race have a problem. The problems roots lie in various aspects of life: drugs, poor economies, an unstable government, and sometimes just plain bad luck. There was no exact point in history when homelessness became a problem. Homelessness has always affected our society in some way since mankind roamed this planet, dating back all the way from when Zog and Gurg couldn’t find a cave to cook their brontosaurus burgers in to our current situation of people sleeping on benches in parks.
In the world’s current state of turmoil, homelessness seems like a trivial problem next to nuclear warfare and terrorist organizations. Governments around the world make minimal attempts to mitigate the spread of homelessness, and put forth the same amount of effort to house the already homeless. Throughout history, stereotypes and prejudice have plagued homeless all over the world. Many people regard homeless with fear and contempt, if they acknowledge the homeless at all. Often times people will consider a homeless person to be lazy, and would assume that the homeless person had not made an effort to seek employment. In many cases this is untrue, homeless have incredibly difficult times finding a job, because of their current condition, employers will often times not employ someone if they are homeless[2].
Wars and natural disasters are also large causes of homelessness globally. In Indonesia thousands of people were killed by the tsunami that struck just a few years ago, and thousands more were left without a home. Even in America, Hurricane Katrina obliterated a good deal of New Orleans and left thousands upon thousands of Americans with no where to live. The damage caused by natural disasters is often times irreparable, and can leave scores of people with literally nothing. Wars are also a great factor in the large global homeless population. War torn countries often have high homeless populations; for example, many countries in Africa are entrenched in civil wars, when a country is at civil war there is no government, or the existing government is too focused on the war to consider the welfare of the citizens. Many villages and homes are destroyed leaving entire towns homeless, if not killed.
We as individuals cannot sway a government to change its policies concerning the homeless, but what we can do is help the homeless in our community, and improve conditions locally.

[1]http://www.goodwillinn.org/goodwill_inn_homeless_shelter___how_many_are_homeless_.htm

[2]http://www.thelordsplace.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=pages.HomelessStatistics

July 18, 2006

Quality of Preschools

We are the Preschool Quality group :)

  • OUR BLOG PAGE!

  • enjoy! ~<3

    - Melissa O., Lauren S., Katelyn K., Tiffany Y.

    Global Homelessness

    The History of Global Homelessness (Written by Shaun Chang)

    What is the current situation regarding global homelessness? (Written by Myrel Agbayani)


    Picture found at: http://www.takingitglobal.org/images/understanding/topics/Homelessness.jpg

    Homelessness is found all over the world, and the homeless population
    grows continuously every day. According to a 1996 United Nations
    report, 500 million people were homeless or residing in low-quality
    housing and unsanitary conditions in 1995 (1). In 2005, the rough
    estimate of global homelessness was down to 100 million people due to
    the difficulty in measuring it. Also, over 1 billion are living in
    inadequate housing, which would lead to a huge increase in the homeless
    population once the housing is not suitable to live in. It is
    difficult to attain the exact number of people in the global homeless population
    because there is limited or non-existent data provided for every
    country. Also, every country has its own definition of homelessness
    and its own approach to service provision. Because of these
    differences, it’s much harder to combine or compare data accurately (3).


    Global homelessness is caused by the same factors that lead to local
    and national homelessness. These factors are poor decision-making,
    health problems, mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, domestic
    violence, lack of education and job skills, environmental disasters, or
    just bad luck. There is also the usual problem of housing cots and
    their availability. Because of this, the number of households in a
    single home are increasing rapidly (3). Homelessness is also caused by
    breakdowns in traditional family support systems, continued urbanization
    and the effects of structural adjustment programs and civil wars (1).
    According to the Special Rapporteur on Right to Adequate Housing, “The
    driving forces behind homelessness are poverty; rapid economic
    globalization, which has worsened inequality in housing and land
    ownership; increasing tends towards privatization of public services
    and land speculation; lack of affordable housing options; unplanned and
    involuntary urban migration; large-scale development and infrastructure
    projects, including dams that have lead to mass displacement; and
    ongoing conflicts around the world” (4). Due to the lack of nutrition,
    homeless children and adults suffer many medical problems. The
    children may suffer from chronic and recurring physical ailments,
    higher rates of fever and colds. They have a greater incidence of
    infections, fatigue, headaches and anemia. For the adults, their
    problems include, anemia, gastric ulcers, hypertension, acute and
    chronic diseases, diabetes and malnutrition (1).

    There are things being done to resolve this problem though.
    Organizations such as the Food Research and Action Center, America’s
    Second Harvest, the Center on Hunger and Poverty, Bread for the World,
    World Hunger Year, and the Food Industry Crusade Against Hunger
    coordinate with other food banks and food assistance programs and
    encourage policy makers to expand and protect programs aiding the
    homeless (1). Also, there is something known as the Homeless World
    Cup. 48 countries and 500 homeless people look forward to this event
    each year. This year it will be held in Cape Town from September 23rd
    to the 30th (5). Due to this event, many are greatly affected. 38%
    already have regular employment and 40% have improved their housing
    situation. For more percentages, click here: http://www.streetsoccer.org/_pdf/44a28c403e57c.pdf

    Homelessness Data on Countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Russian Federation, and United States)

    [Click to enlarge]


    (1) http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Hea-Irr/Homelessness.html
    (2) http://www.takingitglobal.org/understanding/poverty/homeless
    (3)
    http://www.homebaseccc.org/site_extras/11.18.05Global%20Homelessness.pdf
    (4) http://www.hic-net.org/articles.asp?PID=223
    (5) http://www.streetsoccer.org/
    (6) http://www.streetsoccer.org/_pdf/44a28c403e57c.pdf


    What should be done about global homelessness? (Written by Traci Aoki)


    According to a United Nations report, currently five hundred million people around the world are either homeless or living in low-quality housing and are in danger of becoming homeless (4). With so many people being affected by this problem, something must be done to fight it. Homelessness is a tremendous problem, and there are many steps that must be taken if it is to ever end.
    First, more affordable housing must be built. In many countries, prices of homes are rising rapidly as a result of other problems such as economic inflation and overpopulation. However, obtaining permanent housing is a crucial step for those trying to get their lives back on track and improve their futures. Once they have secured homes for themselves, they can focus on fixing other problems in their lives holding them back. Furthermore, in many developing countries, it can be difficult for homeless individuals to find and maintain a job when they have no phone number or permanent address, not to mention a place in which to change their clothes and bathe. In order to change their lives around, they need to obtain some sort of home. Therefore, governments must grant more funding to the construction of subsidized housing. They can raise money for this by increasing taxes. Now, as mentioned in the national portion, taxpayers may complain about having the pay raised taxes to finance the building of affordable housing. However, in many developed countries, a large portion of taxes is used to pay for services for the homeless and poor such as Medicaid. If these people obtained homes and became stabilized, taxpayers would actually save money. Therefore, paying taxes now to help fund the construction of supportive housing will ultimately benefit them as well. Furthermore, the governments can also decrease military spending and use some of it to fund the housing. War is one of the major causes of homelessness throughout the world, destroying homes and villages, and tearing families apart (1). Moreover, a tremendous amount of natural resources and funding is put into military expansion, something that can only lead to more homelessness. The government should take a portion of these resources and money and put it to better use: funding the construction of more affordable housing. As for undeveloped and developing countries, as much money as possible should be set aside by governments to help pay for more housing for their citizens. Individuals can help by donating money to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, which builds simple, affordable housing all around the globe.
    In addition to housing, more money should be used to build transitional and emergency shelters. People living on streets are extremely vulnerable to changes in weather and in some places, can actually freeze to death. For example, in Ireland people die on the streets weekly as a result of a lack of housing and services (5). Homeless people are also often targets of violence and abuse, and would be much safer in shelters, where they are also given food and access to services and programs. Federal grants should be used to help fund existing shelters, as well as the construction of additional ones. The money used for this could come from increased taxes as well as decreased military spending in developed nations. As for undeveloped and developing countries, many of them are ridden with debt to foreign nations and are therefore unable to fund the building of housing and shelters for their homeless citizens. Perhaps developed nations, especially the G-8 nations, could consider canceling these debts and even give countries with serious homeless problems long-term, low-interest-rate loans to help finance the construction.
    Next, some cities in developed countries have laws prohibiting such things as “loitering”, “pan-handling”, and “vagrancy”, and allow police to arrest individuals who break these laws (2). In other words, homeless are prohibiting form residing outdoors and from begging. However, by arresting homeless people and giving them criminal records, all police are doing is making it even more difficult for them to secure and maintain jobs. Rather, these laws should be revoked, and instead of putting homeless in prison, police should guide them to shelters where they can receive the attention and assistance they need to get their lives back on track. Police, shelters, and service providers should all work together to help homeless populations as best as possible.
    Another important step in the fight against homelessness is understanding. In order to get to the “root of the problem” and find the best solutions, the government must grant additional funding for research and data collection on this issue. Doing so will also allow organizations to better meet the needs of the homeless population and tell service providers if they need to update certain services. Besides this, data collection can give organizations a better idea of the main factors that lead to homelessness and how to prevent the problem.
    One of the factors leading to homelessness is the inability to afford both food and shelter. When faced with a choice between the two, people will usually choose food, considering shelter the lower priority (4). More money needs to be given to food banks and shelters so that homeless and potentially homeless will be provided with adequate meals. If they no longer have to worry about scrounging up enough money to pay for their next meals, they no longer have to make a choice between food and shelter, and can focus all of their efforts on securing and maintaining housing. However, besides relieving homeless individuals from having to make a choice between food and shelter, extra funding for shelters and food banks is needed because having a good diet is extremely important. According to the Institute of Medicine, there are about 100,000 children homeless in the U.S. every night (4). There are millions more around the world. Many of these children rely on shelters and food banks for most of their food. Unfortunately, these meals are often very limited in nutritional value and are usually “high in salt, fat, preservatives, and empty calories” (4). Moreover, according to studies, a poor diet during childhood often causes long-term health and cognitive problems, which can compromise the children’s ability to find and maintain employment in the future. Therefore, shelters and food banks need additional funding so they can provide the homeless with better quality food. They can get this money from either private donations from individuals and organizations, or from the government.
    In addition to food and housing assistance, other services for the homeless and the potentially homeless are essential in helping them. However, the services needed by homeless populations vary in different areas, as the conditions being experienced by them are also different. For example, in the U.S. and other developed countries where some of the main causes of homelessness are domestic violence, mental illness, and addiction disorders, needed services include counseling, mental health facilities, and substance abuse programs. For these services, governments should increase taxes to help fund them, as they are crucial in helping people re-build their lives. Furthermore, as I mentioned before, taxpayers will ultimately save money by helping to fund these services now. In sub-Saharan Africa however, there are currently twenty five million orphaned children, twelve million of which were orphaned because of the AIDS epidemic (3). In addition to these kids, many millions more have parents who are ill and are unable to work, leaving the children the responsibility of providing for the entire family. As a result, kids have to drop out of school to get jobs and care for their sick parents (3). This is wrong; children should not be giving up education to watch over their parents. African countries should provide the needy families with services such as free education, access to free health care, food, and water. Kenya has tried out an idea in which cash grants were given directly to children most in need of the extra assistance. In this “project” five hundred households are given about $6.50 per “vulnerable or orphaned child” each month. While that amount may seem extremely small to us, it had a tremendous impact on those receiving the payments. Families had “better access to education and health care and improved nutrition” (3). Their standards of living rose from being given just that small amount of money. The other sub-Saharan African countries should follow Kenya in enacting this plan. However, funding for all of these services will be difficult to obtain. Hopefully private donations from individuals and organizations will be given to help pay for them. The governments of the countries themselves should create larger budgets to address these problems as well. Finally, as previously mentioned, wealthy developed countries should relieve these poorer nations of their past debts. This will allow the governments more money to spend on these services.
    Finally, in order to solve worldwide homelessness, the homeless problem must first be tackled on a local and national level. How can we solve global homelessness when we currently have three million homeless individuals in our own country? Sure, we can help undeveloped and developing nations by lending and donating money to help them out. However, if homelessness is ever to end, each country must take responsibility for their own citizens and take adequate action to improve their living situations. Only once a country has eradicated its own homeless problem can it fully focus on helping others.

    1) http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1309/is_n3/v25/ai_6811552
    2) http://www.nscahh.org/hunger.asp?id2=8800
    3) http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/4631911.stm
    4) http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Hea-Irr/Homelessness.html
    5) http://www.focusireland.ie/htm/housing_homelessness/facts_figures/causes.htm


    Realistically, what can be done about the issue of global homelessness? (Written by Tierney Morikawa)

    "On paper, [adequate housing for all] is...one of humanity's priorities. 'Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health & well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing & medical care, and necessary social services ...'

    These words, from Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, were written 50 years ago. Yet, as we approach the end of the 20th century, at least one out of five members of the human family doesn't 'have a proper home to live in."
    (From the September 1998 issue of Share International) (1)

    What are the "powers at be" not doing?

    When we look at global homelessness, we see that there is a lot more that should be done to combat the issue. However, part of the problem lies in the fact that the global homeless population is substantially large. In fact, the poverty level is so high in some third-world countries that the majority of the population could be considered homeless (on “American” standards). Many countries do not have the government infrastructure and money to aid their own citizens, and many that do have the resources are faced with other social and economic problems (in addition to the issue of homelessness) that also require government funds. Just like the U.S. government, these governments also have to make decisions as to where the money should go, and many governments place homelessness and international aid low on their priority list. The United States government, above all, spends a tremendous amount of money every year on its military. The U.S. Federal Budget for the 2006 fiscal year appropriated $410.8 billion to the “Defense-Military”, where as the “Housing & Urban Development” and “State & Other International Programs” funds were only granted $34.1 billion and $30.2 billion respectively (2). Yet war, itself, is a major cause of homelessness, driving innocent women, children, and families from their homes each year (3). Therefore, we are, in effect, spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a war that is exacerbating the problem of homelessness and causing thousands of innocent people to become refugees. In actuality, are we not creating more problems in our world?

    iraq child.jpg
    Picture found at: http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20040504_73.jpg

    Moreover, through warfare we create homeless problems internationally, but we and other wealthy nations fail to provide sufficient monetary aid to other countries in need of assistance. A report written by Anup Shah entitled The U.S. and Foreign Aid Assistance states that “there was an EU pledge to spend 0.56% of GNI on poverty reduction by 2010, and 0.7% by 2015. However, the donor governments promised to spend 0.7% of GNI on ODA (Official Development Assistance) at the UN General Assembly in 1970—some 35 years ago as of writing. The deadline for reaching that target was the mid-1970s.” Shah further states that “almost all rich nations fail this obligation.” He says, “Even though these targets and agendas have been set, year after year almost all rich nations have constantly failed to reach their agreed obligations of the 0.7% target. Instead of 0.7%, the amount of aid has been around 0.2 to 0.4%, some $100 billion short.” One can see from the charts (below) for 2005 that the U.S.’s dollar amount spent on ODA is significantly higher than all other countries. However, looking at the percentages of GNI, we see that the U.S.’s grant is lower than every other country’s but Portugal’s, and far lower than the UN target of 0.7% (4).


    Click on the thumbnail below to see the enlarged graphs of the Official Development Assistance Numbers and Percentages in 2005:

    ODA charts.png
    Charts found at: http://www.globalissues.org/i/aid/netoda2005.png

    (To view the full report entitled The U.S. and Foreign Aid Assistance click here:http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Debt/USAid.asp)


    Therefore, perhaps our nation (and other nations with high military budgets) should be spending less money on war and more money on homelessness programs and international Official Development Assistance. Who knows? Maybe our international relations would improve, if we were dropping monetary grants on our neighbors’ soil rather than explosive weapons. Maybe we wouldn’t “need” such a large military budget, if we cared enough to reach out to people in need on a global scale.


    What impact could you have to change the current situation?

    - You can give monetary donations or volunteer some of your time to the American Red Cross (year-round or during emergencies). You can also join their mailing list to receive monthly news, tips, and disaster updates. Visit http://www.redcross.org/ for more information. (*Note: The Red Cross consists of several chapters and operates worldwide.)

    - If you are handy with a hammer and saw, (or are willing to learn how to become handy with a hammer and saw), you might consider building houses for the poor and homeless with Habitat for Humanity. This organization operates on the local, national, and global levels. To find more information about this organization visit http://www.habitat.org

    - If you are a compassionate, dedicated person who is willing to devote himself/herself to fighting international poverty and homelessness for an extended period of time, you might consider joining the Peace Corps (http://www.peacecorps.gov/).

    - If you are eighteen years of age or older, you can also have an impact politically. Let your voice be heard through your vote. If you care about stopping the spread of homelessness, vote for candidates who have homelessness and international aid as high priorities on their agendas.

    For more information on homeless relief organizations or on how you can help to end global homelessness, visit one or more of the following websites below:

    http://www.bread.org/learn/links.html

    http://www.oxfamamerica.org/whatyoucando/act_now/fast/sponsors

    http://www.homeless.org/sp/Homeless+Resources

    http://www.homeless.org.au/directory/


    What might the future global homelessness problem look like if conditions continue in their present state indefinitely?

    While we might never be able to eliminate homelessness completely, we do have the power to taper the problem. If our world population continues to grow at its rapid rate and we do not address the issue of homelessness, our problems will only worsen. As a student Homeless Resource Guide stated, “Another cause of national and international homelessness is that of overpopulation. The earth might seem large and unlimited, but the natural resources needed to sustain human life are finite. This problem becomes clear when there are too many people living in one place… If you were to visit Calcutta, India’s capital city, you would see millions of thin, sickly people who sleep in the streets and beg for food” (2). As cities grow, so does the problem of homelessness. A country can undergo development; but if it does not have a firm foundation to support its poorer citizens, the country can only progress so far. Moreover, as a country develops, property values increase, and it becomes increasingly difficult for people to obtain affordable housing. Therefore, the housing issues must be addressed now before countries attempt further development.
    Executive Coordinator of Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya, Daniel Biau, says, “International agencies have not yet understood that the 21st century will be the century of cities. Poverty and homelessness will more and more be concentrated there, and the international community has to do more to help developing countries” (1). If we do not address the international homelessness problem now, we are failing as human citizens. We have a responsibility to take care of one another. Richer individuals and nations have the responsibility to aid poorer ones. This is our opportunity to express compassion on a local, national and global level. This is our opportunity to prove that adequate housing for all is one of humanity’s top priorities.

    Sources:

    (1) http://www.shareintl.org/archives/homelessness/hl-mlaroof.htm

    (2) http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2007/pdf/07msr.pdf

    (3) http://www.state.ia.us/educate/ecese/is/homeless/middle/lesson6_middle.html

    (4) http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Debt/USAid.asp

    Global Energy

    The History of Global Energy by Edward Vause
    In a physics class, you learn that “energy” is the ability to do work. If we simply apply this definition, we find that energy has been a big, if not the biggest, deciding factor in the wealth and overall standard of living in a country. Whether in the form of electricity, labor, propulsion, heat or whatnot, the more energy obtainable the better. So certainly the more energy per cost the better. That is why, e.g., some argue that one reason the American economy became so strong was because of its utilization of slavery: free energy.

    The issues that we are considering revolve around electrical energy, which is converted from some other form, most popularly, the form of fossil fuels. This form has an extreme concentration of energy, so it may come to no surprise that this plentiful and relatively cheap form is the most popular. Burning just one tablespoon of gasoline will provide the same energy as a brick traveling at 150 miles per hour! Such fossil fuels take millions of years, on geological timescales, to form, but since the industrial revolution, we’ve been thoughtlessly burning this attractive but limited energy source, until recently. Today we see how this source is limited, and we have, to some extent, been using other sources too.

    In the 16th and 17th centuries, Britain was the wealthiest and most powerful country. Not surprisingly, it had huge quantities of coal and made good use of the steam engine. Britain was economically unparalleled by every other country, due to not only its material resources, but also its extensive energy.

    coal_minersjpg.jpg Coal Miners from England
    http://www.scan.org.uk/education/coal/img/home_img.jpg

    During the industrial revolution, coal was the most important fuel. At the turn of the century, when the automobile was becoming popular gasoline suddenly went into high demand. However now, with dwindling fossil fuel supplies, hybrid cars have come into demand, due to the recent increases in oil costs. Nuclear energy is the other major energy source now. In 1957, the first commercial nuclear plant began operating. Today, nuclear energy is widely used in developed countries, and is the source of 20% of the United States’ electrical energy.

    But the dwindling of fossil fuels is where our problem here emerges. Recently, we all know about the great rises in the cost per barrel of oil, but I would like to mention two significant events, that both occurred in the 1970s.

    The first was in 1973, during the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced that it would be no longer exporting to countries in support of Israel, including, of course, the United States and Western Europe. This is called an oil shock, when the supply goes down suddenly and the price jumps. A similar event would take place again in 1979, due to a disruption in Iranian exports, because of the Iranian Revolution.

    Recently, we have been hearing about nearly all U.S. interest in the Middle East revolving around the oil there. People will have different opinions on this because of political views, but in this day and age, it certainly cannot be ignored how reliant most of the world is on Middle-Eastern oil.


    The Present Day Energy Crisis and Oil Peak
    by Kevin Service

    Energy is the hot topic in today’s technological world. We constantly hear words like, “Energy crisis,” and “alternative forms of energy” and all of this chatter is for one thing: the need to supply energy. It is almost inarguable that there is a controversy revolving around energy, some may say that we’re doing fine, and some will say that we need to change our methods of obtaining energy. Accusations are being thrown at oil companies for being too greedy, and not revealing to the public the extent of the “crisis.” Oil is one of the most talked about issues nowadays. Oil is mainly used for transportation purposes, heating, and producing plastics and synthetic fibers. Some experts warn that we have reached an “Oil Peak” which is the point where the population of the world is consuming more oil then its inhabitants can find. Other experts disagree and say we won’t for another decade, and even other experts declare that we won’t reach the Oil Peak for another couple decades. The problem occurs when people become to busy arguing about when this issue will happen and aren’t spending time and resources into forms of energy that will last for hundreds of years. The involvement of the United States in the Middle East is often criticized as a bid for oil, but no officials have made this an official declaration.

    peak_oil.gif http://www.jakeg.co.uk/dissertation/peak_oil.gif

    Another ‘energy’ issue is the electric supply issue. Most companies provide electricity through a couple of means, usually hydroelectric, and nuclear. There have been great technological breakthroughs to attempt and avoid using nuclear power, but it is an uphill battle. Even after incidents like Three-Mile-Island and Chernobyl, some countries are hesitant to change out the nuclear power plants that have been recently constructed in the past 50 years. Sweden is a country that is aiming to rid itself completely of nuclear power in the next 10 years, and Italy has already accomplished that. The issue is that Italy is investing in other European countries for them to produce their nuclear power. Italy is merely saving its own people from the hazards and is pressuring other countries to supply even more electricity. Some countries such as Iran and North Korea wish to actually have nuclear power because they believe it is the most effective way to bring their countries up to par with the many other powers.

    Radical Changes Can be Made by Kevin Service

    The ideal solution to all of this is to provide the current eco-friendly forms of energy production to everyday living. There are many forms of alternative energy that aren’t quite as cost effective, but are much safer and are renewable, so they pay off in the long run. Some energy activists have advised for a “Soft Energy” path, which doesn’t for large nuclear plants, or dams. Instead the “Soft Energy” path is designed to be a diverse way of providing power to everyone. This way one form of energy cannot fail and reduce a part of a country to its knees. In the ideal world we would be able to rapidly convert the world from “Hard Energy” users to “Soft Energy” users, by giving massive government benefits to “Energy Farmers.” These Energy Farmers could utilize wind, solar, water, fuel cell, and even biomass (breaking down organic matter to produce a natural gas.) These energy farmers could sell their energy to the Electric Company for their region/county/city, and in case something happens, like a terribly cloudy day, one can still get their energy from the other forms of energy. The other great thing would be to solar panel every inch of the skyscrapers in cities. This way, the skyscrapers can help produce energy for themselves, so they aren’t drawing as much from energy farmers. This radical path would help solve the many hazards and issues concerning both nuclear power and oil.

    windfarm.jpg A Windfarm off the coast of Denmark
    http://www.power-technology.com/projects/middelgrunden/images/Figure_F.jpg


    The Needed Changes
    by Kevin Service

    In the real world, this sort of massive change into a new form of obtaining energy will not happen anytime soon. Energy so far is an issue on levels that avoid allowing independent corporations or ‘farmers’ to produce massive amounts of energy. Instead countries invest money into corporations to put up wind farms, but then the issue of where can these alternative energy sources like windmills and solar panels go? Each independent nation is focused on how to fix its own problems it fails to see the global picture in 300 years. One of the untapped areas for “green energy” is Africa. This still developing continent could be the world’s next energy exporter. These countries have the perfect locations for solar panels, hydroelectric, and probably wind generation in some areas. Hopefully one of the world powers won’t try to take advantage of Africa to get what it wants, and instead Africa as a continental body can work out its differences to possibly supply Europe with massive amounts of clean, hazard free energy. The energy issue is a monstrosity that many nations are simply ignoring, while others are taking huge steps to fix the problems. The advancements of nano-technology will be able to help make alternative forms of energy more viable, but until then we as individuals can stop consuming so much energy. Turn off the TV before you go to sleep, get solar heating for your hot water, and no one has to stay up until 3:00 with the lights on. Imagine how much energy that could be saved from just going to sleep a little earlier.

    Sources:
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/
    http://www.energy.gov/
    http://www.opec.org/home/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_energy_path
    Energy Alternatives, by the Opposing Viewpoints series
    Renewable Energy, by Daniel Deudney & Christopher Flavin

    What is the Current Situation Globally?

    Although we have already posted up information about the quality of
    Hawaii’s and the United States’ public primary education, the current
    situation of the issue around the world is far more important. The
    children who attend early schools in the United States are educated in
    Taj Mahal’s compared to some children around the world. Afghan students
    are taught underneath trees because Taliban militants burn their
    tent-schools to the ground. There are kids out there that don’t even
    have a designated building to learn in. It’s just sad to see children
    being deprived of their right to an education.
    If we look at the current situation of education in Afghanistan, it’s
    horrible. There have been 204 reported cases of attacks on schools,
    teachers and students since January of 2005.¹ Beheadings, murders and
    rocket attacks have increased. Islamic extremist groups and Afghan
    warlords are believed to be behind these cruel acts. Within the past
    four months, 120 schools have been burned to the ground. Insurgents
    claim that according to the Islamic tradition, girls are not allowed an
    education.² The fact that these schools are teaching other subjects
    besides religion also causes a stir in emotions. Without a decent
    education, children are more easily encouraged to join forces and take
    arms. Such ploys of depriving a human child of an education are immoral.
    In many countries gender plays a significant role. As we have seen in
    Afghanistan, schools are burnt and targeted at because they afford
    females an education. Besides government intervention or lack of social
    spending, Gender discrimination has got to be the most difficult
    quagmire of the goal of giving children around the world an education.
    It starts even before the girl is given a decision to receive an
    education. Girls are generally not expected to achieve much. So
    therefore, with low expectations, low achievements will follow. Many
    times families can barely afford to send their children to school and
    when having to make the decision between sending a boy or girl to
    school, the boy is usually sent, believed to be the better investment.
    Even if girls are allowed to go to school, most of the time, schools
    are very distant from their homes. The journey to get to school and
    back can be
    Overall, there has been an improvement in the goal of educating the
    world. 10 million more children went to school every year during this
    decade, the adult literacy rate rose 85% in males and 74% in females.³
    There has been a general improvement in the literacy of people around the world but the main issue still exists. Governments don’t realize the harm in doing nothing. There are many children dying around the world for just going to school. So, next time you grovel about going to school, think about those kids that are risking their lives just to learn the ABC’s.

    ¹http://www.nytimes.com/glogin?URI=http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Afghan-Schools-Under-Attack.html&OQ=_rQ3D2&OP=be72afcQ2FAn!KAQ5BWQ3EGJWWF4Al6WYXjY!AnWJXQ5BAiHgiLEwlYgPQ3EwWWXGgNYQ5B!JgiFFlQ3EZ7wFRX
    ²http://www.iran-daily.com/1385/2607/html/panorama.htm#s157881
    ³http://www.unicef.org/girlseducation/index_access.html

    Global Energy Crisis

    The History of Global Energy
    In a physics class, you learn that “energy” is the ability to do work. If we simply apply this definition, we find that energy has been a big, if not the biggest, deciding factor in the wealth and overall standard of living in a country. Whether in the form of electricity, labor, propulsion, heat or whatnot, the more energy obtainable the better. So certainly the more energy per cost the better. That is why, e.g., some argue that one reason the American economy became so strong was because of its utilization of slavery: free energy.

    The issues that we are considering revolve around electrical energy, which is converted from some other form, most popularly, the form of fossil fuels. This form has an extreme concentration of energy, so it may come to no surprise that this plentiful and relatively cheap form is the most popular. Burning just one tablespoon of gasoline will provide the same energy as a brick traveling at 150 miles per hour! Such fossil fuels take millions of years, on geological timescales, to form, but since the industrial revolution, we’ve been thoughtlessly burning this attractive but limited energy source, until recently. Today we see how this source is limited, and we have, to some extent, been using other sources too.

    In the 16th and 17th centuries, Britain was the wealthiest and most powerful country. Not surprisingly, it had huge quantities of coal and made good use of the steam engine. Britain was economically unparalleled by every other country, due to not only its material resources, but also its extensive energy.

    coal_minersjpg.jpg Coal Miners from England
    http://www.scan.org.uk/education/coal/img/home_img.jpg

    During the industrial revolution, coal was the most important fuel. At the turn of the century, when the automobile was becoming popular gasoline suddenly went into high demand. However now, with dwindling fossil fuel supplies, hybrid cars have come into demand, due to the recent increases in oil costs. Nuclear energy is the other major energy source now. In 1957, the first commercial nuclear plant began operating. Today, nuclear energy is widely used in developed countries, and is the source of 20% of the United States’ electrical energy.

    But the dwindling of fossil fuels is where our problem here emerges. Recently, we all know about the great rises in the cost per barrel of oil, but I would like to mention two significant events, that both occurred in the 1970s.

    The first was in 1973, during the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced that it would be no longer exporting to countries in support of Israel, including, of course, the United States and Western Europe. This is called an oil shock, when the supply goes down suddenly and the price jumps. A similar event would take place again in 1979, due to a disruption in Iranian exports, because of the Iranian Revolution.

    Recently, we have been hearing about nearly all U.S. interest in the Middle East revolving around the oil there. People will have different opinions on this because of political views, but in this day and age, it certainly cannot be ignored how reliant most of the world is on Middle-Eastern oil.


    The Present Day Energy Crisis and Oil Peak

    Energy is the hot topic in today’s technological world. We constantly hear words like, “Energy crisis,” and “alternative forms of energy” and all of this chatter is for one thing: the need to supply energy. It is almost inarguable that there is a controversy revolving around energy, some may say that we’re doing fine, and some will say that we need to change our methods of obtaining energy. Accusations are being thrown at oil companies for being too greedy, and not revealing to the public the extent of the “crisis.” Oil is one of the most talked about issues nowadays. Oil is mainly used for transportation purposes, heating, and producing plastics and synthetic fibers. Some experts warn that we have reached an “Oil Peak” which is the point where the population of the world is consuming more oil then its inhabitants can find. Other experts disagree and say we won’t for another decade, and even other experts declare that we won’t reach the Oil Peak for another couple decades. The problem occurs when people become to busy arguing about when this issue will happen and aren’t spending time and resources into forms of energy that will last for hundreds of years. The involvement of the United States in the Middle East is often criticized as a bid for oil, but no officials have made this an official declaration.

    peak_oil.gif http://www.jakeg.co.uk/dissertation/peak_oil.gif

    Another ‘energy’ issue is the electric supply issue. Most companies provide electricity through a couple of means, usually hydroelectric, and nuclear. There have been great technological breakthroughs to attempt and avoid using nuclear power, but it is an uphill battle. Even after incidents like Three-Mile-Island and Chernobyl, some countries are hesitant to change out the nuclear power plants that have been recently constructed in the past 50 years. Sweden is a country that is aiming to rid itself completely of nuclear power in the next 10 years, and Italy has already accomplished that. The issue is that Italy is investing in other European countries for them to produce their nuclear power. Italy is merely saving its own people from the hazards and is pressuring other countries to supply even more electricity. Some countries such as Iran and North Korea wish to actually have nuclear power because they believe it is the most effective way to bring their countries up to par with the many other powers.

    Radical Changes Can be Made

    The ideal solution to all of this is to provide the current eco-friendly forms of energy production to everyday living. There are many forms of alternative energy that aren’t quite as cost effective, but are much safer and are renewable, so they pay off in the long run. Some energy activists have advised for a “Soft Energy” path, which doesn’t for large nuclear plants, or dams. Instead the “Soft Energy” path is designed to be a diverse way of providing power to everyone. This way one form of energy cannot fail and reduce a part of a country to its knees. In the ideal world we would be able to rapidly convert the world from “Hard Energy” users to “Soft Energy” users, by giving massive government benefits to “Energy Farmers.” These Energy Farmers could utilize wind, solar, water, fuel cell, and even biomass (breaking down organic matter to produce a natural gas.) These energy farmers could sell their energy to the Electric Company for their region/county/city, and in case something happens, like a terribly cloudy day, one can still get their energy from the other forms of energy. The other great thing would be to solar panel every inch of the skyscrapers in cities. This way, the skyscrapers can help produce energy for themselves, so they aren’t drawing as much from energy farmers. This radical path would help solve the many hazards and issues concerning both nuclear power and oil.

    windfarm.jpg A Windfarm off the coast of Denmark
    http://www.power-technology.com/projects/middelgrunden/images/Figure_F.jpg


    The Needed Changes

    In the real world, this sort of massive change into a new form of obtaining energy will not happen anytime soon. Energy so far is an issue on levels that avoid allowing independent corporations or ‘farmers’ to produce massive amounts of energy. Instead countries invest money into corporations to put up wind farms, but then the issue of where can these alternative energy sources like windmills and solar panels go? Each independent nation is focused on how to fix its own problems it fails to see the global picture in 300 years. One of the untapped areas for “green energy” is Africa. This still developing continent could be the world’s next energy exporter. These countries have the perfect locations for solar panels, hydroelectric, and probably wind generation in some areas. Hopefully one of the world powers won’t try to take advantage of Africa to get what it wants, and instead Africa as a continental body can work out its differences to possibly supply Europe with massive amounts of clean, hazard free energy. The energy issue is a monstrosity that many nations are simply ignoring, while others are taking huge steps to fix the problems. The advancements of nano-technology will be able to help make alternative forms of energy more viable, but until then we as individuals can stop consuming so much energy. Turn off the TV before you go to sleep, get solar heating for your hot water, and no one has to stay up until 3:00 with the lights on. Imagine how much energy that could be saved from just going to sleep a little earlier.

    Sources:
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/
    http://www.energy.gov/
    http://www.opec.org/home/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_energy_path
    Energy Alternatives, by the Opposing Viewpoints series
    Renewable Energy, by Daniel Deudney & Christopher Flavin

    July 17, 2006

    Child Care in the World

    What has happened Internationally for ChildCare

    The International Child Resource Institute was one of the first organizations to try and connect other programs to a worldwide scale. In 1978 the idea was founded when a group of child advocates in Stockholm identified the lack of a linking system to provide access to information on programs serving children and families throughout the world.(4)

    ICRI was created in 1981 to draw together this information and provide an international linkage between agencies, organizations, and individuals concerned with children and families. This linkage then allowed ICRI to refine and reproduce programs of proven success.(4)

    Since 1981, ICRI has been providing services for families and children locally and around the world. ICRI makes a difference by providing technical assistance and consultation to a wide variety of national and international organizations, businesses, governments, non-profits and others interested in such children’s issues as child care, child abuse prevention, child survival, maternal and child health, placement alternatives for abandoned and traumatized children and the promotion of children’s rights.(4)

    The International Labor Organization(ILO) is somewhat monitoring child care on the global scale. The reasons for the founding of the ILO are listed below.

    “The initial motivation was humanitarian. The condition of workers, more and more numerous and exploited with no consideration for their health, their family lives and their advancement, was less and less acceptable. This preoccupation appears clearly in the Preamble of the Constitution of the ILO, where it is stated, "conditions of labor exist involving ... injustice, hardship and privation to large numbers of people. "(1)

    Child care is partly regulated by them because it affects their families’ lives. Because there are a greater percentage of women in the working force now their needs to be adequate child care standards to be followed internationally.

    “The second motivation was political. Without an improvement in their condition, the workers, whose numbers were ever increasing as a result of industrialization, would create social unrest, even revolution. The Preamble notes that injustice produces "unrest so great that the peace and harmony of the world are imperiled."(1)

    Because of its inevitable effect on the cost of production, any industry or country adopting social reform would find itself at a disadvantage vis-à-vis its competitors. The Preamble states that "the failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions of labor is an obstacle in the way of other nations which desire to improve the conditions in their own countries."(1)

    This fact is a little confusing because it seems that other countries have much better child care systems that the United States, and this would affect the labor provided by the parents. “France has an excellent child care system that is as close to universal as possible. From the age of birth to 2 ½ - 3 a child can be placed in either a Crèche (Communal Nursery) or in the home of an Assistante Maternelle (Nanny). Once a child reaches the ages of between 2 ½ - 3 he or she can be enrolled in an école maternelle (Pre-School). None of these are compulsory as schooling in France is not obligatory until a child reaches the age of 5 years.” (2) Or instead of a Crèche the parents may choose to hire an Assistante Maternelle.

    Assistante Maternelle's are regulated by the state and must be certified, regularly inspected and attend classes. Depending on the ages of the children an Assistante Maternelle can have from one to five children in her care. The parents employ the Assistante Maternelle, with the parents paying the take home salary and the state paying the social, health and retirement benefits. It is possible for the parents to receive state aid that pays some of the Assistante Maternelle salary, for this to happen the parents need to declare that they have hired the Assistante Maternelle. This is done through the URSAFF.(2)

    Many of the European nations also pay for a large portion of child care.

    Both daycare and early education are characterised by mixed public and private provision, funded by the Flemish Government. Education from 2.5 years is free, with supplementary investments given to schools catering for low-income/ethnic areas and families. Kleuterschool are operated by the different networks (see above), each group being financed or subsidised by the Government.

    In the subsidised care sector, parents pay fees, according to income, on average, 25.5% of actual costs indaycare centres and 69.4% of costs in family daycare (2001). All parents are granted tax benefits to recuperate these costs, up to 100% of daily costs. Services (daycare centres and familydaycare) are mostly used by working mothers in dual-income families, although statistics show that there is also a strong uptake by single-parent families.

    0-1 year: In the first year, maternal care predominates. Between 6 months and 1 year, about 52% of children use daycare (centres, family daycare and informal daycare. Because tax relief is offered to families that use care supervised by Kind & Gezin, the use of informal daycare is limited.

    1-3 years : From 1-2.5 years, about 55% of children use daycare, 28.8% on a full-time basis and 71.2% part-time. From 2.5 years, only 31.7% of children still use daycare. Overall from 1 to 3 years, 25.7% of children use a daycare centre, 38.3% a family daycare facility, 1.4% an out-of-school facility, and 33.6% informal daycare, usually grandparents (2001). Daycare centres are often open 10-12 hours per day.

    2.5–5 years: 85% coverage at 2.5 years in free pre-primary school. Almost 100% coverage at 3- 4 years (at 98.4% in 1997-98). The pre-primary school opens daily (half-day Wednesday) from 8.30 - 15.30, with after-school care if needed.(3)

    Another reason for the creation of the International Labor Organization was added by the participants of the Peace Conference, linked to the end of the war to which workers had contributed significantly both on the battlefield and in industry. This idea appears at the very beginning of the Constitution: "universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice."(1)


    “The opinion of Mary Daly, who edited of Child Care as a Human Right A New Prospective on an Old Debate, says the causes of neglect in child care are: the universality and taken-for-grantedness of the caring; the fact that economists and statisticians have failed to measure the extent or value of this work; and the legacy of the belief that this form of work was unproductive labor”(8)

    This is a good point because all the studies shown have been showing how the students progress so much with schoolwork and childcare, none showing what they loose by not being brought up by their own parents. Spending time with them, and learning from them.

    “In the study there is also a section written by someone from each country to tell of their current situations. And answer the following questions What is the role of the state in making care available for dependents (children, the aged, persons with disabilities)? By what means should carers be compensated? Should it be by payments to the person in need of care or to the provider? Should it be for low-income persons only? Will care work be less valued when it is done not out of love or duty but for remuneration? “(8)
    “Paid parental leave is one of the subjects covered in Chapter 2. This policy, strangely, is endorsed throughout Western Europe, in all countries except the United Kingdom and Ireland. These latter countries and Italy, however, are quite generous regarding care provisions at the other end of the age spectrum. In other countries where family solidarity is stronger and family care (usually by female relatives) a given, there is less reliance on government funding. Chapter 3 pursues this theme further with a focus on gender. The author's singling out of the Scandinavian "dual earner model" is helpful. The Scandinavian model recognizes the need for family care and imparts permission for workers to exit the labor market without penalty. Swedish "lone" (or single) mothers get almost as much income from the state as they do from earnings.” (8)
    “The chapters of Part II discuss care arrangements in India, Brazil, and Russia. The interdependence and male gender-bias themes are key to East Indian child rearing; care of the elderly becomes a problem under conditions of modernization. The Brazilian and Russian social structures are characterized by great social inequality; in Russia higher income families qualify for higher monthly child allowances than do poor families.”(8)
    “The writers of Part III explore social benefits in Finland where informal care has been transformed from a public to a private matter; universalism of care is the theme. Nevertheless, the attention to the needs of the elderly has failed to match the generous provisions for small children. In the Netherlands, care is becoming highly privatized; care dependents such as the frail elderly are given personal budgets with which to purchase the services they need. The third chapter of this section discusses relevant issues in the provision of services in the U.S. such as the distress of managed health care limitations. The availability of unpaid family leaves for some employees is shown to be clearly inadequate to the need. Elder care provisions are clearly inadequate, forcing many nursing home residents to have to exhaust their personal resources before Medicaid pitches in.”(8)

    “While domestic advocates within the United States have long argued for an expansion of government-supported child care, the significance of child care's status as an international human right has not been explored. In other nations, international law has played an important role in spurring governments to expand childcare services. Reframing the child care issue in the United States as a question of international human rights could be an effective way to enlist new allies, posit new paradigms, re-energize the child care debate and shift the domestic focus toward more progressive models.”(8)

    http://www.haworthpress.com/store/ArticleAbstract.asp?sid=PQCPF6MN8M8H9HKELVC34QQFCGJSE2AC&ID=60395


    1. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/about/history.htm
    2. http://www.americansinfrance.net/MovingPlanner/Childcare_in_France.cfm
    3. https://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/32/1942279.pdf
    4. http://www.icrichild.org/aboutus.asp?page=mission
    5. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CYZ/is_2_30/ai_101762553/pg_3
    6. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CYZ/is_2_30/ai_101762553/pg_2
    7. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CYZ/is_2_30/ai_101762553/pg_1
    8. http://www.haworthpress.com/store/articleabstract.asp?sid=PQCPF6MN8M8H9HKELVC34QQFCGJSE2AC&ID=90395

    Author: Zach Cutts

    Why isn’t More Being Done or Do We Need to do More?

    America is not the only place that is dealing with poor early childhood development. In many rural areas around the world young children are not receiving the proper attention that they need. If you were to turn on your TV late at night you might find yourself watching one of those save the children, feed the children, aloha united way, UNICEF promos asking, no, pleading for your help to feed one starving child or cloth one freezing infant. It is said that they have to say things like, “It only cost you pennies a day.” Well if it only cost pennies why can’t people give more. I personally think that it is a little said that so few people seem to think of the well being of all mankind, while instead worrying what color the new Nike’s might come out in.
    On the other end of the spectrum there are countries like Japan, and the United Kingdom have excellent childhood development programs. Japan has many programs that allow people to send their children to good institution that promote childhood development. Japanese high school students also are one of the highest scoring countries when it comes to placement exams. Is their a connection? Many experts believe that there is.
    On a global level there should be more money spent on something that is as important as early childhood development. There are many countries, for example the United States that spends more money on just defense and homeland security than the next six other countries combined, while the United States government is cutting back many of the early childhood development programs such as Head Start. The solution is quite simple, more money should be and could be given to programs that support the idea of early childhood development. It’s shouldn’t be a matter of even why the money should be given to early childhood development groups, but why not. Are our next generations not important enough for us to spend that little bit of extra money to help as a community instead of think as a nation or race, but much more importantly, as a species?
    I personally could give a little more to UNICEF, or the Aloha United away, or to any of those types of groups that help children develop to their full potential. I could give more of my time to volunteer work at local Head Starts, or speak out to the community about how important our children will be in the future. If something is not done soon I don’t honestly know what may happen. We may see a rise in adults with social issues. Poorer countries may stay poor due to the lack of funding they receive to educate their young people. Nothing may change, but why should we take that chance? If nothing is done then there will be future implications that we can’t foresee. Children are our most useful resource, but some people just don’t seem to care because they won’t be around when those problems finally hit the fan. Again though, we do we take that chance of it happening in our lifetime and why do we not care. All these questions must be answered. By who, I don’t know, but answered they must be.


    Author: Austin Ames


    The Global Status of Childcare


    Despite being the wealthiest country in the world, the United States is
    actually lagging behind many countries in early education and
    childcare. Studies show that less than 40% of 3 year olds and 60% of 4
    year olds attend an early education program. In France, nearly 100% of
    3 and 4 year olds attend a government funded early education program
    (1). Workers at these French early education programs are well paid and
    therefore are more motivated to care for children (2). Due to the
    simple laws of supply and demand, the higher pay makes for a larger
    supply of workers. Low wages are one of the problems that American
    early education workers face (3).

    France isn’t the only country ahead of the United States in terms of
    preschool participation. 90% of 5 year olds in Japan, and over 80% in
    Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Italy attend
    kindergarten. The United States’ attendance is just under 80% (1). The
    difference in the attendance may not be great, but the difference in
    our GDP (wealth) is. If we’re so rich and awesome, why can’t we have
    100% attendance like France? One reason may be the freedom of the
    United States. Parents are required to send their children to preschool
    or kindergarten, so not all do. However, studies in Canada have shown
    that sending a child to a government funded childcare program can
    greatly reduce a family’s cost of living (2).

    Another reason for the United States’ lag in childcare may be the lack
    of funding. In France, it is considered a necessity and is publicly
    funded. The high cost can easily turn away many parents (4). The prices
    are high and the wages for the teachers are low. Nobody wants to go and
    nobody wants to stay (5). If we truly want no child to be left behind,
    how can we allow ourselves to fall behind in early education, the first
    step of the process (6)?


    1. http://zfacts.com/p/717.html
    2. http://www.childcarecanada.org/CPAG_CCEF/moms_welfare/four.html
    3. http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/study_ece_summary
    4. http://www2.asanet.org/media/childcare.html
    5. http://nieer.org/docs/index.php?DocID=74
    6.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/01/29/EDG5TG19L51.DTL

    Author: Kenji Kadowaki


    What YOU can do to Help the World

    There are two to help raise funds for specific child care companies. One way would be to donate money yourself. Here is a list of some child care companies that a person could donate to and help the global child care problem.
    • “Healthy Child Care” at http://www.globalhealthychildcare.org/default.aspx?language=content&content_id=161
    Lisa Ruth Shulman
    lisaruth@icrichild.org.
    International Child Resource Institute
    1581 LeRoy Avenue
    Berkeley, California 94708
    U.S.A.
    Phone 510.644.1000
    Fax 510.525.4106

    • International Child Resource Institute at http://www.icrichild.org/getinvolved.asp?page=donate
    Mailing Address:
    1581 Leroy Avenue
    Berkeley, CA 94708
    USA
    PHONE: (510) 644-1000
    FAX: (510) 525-4106
    E-MAIL: info@icrichild.org
    • Child Car Ministries at http://www.childcareministries.org/
    • International Child Care at http://www.intlchildcare.org/index.php
    United States
    International Child Care
    3620 North High Street, Suite 110
    Columbus, OH 43214
    1-800-722-4453
    1-614-447-9952
    Email: ICCUSA@intlchildcare.org


    Ask companies and businesses to donate by writing letters. Some companies you could write too might include: Mircrosoft, Lowes, Home Depot, GM, or Ford. A sample letter might look like this.

    Dear (Company),

    Global Healthy Childcare promotes and maintains child health and reduces illness and injuries in child care. A number of companies support this important cause, including IBM Global Work Life Fund, WFD Consulting, Inc., International Child Resource Institute, and Michael Osborne Design.
    A partnership with Global Healthy Childcare will produce positive results for our children and economy. In addition, it will result in positive publicity for your company. I sincerely hope that you will consider forming a partnership with global healthy child care. In order to do so, contact Lisa Ruth Shulman
    lisaruth@icrichild.org.
    International Child Resource Institute
    1581 LeRoy Avenue
    Berkeley, California 94708
    U.S.A.
    Phone 510.644.1000
    Fax 510.525.4106

    This is just a sample letter. You can switch the name of the child care service that you would like to donate to or the company that you ask to help support the child care service that you choose.

    Another way to help the global child care problem is to lend yourself to the cause. By becoming a child care provider or teacher you can help alleviate the problem. By visiting the International Child Resource Institute at http://www.icrichild.org/jobs/jobs_home.asp
    You will be connected to employers across the country who are seeking people to work at their child care facilities. One could also volunteer therefore donating time to the child care cause. You can get more information here http://www.icrichild.org/getinvolved.asp?page=volunteer
    Some jobs you might see are:
    • Marketing Associate
    • Newsletter Contributor
    • Office Assistant
    • Event Planner
    • Contacts Network Coordinator
    • Volunteer Coordination
    Contact ICRIchild@aol.com or info@icrichild.org if you are interested in volunteering your time to help.

    Another way to help the global child care cause is to raise awareness. One way to do this would be to write a letter to your local newspaper editor about the child care issue and what can be done. Be sure to include the positive benefits of child care and some things you can do included on this website in your letter.


    Author: Josh Cutts

    Global Wage Issues

    In order to understand minimum wages on a global level, this paper will consider the labor situations of three areas in depth: China, India, and Europe. Historically, wages in China have been notoriously low. However, wages have been increasing due to a recent worker shortage, and may exceed the price of India's employment. Some European countries, in constrast, have instated a higher minimum wage that the United States'. However, these minimum wage laws are often not substantial enough to reach that nation's poverty line. There has been some discussion of a global minimum wage law. A law like this would have benefits, but it could also harm the global economy.

    CHINA'S LABOR HISTORY
    Unfortunately, it is difficult to find reliable statistics of China. The few records that exist are not comprehensive, and it is hard to cross-reference due to differences in payment schedules and currency. A common form of payment in China was tael, 37 grams of unminted silver. During the 1700s and early 1800s, wages in China slightly but steadily increased. In 1976, the average daily wage for unskilled workers was 0.03 tael. In 1813, the average wage was abour 0.04 tael. Those who lived in large cities received higher pay, due to a higher cost of living. The highest wages were earned in Manchuria and Xinjiang, and the lowest in Fujian.(1) In the late nineteenth century, wages rose to about 0.08 tael per day. Although this seems like a large increase, workers in China recieved far less payment than Europeans performing similar jobs. However, the standard of living of Chinese workers was comparable to European workers.(1)
    China became increasingly urban. Many poor families moved away from the countryside and into cities to earn a living. In the 1960s and 1970s, China attempted to curb the migration. Rural to urban migration increased federal spending in the form of social services and road maintainance. Also, because the number of farmers were decreasing, the supply of agricultural goods decreased, causing their prices to rise. To reduce these labor costs, China focused on developing industries that relied heavily on capital (buildings, factories, and other man-made resources) and a smaller labor force. This led to a surplus in laborers, forcing unskilled workers to compete for extremely low-paying jobs.(2)
    Foreign companies were enticed by China's huge supply of willing workers. China also encouraged business by forming Special Economic Zones; businesses established in these areas were given special tax breaks, and the power to determine the size and pay of their work force.(2)
    CHINA'S CURRENT SITUATION
    Companies have long enjoyed this labor surplus. For the 88 million farmers who migrated to cities, wages are extremely low. The average wage for an unskilled worker in 2004 was between $58 and $74 a month.(3) Many of these workers lacked health insurance, job security, and power to change working conditions. Chinese factory laborers are paid 64 cents an hour, including wages and social insurance. This average includes more than 70 million suburban and rural factory workers are paid 45 cents per hour. In contrast, United States factory workers earn $21.11 per hour.(4)
    However, in recent years this worker surplus has turned into a shortage. China's one-child policy has reduced the number of able employees. Tax reductions and other incentives have made agriculture more profitable, reducing the number of farmers migrating from rural areas. Young people are opting for education rather than factory work, minimizing the work force. Other workers aren't qualified for the jobs that need to be filled. One province claims to have 2.5 million vacant jobs.(5)
    This surplus allows workers to demand higher wages and better conditions. Minimum wages are increasing by 10% every year. These rising production costs have contributed to inflation, but the inflation (at 2-3%) is small in comparison to the increased incomes.(6) One business, in response to increased labor costs, has chosed to decrease energy costs. St. Louis-based Emerson has built a solar-powered office and introduced recycling.(7) Workers are receiving increased benefits and employers are forced to offer more flexible hours. The majority of workers in China are seeing an increase in wages, and with it, an increase in their standard of living.

    THE FUTURE
    Although wages are higher, they are too low to live comfortably. The often demonstrations and strikes in China cause citizens to worry about their country's political and economic stability. Some believe an increase in workers' wages would increase purchasing power and consumption, creating jobs for other Chinese citizens. China should reduce dependency on its exports, and instead look to their own people for revenue, encouraging economic growth with a stronger domestic market.
    The government has suggested tax relief as a solution to rural poverty. The plan is to subsidize farmers' costs to grow food in high-demand or build resevoirs.(8)
    However, if wages continue to increase, businesses may look to other countries for cheap sources of labor. Some firms are considering relocating. This would cause a sharp decline in available jobs in China, sending many citizens back into poverty. If prices continue to rise, these costs may be passed onto the consumer. Because China depends so heavily on exports, this could cause worldwide cost-push inflation.

    One of the places businesses are considering relocating to is India.
    INDIA'S LABOR HISTORY
    In 1948, "The Committee on Fair Wage" was set up to provide guidelines for wage structures in India. The report that this committee formulated was a major landmark in wage policy in India, for it set out rules pertaining to the concepts of living wage, minimum wage and fair wage. This Act secured equal rights for both men and women. It also stated that the government must strive to provide a “living wage” for all citizens. In Article 39 of this Act it says, “The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing (a) that the citizen, men and women equally shall have the right to an adequate livelihood and (b) that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women. Furthermore, Article 43 says, “The State shall endeavor, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or in any other way, to give all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure, and social and cultural opportunities” (1). The enactment of this minimum wage policy took place over a few decades. Once is was finally passed, it specifically noted that revisions to details be made as the conditions of the economy and such fluctuate from year to year (2).

    CURRENT SITUATION
    In India today, there are different minimum wages for each category of work skill. The lowest rung on this wage ladder holds the “unskilled,” which include cleaners, messengers, waiters, housemaids, shepherds and farm workers. The “semi skilled” category includes carpenters, goldsmiths, electricians and bartenders, while the “skilled” include plumbers, agriculturists, hairdressers, tailors, auto-mechanics, electronic technicians and painters. At the top of this job hierarchy are the “office staff” and the “highly skilled.” These categories consist of store keepers, telephone operators, nurses, accountants and chemists. The minimum wages for the “skilled” are double that of the “unskilled” and those for the “highly skilled” are nearly triple (3). However, many workers do not fit into any of these specific job categories, leaving them without adequate protection.
    Even though specific areas of the Minimum Wage Act of 1948 have been updated according to the changing conditions, there have been no “all-encompassing” revisions. The people who suffer the most are those who belong to unorganized work forces. While those who are a part of organized unions have many protections set out for them, those in the unorganized forces have millions of employers, “virtually every small trade, enterprise, sole proprietor or household,” and cannot be accounted for due to varying diversity of location and nature of work. The fact that there are no specific wage requirements for a vast majority of workers has left them unable to keep up with matters such as rising inflation.
    SOLUTIONS
    There is much debate over whether an increase in the minimum wage will help or hurt those involved. Many economists say that an increase in wage will help out the economy. The poor will be spending more and costs will invariably, adjust. However, other economists say that the minimum wage should be determined by the market itself, meaning that each person’s wage “reflects the ‘value’ placed on it by employers and consumers” (4). They say that a clearly defined minimum wage would not account for the many variations placed on different types of work. While this may be true, India has recognized that a definite floor must be set in order to protect its citizens from being exploited. Therefore, “Any market-based determination of wages can and must happen above the legal floor” (4).
    Still, many argue that any increase in the minimum wage will drive labor further underground, and lead to even more corruption. While this may be so, the government needs to fully address this matter. By setting the wages so low, they have continually allowed for exploitation and anyone with decent moral values can see that something must be done about this.

    EUROPEAN WAGES
    Contrastly, European countries have laws setting relatively high minumum wages. Many of these countries, like Netherlands, Servia, and Ukraine, have minimum wage laws that ensure far less pay than America. However, there are a few countries that have minimum wage laws that ensure more pay for employees like Malta, Ireland, and Poland(1). European countries main form of currency is the Euro, so to compare that to U.S. dollars we must first find the strength of the Euro to the Dollar; it turns out that one Euro is worth about $1.27(2). The minimum wage in various countries in Europe, when converted to U.S. dollars, ranges from $442.77 (in Netherlands) to $22,969.85 (in Malta) per year. The U.S. minimum wage falls somewhere in between at about $13,500.00 per year(1).

    europeminwage.jpg

    The huge difference in minimum wages in European countries may not be so different when you factor in the cost of living. Some cities, like London, are ranked among the highest cities in the world in terms of cost of living according to a Mercer Human Resources Consulting survey(3). After adjusting the minimum wage pay for the cost of living in each country the actual pay is not as radically different than it first appeared to be. In Europe there is a poverty line, like in America, and many countries do not pay employees enough to meet that poverty line. This creates an economic problem for countries that are not paying employees enough to get themselves out of poverty. In that way there is a problem very much like the on in America; no matter how hard or long you work at a minimum wage job, you can not get yourself out of poverty.
    In Europe there is another problem that makes the situation even worse, it’s called the ‘working time problem’. A full time working week is considered to be anywhere from 35-40 hours depending on which country a person may be in. However, there is also a cap on how many hours an employee may work in a week; this cap ranges from 43 to 48 hours a week. This not only prevents those individuals that want to work longer hours to improve their income, but it also prevents the employers from reaching maximum productive efficiency. This means that the economy also suffers because the manufacturers are not operating at maximum efficiency. Another reason that the European countries are not operating at maximum efficiency is that because of the socially oriented politics about 1 in 4 employees are not at work at any given time. This is because the politics in these areas allow for annual, maternity, and parental leave as well as part time employment opportunities. Not only does law require these things but, some countries have taken more measures that make it more beneficial to be away on leave than at work. These measures include double holiday pay along with many opportunities for employees to take leave. Therefore, many people find it much easier to take leave as often as possible to get the double holiday pay(4).

    So, what should be done about this problem in Europe? The political policies make it hard for business to operate at maximum efficiency since 1 out of 4 employees are not at work at any given time. So it may have to start with political policies; the employee must be given more incentive to work than to take leave so that the employers may operate at maximum efficiency. I think this first step should be taken before raising the minimum wage because Europe has been raising the minimum wage in many countries and it still doesn’t pay employees enough to get out of poverty(5).

    A GLOBAL MINUMUM WAGE
    Although many countries have national minimum wages, a global or international minimum wage would be a giant feat. For one thing, countries use various types of currency with its own value. To compare the minimum wages of different countries, annual minimum wage incomes are calculated into US dollars. From these estimates, a wide range of annual incomes result: from $29 per year in Kazakhstan to $28,911 per year in Switzerland. (1) Despite the cost of living and national minimum wage differences, many organizations still support the idea of an international minimum wage.

    One such organization is Global Exchange. This group sees a need to create both a global minimum and maximum wage. The annual minimum wage would be arbitrarily set at $1000, and the annual maximum wage would be $1 million. (2) Though the values aren’t based on any proven research, the prospect of having both an international minimum and maximum wage is surprising. A minimum yearly wage of $1000 could help developing countries which currently have minimum wages of lesser value while the maximum annual wage of $1 million could limit richer countries from earning too much per capita; yet the consequences of this could be a lack of productivity as citizens know they can only make so much. (3) The overall concept here is to level the playing field, bringing the gap between the rich and poor closer together. Since almost 3 billion people make a living on less than two dollars a day, an annual global minimum wage of $1000 could help a greatnumber of people. (4)
    Although the interest in an international minimum wage has increased, the idea of an international living wage is a more popular and controversial subject because it might actually solve the poverty seen in developing countries. Rather than creating a minimum wage in hopes of improving the conditions of the poor, a more preferable solution would be to make that minimum wage a global living wage. This global wage will ensure the workers make enough money to afford basic necessities-food, housing, health care, education, etc. (5)
    One area an international living wage could most effectively improve the lives of workers is in the garment industry. The garment factories are located in countries where cheap labor can be found; the labor costs may be as low as .5% of the product’s retail price. (6) These clothing factories may also be referred as sweatshops because of the grueling work done for little pay. Workers in Indonesia work in Nike factories making 10 cents an hour. Likewise, workers in China make only 23 cents an hour working 15 hours a day and 6 days a week. (7) These appalling wages keep the workers in poverty, while those who buy the products benefit from the lower prices. An international living wage could force manufacturers to pay their workers at least enough to acquire the basic requirements of life.
    Even though no formal agreements have been made to pass any type of global minimum or living wage, the efforts to improve the situation of the workers in 3rd world countries show the dissatisfaction with the status quo. With an international minimum wage nowhere in sight and a living wage even farther away, the possibility for these wages to come into fruition is very low. In theory, these plans seem perfectly logical, but in reality, many complicated issues stand in the way of transforming standard national wages to an international one.

    Footnotes for China- Monica Burns
    (1)www.iisg.nl/research/jvz-wages_prices.pdf
    (2) http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1094/is_4_39/ai_n9483917/pg_2
    (3)http://www.bankresearch.org/economicpolicyblog/2006/04/globalization_i.html
    (4)http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/dec2004/nf2004122_6762_db039.htm
    (5) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_13/b3977049.htm
    (6)http://www.washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20060415-091638-9341r.htm
    (7)http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/20060620TDY08008.htm
    (8)http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/mar2006/gb20060309_834667.htm

    Footnotes for India- Taryn Fujita
    (1) http://labour.nic.in/wagecell/welcome.html
    (2) http://www.indialawinfo.com/bareacts/minwage.html
    (3) http://www.indembassyuae.org/lw_minwages.phtml
    (4) http://www.indiatogether.org/2006/feb/edt-minwages.htm

    Footnotes for Europe- Kelan Ige
    (1) http://www.fedee.com/minwage.html
    (2) http://www.google.com/search?q=1+Euro+in+USD&btnG=Google+Search
    (3) http://www.imercer.com/australia/col.asp
    (4) http://www.fedee.com/workinghours.shtml
    (5) http://www.purpleocean.org/node/10693

    Footnotes for Global minimum wage- Rebecca Jong
    (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_minimum_wage
    (2) http://www.globalexchange.org/update/publications/newsltr3.97p4.html
    (3) http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTECONEVAL/Resources/MinimumWage NoteJul03v2.pdf
    (4) http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Facts.asp
    (5) http://www.bsr.org/CSRResources/IssueBriefDetail.cfm?DocumentID=50678
    (6) http://www.cleanclothes.org/campaign/liwa99-11-1.htm
    (7) http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Reforming_System/TimeLivingWage.html

    History of Global Education

    Since the end of World War II the world's nations have been creating better school systems, believing that superior education will provide them with more power economically, and militarily.
    And even in ancient times there were races for better education. In the ice ages it was The Neanderthals vs. The Talking Men. Both hunted the same sort of food, thus, there could only be one survivor in a given area. The talking man was able to educate his tribe easier on hunting tips and battle tactics. So eventually the Neanderthal became outclassed and failed to survive.
    Eurasia, around 800 A.D., was the first place of a functioning world educational system. They developed the first schools. Originally many schools were tied to religion, however, the Greeks were the first civilization to create schools totally separate from worship. They also created the Phoenician alphabet greatly furthering literature at the time and setting a basis for many other civilization's alphabets as well. Greeks as the time were known to be the center of world education, purely because they could talk and write. Greeks influences spread greatly throughout Eurasia, especially when the Romans were in power. Eventually their methods spread to the Middle East where Moslems created the first functioning world education system.
    Fast forwarding to the 15th century, it became fashion for princes to decorate their kingdoms with "centers" for higher learning 1. At this time, it was Atlantic Christians trying to challenge the Eurasian balance of the Middle East and the Orient for higher education. In this same century, Europe began it's movement for power throughout the world. Creating massive empires out of much of Eurasia, Africa, and soon the Americas. Because of this, Europe was now looked at as the center of the educational world. The Renaissance and the Reformation shifted the focus of education to other things previously bypassed, including the study of advanced sciences, capitalism, and nationalism. The new learning of physical science eventually led to the Scientific Revolution. However, throughout the 1500 to 1900, the educated person was viewed as one who read the classics (Virgil and Plato for example). However, by 1800, educational initiative was flowing away from a classy, schooled man to a more practical one. Engineers who built mining and textile machinery paved the way for the Industrial Revolution.
    In 1850 Europe still held much of the world's power, many of it's nations had significantly boosted the Scientific Revolution, and many countries were rich, powerful, and free. However, by the early 1900's, three nations outside Europe joined the competition for better educational systems. Those three included, The United States of America, Russia, and Japan. The earlier half of the 1900's is also where the world saw two of it's greatest wars ever to take place, World War I and World War II. Now the world's nations were really in a timely race to gain the best military technology. After World War II ended in 1945, most of Europe's nations were left crippled along with Japan and Russia. Back in the U.S. civil rights movements would soon ignite, and people of all races and gender would soon have a stab at higher education creating a very competitive environment.
    The race for higher education is still in session, and whoever is winning gains a superior advantage over the rest of the world.

    http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0001196.html
    World Education Encyclopedia Volume I

    Global Education

    Erin Moon
    Economy
    10:00


    Global Education


    Education comes in all forms, whether it is from the Chinese who use wooden pellets as calculators or to the Americans who have developed the world’s first nuclear bomb. Just like music and dance, education is “universal language,” understood by all and affecting all. Because of the current global education situation, it is really hard to decipher what country can call themselves the “smartest” and best education people. There are three main problems when it comes to education, enrollment, funding, and a lack of teachers.
    One of the main powers of the world, Asia has been developing right along the United States. Although it is clear that the U.S still holds the most developed education system, Asia is in the run, improving their education system. “Asia Society has two primary education objectives: one focuses on teaching and learning about Asia; and the other on expanding our nation's investments in international studies at the elementary and secondary school levels.” It’s interesting to see what other countries focus on, such as Asia who devotes part of their education system to knowing where they come from and their history. Unlike the American education system where the basics are taught such as math, science, and history, Asia has a unique difference they are trying to not only educate their people but they are also working on bridging the international knowledge gap. In Asia enrollment is at around 62%, meaning that almost a third of its population and kids are not attending school (1). Although Asia has been trying to improve their education system by changing their curriculum, it won’t make a huge difference if kids do not attend school. Because enrollment is such a problem not only in Asia but in poorer countries, education around the world is at a stand still. In 1998, the enrollment percentage of Asia rose to around 73%, even though that’s not an outstanding improvement, the percentage of kids not attending school is still to high. One distinct difference among education around the world is richer countries have a higher enrollment rate than those who do not have as much funding. Because the richer the country, the more money there is available to their education program, which makes it clear that those who are more developed countries will continue to their reign when it comes to their literacy rate and education level.
    edu_progress.jpg.gif
    edu_map.jpg.gif
    Another problem that is seemingly occurring more and more is the shortage of teachers. Without teachers, schooling is useless, especially without education and competent teachers. In the world today, people are more practical and realistic that morally driven. The salary of an average schooling teacher is around $31,000, a pretty small amount to support oneself and even a family (3). Because teacher salaries are so low paid, the incentive to becoming a teacher is low, people want to get the higher paying jobs so they abandon the education field and jump into a job that will pay more money. The society everybody lives in is driven by money, not only are Americans being forced to get higher end paying jobs but places such as France and England where education is not a main priority are being driven away from the teaching industry.
    Government intervention in terms of funding towards the worlds education is lacking tremendously. Because there is a lack of funding not only locally, and nationally, but globally, it makes it easy to see that if something isn’t done soon, our education systems will keep going down hill. It’s interesting to notice that when it comes to the U.S, we will spend 10 times more money on military and war purposes than on children’s education, hypocritical? The war in Iraq does need a lot of money when it comes to artillery and top of line gear, but the war does not only affect and hurt the two countries involved, it takes its toll on the whole world. The war drains money from the United States which could be used to better our education system, maybe buy more chairs or make transportation more convenient. For the Iraqis, I find it near impossible to see how after and during the war, they have any left over money to support its education that is why Iraq has one of the lowest literacy rates of about 15% (2) I believe it is true that richer countries do have a better education system. Its common sense to see that the more money a country has, the more options and amounts of funding they can give to various things. Meaning if they have more money, they can spend more money towards bettering their education system. The United State whom is one of those countries in the G8 or the eight richest countries in the world has a literacy rate of about 99% measured in the year 2003 (5). Compared to Afghanistan, a country not in the G8, who is also considered one of the poorer countries in the world, has a literacy rate of 21% in the year 2003 (6). Because Afghanistan doesn’t have as much money in which they can use towards their education system, their literacy rate is far lower than a richer country such as the United States.
    It is sad to think that a lack of education not only affects those who aren’t fortunate enough to get a good one, but it affects everybody in general. It doesn’t matter if one is rich or if one is poor, in the end it will all come back to you. Because money seems to be such a problem not only for people, but for states and countries alike, it affects people alike too. As generations continue to develop it is clear to see that if our education systems don’t improve, a world halt will come in terms of development in education. I’m not necessarily saying that everyone will just stop learning, but the learning curve will sharply fall and the intelligence level will fall as well. Even if you aren’t a teacher or you already got through college and such, this education problem will affect you. Maybe your plumber won’t know how to fix your pipes as well as he could and instead of having to fix again five years later, he will have to come back in one or two years.
    In school we learn a lot what we think of as useless information such as how to balance scientific equations or formulating the quadratic formula. It wasn’t as easy to see why we needed to learn this information when I wouldn’t be going out to the supermarket attempting to do equations which will find the tax increase in a couple of years down the road. But once you realize that this world is based on education alone, you begin to realize that action needs to be taken to ensure our growth and development.


    (1) http://www.paris21.org/betterworld/education.htm
    (2) http://www.ed.gov/pubs/EdReformStudies/EdReforms/chap8d.html
    (3) http://www.aft.org/research/teachersurveys.htm#Annual
    (4) http://www.usd.edu/ttd/multicultural/resources/india.htm
    (5) https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/us.html
    (6) https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/af.html

    The Minimum Wage in India

    History
    In 1948, "The Committee on Fair Wage" was set up to provide guidelines for wage structures in India. The report that this committee formulated was a major landmark in wage policy in India, for it set out rules pertaining to the concepts of living wage, minimum wage and fair wage. This Act secured equal rights for both men and women. It also stated that the government must strive to provide a “living wage” for all citizens. In Article 39 of this Act it says, “The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing (a) that the citizen, men and women equally shall have the right to an adequate livelihood and (b) that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women. Furthermore, Article 43 says, “The State shall endeavor, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or in any other way, to give all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure, and social and cultural opportunities” (1). The enactment of this minimum wage policy took place over a few decades. Once is was finally passed, it specifically noted that revisions to details be made as the conditions of the economy and such fluctuate from year to year (2).

    Current Situation
    In India today, there are different minimum wages for each category of work skill. The lowest rung on this wage ladder holds the “unskilled,” which include cleaners, messengers, waiters, housemaids, shepherds and farm workers. The “semi skilled” category includes carpenters, goldsmiths, electricians and bartenders, while the “skilled” include plumbers, agriculturists, hairdressers, tailors, auto-mechanics, electronic technicians and painters. At the top of this job hierarchy are the “office staff” and the “highly skilled.” These categories consist of store keepers, telephone operators, nurses, accountants and chemists. The minimum wages for the “skilled” are double that of the “unskilled” and those for the “highly skilled” are nearly triple (3). However, many workers do not fit into any of these specific job categories, leaving them without adequate protection.

    Even though specific ares of the Minimum Wage Act of 1948 have been updated according to the changing conditions, there have been no “all-encompassing” revisions. The people who suffer the most are those who belong to unorganized work forces. While those who are a part of organized unions have many protections set out for them, those in the unorganized forces have millions of employers, “virtually every small trade, enterprise, sole proprietor or household,” and cannot be accounted for due to varying diversity of location and nature of work. The fact that there are no specific wage requirements for a vast majority of workers has left many unable to keep up with matters such as rising inflation.

    What Should Be Done
    There is much debate over whether an increase in the minimum wage will help or hurt those involved. Many economists say that an increase in wage will help our the economy. The poor will be spending more and costs will invariably, adjust. However, other economists say that the minimum wage should be determined by the market itself, meaning that each person’s wage “reflects the ‘value’ placed on it by employers and consumers” (4). They say that a clearly defined minimum wage would not account for the many variations placed on different types of work. While this may be true, India has recognized that a definite floor must be set in order to protect its citizens from being exploited. Therefore, “Any market-based determination of wages can and must happen above the legal floor” (4).

    Still, many argue that any increase in the minimum wage will drive labor further underground, and lead to even more corruption. While this may be so, the government needs to fully address this matter. By setting the wages so low, they have continually allowed for exploitation and anyone with decent moral values can see that something must be done about this.

    (1) http://labour.nic.in/wagecell/welcome.html
    (2) http://www.indialawinfo.com/bareacts/minwage.html
    (3) http://www.indembassyuae.org/lw_minwages.phtml
    (4) http://www.indiatogether.org/2006/feb/edt-minwages.htm

    Global Minimum and Living Wage: Are they possible?

    Although many countries have national minimum wages, a global or international minimum wage would be a giant feat. For one thing, countries use various types of currency with its own value. To compare the minimum wages of different countries, annual minimum wage incomes are calculated into US dollars. From these estimates, a wide range of annual incomes result: from $29 per year in Kazakhstan to $28,911 per year in Switzerland. (1) Despite the cost of living and national minimum wage differences, many organizations still support the idea of an international minimum wage.
    One such organization is Global Exchange. This group sees a need to create both a global minimum and maximum wage. The annual minimum wage would be arbitrarily set at $1000, and the annual maximum wage would be $1 million. (2) Though the values aren’t based on any proven research, the prospect of having both an international minimum and maximum wage is surprising. A minimum yearly wage of $1000 could help developing countries which currently have minimum wages of lesser value while the maximum annual wage of $1 million could limit richer countries from earning too much per capita; yet the consequences of this could be a lack of productivity as citizens know they can only make so much. (3) The overall concept here is to level the playing field, bringing the gap between the rich and poor closer together. Since almost 3 billion people make a living on less than two dollars a day, an annual global minimum wage of $1000 could help a greatnumber of people. (4)
    Although the interest in an international minimum wage has increased, the idea of an international living wage is a more popular and controversial subject because it might actually solve the poverty seen in developing countries. Rather than creating a minimum wage to hopefully improve the conditions of the poor, a more preferable solution would be to make that minimum wage a global living wage. This global wage will ensure the workers make enough money to afford basic necessities-food, housing, health care, education, etc. (5)
    One area an international living wage could most effectively improve the lives of workers is in the garment industry. The garment factories are located in countries where cheap labor can be found; the labor costs may be as low as .5% of the product’s retail price. (6) These clothing factories may also be referred as sweatshops because of the grueling work done for little pay. Workers in Indonesia work in Nike factories making 10 cents an hour. Likewise, workers in China make only 23 cents an hour working 15 hours a day and 6 days a week. (7) These appalling wages keep the workers in poverty, while those who buy the products benefit from the lower prices. An international living wage could force manufacturers to pay their workers at least enough to acquire the basic requirements of life.
    Even though no formal agreements have been made to pass any type of global minimum or living wage, the efforts to improve the situation of the workers in 3rd world countries show the dissatisfaction with the status quo. With an international minimum wage nowhere in sight and a living wage even farther away, the possibility for these wages to come into fruition is very low. In theory, these plans seem perfectly logical, but in reality, many complicated issues stand in the way of transforming standard national wages to an international one.

    (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_minimum_wage
    (2) http://www.globalexchange.org/update/publications/newsltr3.97p4.html
    (3) http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTECONEVAL/Resources/MinimumWage NoteJul03v2.pdf
    (4) http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Facts.asp
    (5) http://www.bsr.org/CSRResources/IssueBriefDetail.cfm?DocumentID=50678
    (6) http://www.cleanclothes.org/campaign/liwa99-11-1.htm
    (7) http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Reforming_System/TimeLivingWage.html

    Global Minimum and Living Wage: Are they possible?

    Although many countries have national minimum wages, a global or international minimum wage would be a giant feat. For one thing, countries use various types of currency with their own value. To compare the minimum wages of different countries, annual minimum wage incomes are calculated into US dollars. From these estimates, a wide range of annual incomes result: from $29 per year in Kazakhstan to $28,911 per year in Switzerland. (1) Despite the cost of living and minimum wage differences, many organizations still support the idea of an international minimum wage.
    One such organization is Global Exchange. This group sees a need to create both a global minimum and maximum wage. The annual minimum wage would be arbitrarily set at $1000, and the annual maximum wage would be $1 million. (2) Though the values aren’t based on any proven research, the prospect of having both an international minimum and maximum wage is surprising. A minimum yearly wage of $1000 could help developing countries which currently have minimum wages of lesser value while the maximum annual wage of $1 million could limit richer countries from earning too much per capita; yet the consequences of this could be a lack of productivity as citizens know they can only work so hard. (3) The overall concept here is to level the playing field, bringing the gap between the rich and poor closer together. Since almost 3 billion people make a living on less than two dollars a day, an annual global minimum wage of $1000 could help a huge number of people. (4)
    Although the interest in an international minimum wage has increased, the idea of an international living wage is a more popular and controversial subject because it might actually solve the poverty seen in developing countries. Rather than creating a minimum wage to hopefully improve the conditions of the poor, a more preferable solution would be to make that minimum wage a global living wage. This global wage will ensure the workers make enough money to afford basic necessities-food, housing, health care, education, etc. (5)
    One area an international living wage could most effectively improve the lives of workers is in the garment industry. The garment factories are located in countries where cheap labor can be found; the labor costs may be as low as .5% of the product’s retail price. (6) These clothing factories may also be referred as sweatshops because of the grueling work done for little pay. Workers in Indonesia work in Nike factories making 10 cents an hour. Likewise, workers in China make only 23 cents an hour working 15 hours a day and 6 days a week. (7) These appalling wages keep the workers in poverty, while those who buy the products benefit from the lower prices. An international living wage could force manufacturers to pay their workers at least enough to acquire the basic requirements of life.
    Even though no formal agreements have been made to pass any type of global minimum or living wage, the efforts to improve the situation of the workers in 3rd world countries show the dissatisfaction with the status quo. With an international minimum wage nowhere in sight and a living wage even farther away, the possibility for these wages to come into fruition is very low. In theory, these plans seem perfectly logical, but in reality, many complicated issues stand in the way of transforming standard national wage to an international one.


    (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_minimum_wage
    (2) http://www.globalexchange.org/update/publications/newsltr3.97p4.html
    (3) http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTECONEVAL/Resources/MinimumWage NoteJul03v2.pdf
    (4) http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Facts.asp
    (5) http://www.bsr.org/CSRResources/IssueBriefDetail.cfm?DocumentID=50678
    (6) http://www.cleanclothes.org/campaign/liwa99-11-1.htm
    (7) http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Reforming_System/TimeLivingWage.html

    Homelessness: What Should be Done

    According to a United Nations report, currently five hundred million people around the world are either homeless or living in low-quality housing and are in danger of becoming homeless (4). With so many people being affected by this problem, something must be done to fight it. Homelessness is a tremendous problem, and there are many steps that must be taken if it is to ever end.
    First, more affordable housing must be built. In many countries, prices of homes are rising rapidly as a result of other problems such as economic inflation and overpopulation. However, obtaining permanent housing is a crucial step for those trying to get their lives back on track and improve their futures. Once they have secured homes for themselves, they can focus on fixing other problems in their lives holding them back. Furthermore, in many developing countries, it can be difficult for homeless individuals to find and maintain a job when they have no phone number or permanent address, not to mention a place in which to change their clothes and bathe. In order to change their lives around, they need to obtain some sort of home. Therefore, governments must grant more funding to the construction of subsidized housing. They can raise money for this by increasing taxes. Now, as mentioned in the national portion, taxpayers may complain about having the pay raised taxes to finance the building of affordable housing. However, in many developed countries, a large portion of taxes is used to pay for services for the homeless and poor such as Medicaid. If these people obtained homes and became stabilized, taxpayers would actually save money. Therefore, paying taxes now to help fund the construction of supportive housing will ultimately benefit them as well. Furthermore, the governments can also decrease military spending and use some of it to fund the housing. War is one of the major causes of homelessness throughout the world, destroying homes and villages, and tearing families apart (1). Moreover, a tremendous amount of natural resources and funding is put into military expansion, something that can only lead to more homelessness. The government should take a portion of these resources and money and put it to better use: funding the construction of more affordable housing. As for undeveloped and developing countries, as much money as possible should be set aside by governments to help pay for more housing for their citizens. Individuals can help by donating money to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, which builds simple, affordable housing all around the globe.
    In addition to housing, more money should be used to build transitional and emergency shelters. People living on streets are extremely vulnerable to changes in weather and in some places, can actually freeze to death. For example, in Ireland people die on the streets weekly as a result of a lack of housing and services (5). Homeless people are also often targets of violence and abuse, and would be much safer in shelters, where they are also given food and access to services and programs. Federal grants should be used to help fund existing shelters, as well as the construction of additional ones. The money used for this could come from increased taxes as well as decreased military spending in developed nations. As for undeveloped and developing countries, many of them are ridden with debt to foreign nations and are therefore unable to fund the building of housing and shelters for their homeless citizens. Perhaps developed nations, especially the G-8 nations, could consider canceling these debts and even give countries with serious homeless problems long-term, low-interest-rate loans to help finance the construction.
    Next, some cities in developed countries have laws prohibiting such things as “loitering”, “pan-handling”, and “vagrancy”, and allow police to arrest individuals who break these laws (2). In other words, homeless are prohibiting form residing outdoors and from begging. However, by arresting homeless people and giving them criminal records, all police are doing is making it even more difficult for them to secure and maintain jobs. Rather, these laws should be revoked, and instead of putting homeless in prison, police should guide them to shelters where they can receive the attention and assistance they need to get their lives back on track. Police, shelters, and service providers should all work together to help homeless populations as best as possible.
    Another important step in the fight against homelessness is understanding. In order to get to the “root of the problem” and find the best solutions, the government must grant additional funding for research and data collection on this issue. Doing so will also allow organizations to better meet the needs of the homeless population and tell service providers if they need to update certain services. Besides this, data collection can give organizations a better idea of the main factors that lead to homelessness and how to prevent the problem.
    One of the factors leading to homelessness is the inability to afford both food and shelter. When faced with a choice between the two, people will usually choose food, considering shelter the lower priority (4). More money needs to be given to food banks and shelters so that homeless and potentially homeless will be provided with adequate meals. If they no longer have to worry about scrounging up enough money to pay for their next meals, they no longer have to make a choice between food and shelter, and can focus all of their efforts on securing and maintaining housing. However, besides relieving homeless individuals from having to make a choice between food and shelter, extra funding for shelters and food banks is needed because having a good diet is extremely important. According to the Institute of Medicine, there are about 100,000 children homeless in the U.S. every night (4). There are millions more around the world. Many of these children rely on shelters and food banks for most of their food. Unfortunately, these meals are often very limited in nutritional value and are usually “high in salt, fat, preservatives, and empty calories” (4). Moreover, according to studies, a poor diet during childhood often causes long-term health and cognitive problems, which can compromise the children’s ability to find and maintain employment in the future. Therefore, shelters and food banks need additional funding so they can provide the homeless with better quality food. They can get this money from either private donations from individuals and organizations, or from the government.
    In addition to food and housing assistance, other services for the homeless and the potentially homeless are essential in helping them. However, the services needed by homeless populations vary in different areas, as the conditions being experienced by them are also different. For example, in the U.S. and other developed countries where some of the main causes of homelessness are domestic violence, mental illness, and addiction disorders, needed services include counseling, mental health facilities, and substance abuse programs. For these services, governments should increase taxes to help fund them, as they are crucial in helping people re-build their lives. Furthermore, as I mentioned before, taxpayers will ultimately save money by helping to fund these services now. In sub-Saharan Africa however, there are currently twenty five million orphaned children, twelve million of which were orphaned because of the AIDS epidemic (3). In addition to these kids, many millions more have parents who are ill and are unable to work, leaving the children the responsibility of providing for the entire family. As a result, kids have to drop out of school to get jobs and care for their sick parents (3). This is wrong; children should not be giving up education to watch over their parents. African countries should provide the needy families with services such as free education, access to free health care, food, and water. Kenya has tried out an idea in which cash grants were given directly to children most in need of the extra assistance. In this “project” five hundred households are given about $6.50 per “vulnerable or orphaned child” each month. While that amount may seem extremely small to us, it had a tremendous impact on those receiving the payments. Families had “better access to education and health care and improved nutrition” (3). Their standards of living rose from being given just that small amount of money. The other sub-Saharan African countries should follow Kenya in enacting this plan. However, funding for all of these services will be difficult to obtain. Hopefully private donations from individuals and organizations will be given to help pay for them. The governments of the countries themselves should create larger budgets to address these problems as well. Finally, as previously mentioned, wealthy developed countries should relieve these poorer nations of their past debts. This will allow the governments more money to spend on these services.
    Finally, in order to solve worldwide homelessness, the homeless problem must first be tackled on a local and national level. How can we solve global homelessness when we currently have three million homeless individuals in our own country? Sure, we can help undeveloped and developing nations by lending and donating money to help them out. However, if homelessness is ever to end, each country must take responsibility for their own citizens and take adequate action to improve their living situations. Only once a country has eradicated its own homeless problem can it fully focus on helping others.

    1) http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1309/is_n3/v25/ai_6811552
    2) http://www.nscahh.org/hunger.asp?id2=8800
    3) http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/4631911.stm
    4) http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Hea-Irr/Homelessness.html
    5) http://www.focusireland.ie/htm/housing_homelessness/facts_figures/causes.htm

    On the Global Level: If Not Oil, Then What?

    By Taylour Pua Chang, Mary Daily, Cory Nicely, and Cindy Lanzas

    Issue:
    The global gas prices are rising and causing stress on the economy. As the high global demand for oil remains unchanged, oil prices will continue to shoot up. In the long run, the world cannot rely on oil forever. Someday, oil will be economically unfeasible as an energy source. If the global community continues its current rate of oil consumption, oil will eventually be too costly. In order to reduce dependence on oil and lower oil prices, people around the world must start looking at alternative types of transportation fuels.

    fill up.jpg

    Part 1. History of the Issue
    By Taylour Pua Chang

    The global demand for oil is rising because (1) the rising global demand, along with the inability of oil refineries to satisfy the demand, is causing prices to rise, (2) the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is unable to control the rising prices, therefore, the oil traders have demanded risk premiums to raise the oil price, and (3) the nations that hold most of the world’s oil reserves have experienced political instability in the past years; thus, this has prompted oil traders to ask for additional risk premiums.
    First, the main reason for rising oil prices is the surge in global oil consumption. The global demand for oil has gone up, and the ability of oil refineries to satisfy the demand has gone down; thus, based on the logic of supply and demand, the price of oil has risen everywhere. Ever since the industrial revolution, the world’s demand for oil has increased. Harold Brubaker from the Knight Ridder Newspapers states that, today, we are a part of a world run by oil—the demand for oil is at a phenomenal high (1). Factories and industries around the world, for instance, demand more oil in order to increase production. More people rely on long-distance transportation, and more consumers are driving fuel-inefficient SUVs. Certainly, more countries are experiencing greater economic growth than ever before. China, in particular, is progressing at a very fast rate, and its global oil consumption increased 16% within the last year according to Vivek Kaul from rediff.com. In China, more factories are being developed, and more people are buying cars. The global consumption of oil, notes Kaul, rose 3.4% last year, and most of the increase has come from China (2). The United States is also a major factor in the rising global consumption of oil. According to Micheal Casey from USA Today, the U.S., which constitutes roughly 5% of the world population, consumes a quarter of the global oil supply. In addition, Casey also says that oil efficiency in American automobiles have decreased to a record-breaking low, and U.S. energy policies do little to lower the American oil consumption (3). Because automobiles remain a symbol of aspiration to other developing countries such as India, it is inevitable that the use of automobiles will increase in the future and oil consumption will continue to rise, especially in developing countries wishing to advance their economy. Therefore, unfortunately, the demand for oil will continue to rise unless something drastic is done to control oil demands. Jack Suyderhoud from the Star Bulletin notes that, basically, oil refineries today do not have the capacity to satisfy the people’s demand for oil—it is impossible for oil refineries to produce the amount of oil the world currently wants (4). The resulting shortage of oil makes what oil refineries do more valuable, thus, raising oil prices everywhere.

    MarkBryan-UncleSam'.jpg opec.jpg

    The second reason has to do with OPEC. OPEC is the most prominent oil producer in the world and controls most of the world’s oil supply. According to S. Subramanian from the Washington Post, the OPEC, which once had a lot of idle capacity, managed to gain control over oil prices over time, allowing it to regulate prices to its advantage. For example, whenever the demand for oil was high, the OPEC would reduce its output of oil, thus creating artificial shortages and higher prices (5). Recently, however, things have changed because OPEC has been unable to control the surging oil prices. A MSNBC news report made clear that OPEC can’t keep up with the current global demand for oil—OPEC has been pumping oil as fast as possible with hardly any idle capacity left (6). The amount of OPEC’s oil production could feasibly go on forever. Because there is no longer any safety net on oil production, worried oil traders have demanded that there be a risk premium, which raises the oil prices higher.
    Finally, the nations that hold most of the world’s oil reserves have experienced
    political instability in the past years; thus, the instability at a given time has affected oil prices, causing price fluctuations. According to Gabe Collins from Petroleum World, the instability of areas such as the Middle East is considered a risk to oil traders, for fluctuating prices can affect the their profits (7). This has also prompted oil traders to demand additional risk premiums, thus raising prices further.

    Global Oil Prices:
    global prices2.gif

    Today, according to CNN, it is $75 per gallon of crude oil. Gas prices around the world range from $0.12 in Venezuela to $6.48 in the Netherlands. All price values are record or near record highs in each prospective country (8). If the global demand continues, and the inability of oil refineries to satisfy the demand remains, the price of oil will continue to rise to economically unfeasible levels. Certainly, we need to start looking at alternative energy sources.

    Footnotes Part 1:

    1. Brubaker, Harold. “Why are gas prices rising?” Knight Ridder Newspapers. (April 26, 2006). www.ledgerenquierer.com/brubaker/gas_prices.html.

    2. Kaul, Vivek. “Why global oil prices are rising.” http://in.rediff.com/money/2005/sep/01oil.htm

    3. Casey, Micheal. “Asia going nuclear amid rising oil prices.” USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2006-07-09-asia-nuclear_x.htm

    4. Suyderhoud, Jack. “Gasoline price cap will not lower prices or protect Hawaii consumers.” The Honolulu Advertiser. www.thehonoluluadvertiser.com/gas_cap/notworking.html

    5. Subramanian, S. “OPEC and global oil prices.” http://in.rediff.com/money/2005/sep/01oil.htm

    6. Schoen, John W. “OPEC says it has lost control of oil prices: Cartel producers say they can’t keep up with global demand.” http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7190109/

    7. Collins, Gabe. “Gabe Collins: Nationalized oil resources, political instability drive gas prices higher.” http://www.petroleumworld.com/Ed032306.htm

    8. “Gas prices around the world.” CNN MONEY. http://money.cnn.com/pf/features/lists/global_gasprices

    Part 2. Current Situation of the Issue
    By Mary Daily

    The United States has seen a rise in gas prices, that has affected everyone from the poor to the rich and many residents think it is outrageous. But how is the rest of the world fairing? Some places are double the price of the States, while other prices are less than a pack of gum. For example, gas pump prices are $6.48 in Amsterdam, but a mere $0.12 in Caracas Venezuela (1). The U.S. and its cities are in between the super expensive prices of Europe, and the not so expensive gas prices of South America, Africa, and the Middle East. But there are many factors in why the gas prices are so high for some places. The U.S. experienced a severe hurricane season; there were large Nigerian labor strikes, constant volatility in the Middle East, and there has also been a higher than usual demand for oil from China (2).
    However, many places have there own gas related problems to deal with even though they seem to affect everyone at some point. China is toiling over how they can use alternative energy source, much like we do here in the States, but China is also overly populated, so their decisions are crucial to the rest of the world. There are many renewable energy ideas that have been widely known, such as wind energy, waterpower, solar power, and even geothermal energy. But, the most widely known candidate to replace oil is ethanol. Ethanol is made from corn, so it is fairly easy to get and seemingly does not run out because you can always grow more corn. Scientists are constantly studying ways to find other fuel sources, and most recently there has been a discovery that soybeans can replace corn and could be even more efficient. When ethanol is made from corn, it provides 25% more energy a gallon than required, while soybeans generate 93% more energy. If we were to start using soybeans instead of corn for alternative fuels, it would be called biofuels, and would reduce greenhouse gasses by 12% (3).

    ethanol and corn.bmp

    Although there is talk of other fuel sources other than gas, and many countries such as ours are aware of the pending price and supply problems of gasoline. But in addition to the problems mentioned above, individual governments can influence the supply and demand of energy such as gasoline or crude oil. In oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, Nigeria in Africa, and Venezuela in South America, tend to keep the gasoline prices that they give their citizens artificially low. They do this through subsidizing the costs of petroleum from crude oil so as to minimize the impact on their large struggling middle class. By doing this, they reduce the likelihood of their middle class citizens becoming disgruntled and wanting to topple to government by having riots and strikes.
    Governments of countries that produce large amounts of energy like the U.S. could reduce the entire growth of energy consumption in general by decreasing the gasoline use. One way to do this is to continue to increase the amount of taxes on each gallon of gasoline. Secondly, governments could restrict the production of certain fuels, like prohibiting the ability of oil companies to drill for and bring up crude oil off the Easter and Western coasts.

    Footnotes Part 2:
    1. "Gas prices around the world: Think you pay a lot for gas? Perhaps you'd prefer to live in Venezuela." CNN. March, 2005. http://money.cnn.com/pf/features/lists/global_gasprices/. July 12, 2006.

    2. "The Wire." Global Gas National Propane Supplier. February 10, 2005. http://www.globalgas.com/thewire.htm. July 14, 2006.

    3. Barrionuevo, Alexei. It's Corn vs. Soybeans in a Biofuels Debate." The New York Times. July 13, 2006. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/13/business/13ethanol.html. July 14, 2006.


    Part 3. What Should be Done About Oil in the World?
    By Cory Nicely

    Investigating the local, national, and global standings on the oil issue has brought slightly different versions of the same background but what should be done about it remains roughly the same. In the world, there are the oil abundant countries and the oil purchasing countries that compete on the world oil market. As the demand for oil increases with the populations of China and India in particular, the prices will consequently increase as well (1). Also, as tensions worldwide intensify with bombings in the Middle Eastern area and threats of missile firings in the Far East, the market of oil is also surged upwards. Therefore, the use of oil in the world needs to be curtailed before prices gauge checkbooks even more than the present state.
    Curbing the use of oil is only the first of many idealistic alternatives and solutions to the global problem of prices at the pump but that is one goal intended for the long run at oil conservation. Not only are consumers who are filling their tanks at the end of painful gas prices but the governments worldwide are getting an earful. In France over a year ago farmers and truck drivers protested against the $6.81 per gallon fee which led to a government proposal of a nation wide $36 million package of gas tax breaks and rebates (2). The governments are stepping up to meet the hefty prices per barrel and helping to ease the pain of the people filling up their cars but like a sponge, governments can only take so much of the weight. This is why drivers and governments worldwide should be looking into the immediate alternative solutions to skyrocketing gas prices.
    Alternative forms of transportation such as the subways, metros, buses, and transit systems are making a dent in the fight to lower gas demand but are not used as widely as they have the potential of doing. If more and more people worldwide sacrificed driving their car everywhere and instead took the bus or subway, gas could be saved as a whole and lower demand would bring the prices down as well. Another alternative to the high prices would be to change the type of car one is driving and the type of fuel being used in ones tank. As new technology develops more rapidly in order to bring alternatives to the market, an array of options is becoming available to the consumer. Such options include hybrid cars, electric cars, highly fuel efficient cars, hydrogen based fuel, ethanol based fuel, and fuel cells. However, although these alternatives are “out there” it is more so a matter of going out and investing into them instead of taking the passive way and just paying the higher price.

    american to notice.jpg

    In an attempt to lower prices and be self sufficient, for example, Brazil is promoting the usage of their own nation made ethanol through the by products of sugar cane milling. On the other end of the ocean in England, where gas is almost double the cost of it in the U.S., the government is giving bigger tax cuts to those who drive Smart Cars which are more environmentally friendly and have better fuel efficiencies (3). If more steps like these countries can be started and developed, a worldwide evolution of technology advancement can be initiated and perpetuated in the world of oil and oil alternatives.
    Besides the steps people can take on an individual level, there are other bigger problems that hold a world wide responsibility. Governments globally need to step in and begin to set standards for car companies to meet such as drawing the line of acceptable cars based on fuel efficiency and ensuring that all gas tanks can accept ethanol, gas, and fuel cells at the same time for the future. If not just demanding these requirements, the governments should put down money to ensure that they happen. Another thing governments worldwide can do to further the life of oil and bring down prices for the future is to gather a global fund for oil extraction technology. Small forms of alliance can help people across oceans to ease and empathize with each other. Partnerships around the corners of the globe need to be met and maintained for the price of oil to remain in a safe state. As shown by the Middle East, when havoc breaks loose between the Israelis and Palestinians, uncertainty and gas prices shoot up (4).
    In a brief statement, the world needs to see a diversification in supply and a decline in demand for oil while also providing the alternatives for people to grab hold of. The more choice there is on the market, the more the oil price is bound to decline.

    sm_candomachine.gif

    What can YOU do today?
    The high demand and wallet stinging price of oil clashing with the uncertainty in major oil producing countries calls for changes in the near and long term future for the world. Not only do nations need to start stepping up to the plate but individuals as well have to begin to change gears. Here are a few things to do on the individual scale that would subsequently affect the global scene.

    1. Get Smart! Research facts, data, news articles (although watch for bias) and get to the bottom of the issue yourself
    2. Take the initiative to change your habits and lifestyle. Take matters into our own hands and buy the clean emission car or use the mass transit system. Change doesn't start by telling others to do something you haven't done yourself.
    3. Get Involved! Promote the alternatives to oil and become an advocate for the better cause; organize a strike or petition against oil producing companies, and lend active support for the companies who support and innovate new forms of alternative energy sources.
    4. Get Connected! Gear up with the policy makers of your community, district, state, and nation to spread the word and promote the health of the environment and condition for the future.
    5. Educate! With the populations of China and India pumping into a consumer based society, now with the innovation of cars, they are probably the most at risk to fall into a United States situation with the high need for oil. Promoting alternative fuels goes beyond a countries borders, it is information that needs to be globalized and used.

    Where to learn more information:
    Best and Worst Cars for the Environment: www.greenercars.com
    International Energy Agency: http://www.iea.org/
    Oil and Gas International: http://www.oilandgasinternational.com
    National Resource Defense Council: http://www.nrdc.org/air/transportation/default.asp
    Energy Efficiency Economy: http://www.aceee.org/

    Footnotes Part 3:

    1. “Why global oil prices are rising” http://in.rediff.com/money/2005/sep/01oil.htm

    2. Blustein, Paul and Timberg,Craig “High Oil Prices Met With Anger Worldwide” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2005/10/02/AR2005100201315.html

    3. “Global View of Gas Prices” http://video.msn.com/v/us/dw.htm?m=us&p=truveo&g=2781153c-8052-498e-a499-c89716e74c2a

    4. “Mideast fears send oil above $78” http://www.cnn.com/2006/BUSINESS/07/13/oil.price.ap/index.html

    Part 4. Realistically, what can be done about this issue?
    By Cindy Lanzas

    The G8 leaders are now meeting and discussing a number of issues including the problems of using oil for a main energy source. This is the most realistic action we can take on a global level. It’s unfortunate that more countries don’t or can’t participate in these types of meetings and have their sides heard and hear others. Understanding where other countries stand on the issue is key to beginning to find solutions.

    G8.jpg

    While it is great that the leaders of these 8 countries are meeting, it seems that their problem solving is stunted by their primary concern for their own countries.
    There is such competition between countries due to history and current events that they are very focused on their own countries’ well-being and are not completely open and willing to collaborate. They are paranoid that an idea initiated by other countries will end up benefiting the other country and leave them with the lesser outcome. This paranoia and suspicion prevents countries from having the most productive interactions possible. The best thing would be if the leaders could trust each other more, but it’s understandable that they don’t.
    As individuals, we can voice our support for fixing the oil situation to our leaders and put actions behind our words by using less gas. When traveling to other countries, we can represent our countries as best as possible. Americans, especially, have a reputation in other countries for being loud, disruptive, and disregarding rules. If we, Americans, can present a better, more respectful identity of the American citizens to other countries, perhaps their opinion of America will shift, if only slightly, and political dealings can become less strained.
    Recently, there was something of a gas war between Moscow, Russia and Kiev, Ukraine. Kiev disagreed with Moscow’s proposed price increase and, in turn, Moscow cut Ukraine’s gas supply. Moscow says that in doing so they did not short the European countries that receive gas through pipelines crossing Ukraine, yet the European countries were experiencing a shortage. Ukraine finally admitted that it had been withholding gas meant for those European countries (which receive 25% of their gas supply from Russia) because Moscow had been cutting Ukraine’s supply. Taking place during winter, the demand for gas was high and the withholding by Moscow and Ukraine was making the supplies low (3). Ukraine claims that Russia was using gas as a way to punish them for their westernized government system in addition to the price disagreement (1). If gas continues to be so precious, there is no doubt that there will be more disagreements like that between Russia and Ukraine. In addition, gas will continue to be used as a means of manipulation against other countries, leaving people – perhaps not even involved in the disagreement – without enough energy.
    The G8 leaders say they want to increase competition so situations like that with Russia, Ukraine, and some European countries can’t happen due to one source having too much power (2). Should competition not expand and dependence on oil not decrease, those who distribute it will have a ridiculous amount of power and we will be easily manipulated.

    Footnotes Part 4:

    1. “Europe Suffers Gas Import Cuts Following Russia’s Move.” Mosnews. 2 January
    2006. 16 July 2006. < http://www.mosnews.com/news/2006/01/02/
    ukrgasupdate.shtml
    >

    2. “G8 Leaders Release Joint Statement on Energy Security.” Mosnews. 16 July 2006. 16
    July 2006. < http://www.mosnews.com/money/2006/07/16/geightenergy.shtml>

    3. “Ukraine Admits Withholding Russian Gas Meant for Europe.” Mosnews. 24 January
    2006. 14 July 2006. < http://www.mosnews.com/news/2006/01/24/
    ukraineadmits.shtml
    >

    Global Education

    What should be done
    by Troy Park

    Educating our people has been a problem for all of the countries on the planet. Alan M. Thomas, a professor of Adult Education at the University of Toronto states, “The inclusion of adults in education is now understood not as a matter of privilege but as a matter of survival – collective and individual.” He directly addresses the matter of education, not only for children but adults with that statement clearly explaining that in order to survive we must be properly educated. Education is also one of the main ways that countries can increase their wealth with knowledge of economics. Third world countries struggle largely with the alarmingly low literacy rates in comparison to us. What causes these education problems and what can we do to fix them? A huge reason for the educational problem is the amount of money the country is able to put into their education programs. Even though we think that we, here in the U.S., have a major education problem there are many countries currently struggling even more than we are.
    Ever hear the phrase, “knowledge is power?” Well that phrase currently holds true in our world. Our literacy rate for adults, ages 15 and over, in North America is over an astounding 35% higher than those in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab States, and South and West Asia who, all together make up nearly 70% of the globe’s illiterate population. Despite the numbers, we mustn’t get too cocky with those statistics because if we intend to keep our label as a superpower we must stay on top of our education. But right now, as it stands, the countries with higher educations generally show a greater income than third world countries that are struggling to get by. Low income countries, much like the ones in Africa, struggle mostly with being able to educate teachers to teach. Even if they are lucky enough to be properly educated, what makes you think they would accept the lower pay in their home country, versus moving somewhere else where they could be paid much better?
    In the year 2000, one in five adults, ages 15 and over, were considered illiterate in accordance with the UN’s standards. Since 2003 the UN has imposed their new United Nations Literacy Decade for the years 2003-2012. What they hope to accomplish is an increase in literacy to 90%. Looking at past trends, by 2015, the number of illiterates worldwide should be reduced from the 860 million in 2000 to 800 million.
    If we want to see a better global economy we need to raise the standards of all countries, not only ours. Though we see celebrities and politicians traveling the globe to help the needy is that really enough to say that we are truly making the world a better place. Just like our local law of evenly distributing taxes to all districts to better our public schools, maybe the UN should impose one that would have wealthier countries provide third world countries money to fund education specifically. Either that or we could require a certain amount of qualified teachers from wealthy countries to travel to third world countries and teach a year before moving back to teach in their home countries. This idea could cause problems for a lot of teachers unwilling to move away to a place where they might not feel safe, but it would be for a good cause.
    As students we could raise money within our classes to sponsor a child living in another country to go to school. A little bit of money from everyone could turn into an education for many children that live in poverty stricken countries.
    http://www.uis.unesco.org/ev.php?ID=6057_201&ID2=DO_TOPIC
    http://www.galtglobalreview.com/education/Adult%20Education.htm
    http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=12874&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html


    b1cee5bde722407767200c4a96f57b4agmr2005.jpg
    A child in the classroom of Tintihigrene school, Mali,
    where there is one teacher for 65 pupils.
    © CRISPIN HUGHES/PANOS/EDITINGSERVER.COM


    What can be done?
    By Jordan Fujimoto

    Realistically, what can be done about this issue?

    The current issue at hand is that millions of people around the world are not receiving the education they should be. Currently, there are over 860 million illiterate people around the world, 61 percent of which come from Bangladesh, China, India, and Pakistan. People all over the world are falling victim to a failing global educational system consisting of incompetent teachers and unwilling students. This is why the world needs to develop better educational systems with more motivated teachers. The students often reflect their teachers, and as the statistics show, neither of them are meeting standards by any means. More money needs to be spent on global education because in order for this world and its economy to function to its greatest potential, there needs to be educated citizens to help it run. One that is familiar with the concept of supply and demand will support the claim that teachers and educational programs require, and should receive, more money because of the decrease in the quantity supplied of teachers, and the increase in demand of them. “There is a worldwide shortage of school teachers and, according to the EFA Report 2002, an extra 15-35 million more teachers will be required to achieve universal primary education by 2015.” The educational field needs to attract far more motivated and competent teachers to run the educational system. However, this will not happen until the ridiculously low income of teachers improves, and the emphasis of a “good education” is strengthened. The world is changing rapidly, and the people in need to be educated enough to keep up with it. Therefore, I believe that every country should sacrifice funds from other areas to increase education. For example, the more powerful countries should sacrifice some military and defense funds to improve the educational systems of their nation as well as the other poorer countries around it. Not only do nations need to help themselves achieve higher education standards, they also need to help those less fortunate than them to achieve the same goal. By helping the world as a whole achieve higher education, the world economy would prosper far more and far quicker. I also believe that wealthy nations should split their educational funds into three categories: educators, facilities, and charity. Under the educators are basically the people that help the education system to run smoothly, mostly dealing with teachers however. Facilities obviously deal with the equipment and teaching materials of the schools around the nation. Lastly, and most importantly, charity deals with helping other nations achieve the same educational systems of the other countries. The concept needs to be to educate and help. By helping another nation to educate its people, not only will the benefactor be helping the world become and better place, they will also benefit by possibly forming a partnership with someone who, in the future, will produce vital and valuable products.

    What are the “powers at be” not doing?

    The powers at be are overlooking the global issue of education, and are only focusing on their national education problem. Although I do agree that nations must first stabilize their educational system, they also have to realize that they can gain just as much by helping a less fortunate country educate its citizens. Every nation seems to be worried about national security and technological advancements. Although these concerns are valid and should receive attention, they rival if not fall short to the urgency of the educational advancements the world needs. The powers at be must cut funds from other areas to improve global education and ensure a healthy and prosperous economy in the future. By cutting funds from national security, the world could potentially become a better and safer place. It’s a win, win situation because the world becomes better educated, hopefully resulting in less disputes and mishaps, and since there’s less funds for weapons and bombs, the world would be less violent as well.

    What impact could you have to change the current situation?

    Globally, there isn’t much direct service one can do help this issue. However, there are two major service categories that should attract the attention of citizens all over the world. The first one is citizenship. The people of the world need to vote and let congress know how we feel about this issue. We need to write letters and voice our opinions about where we feel our tax money should be going, and how much we fear an undereducated world in future years. Hopefully with enough support, the “powers at be” will realize that they need to spend more time and money solving this urgent issue. The second service is charity. Charity can help to fund projects and activities to help underprivileged nations improve their educational systems. People need to start charities for this cause, and people need to donate to keep it running. Maybe both services will connect and sway congress to push more money into the educational fund. Either way, more money is put into the educational system, and we all benefit despite a small loss in income.

    What do you foresee in the future if the solution(s) you’re advocating is/are not implemented or if conditions continue in their present state?

    If these issues to not get solved, the world’s economy will suffer in the future, and many nations will find themselves in poverty. Less education will lead to more poverty and less development which will kill of many industries and impoverish many people in many countries. “Education is development's basic building block and is vital for alleviating poverty.” In order for the world to continue to prosper and grow, there needs to be a good level of development to account for the increasing population. The world’s future is looking grim according to statistics that show that 41 countries have had dramatic decreases in access to primary education for children in their country. Eventually, we will also lack the teachers we need to keep the educational system running. If we do not increase the pay and quality of these teachers, the numbers will thin down until the ratio between students to teachers in a single classroom will escalate to the high double if not triple digits. The longer this problem lingers, the more severe it gets. Something needs to be done now; the problem is simple and the solutions are obvious. The only thing left to do is to take action.

    http://www.globaleducation.edna.edu.au/globaled/go/cache/offonce/pid/27;jsessionid=E04AF81231D2D7F323BFB0AF11F0BAD6
    http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=35978&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

    http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/focus/focuspdfs/0700/Focus_July2000.pdf

    July 16, 2006

    INTRO

    In order to understand minimum wages on a global level, this paper will consider the labor situations of three areas in depth: China, India, and Europe. Historically, wages in China have been notoriously low. However, wages have been increasing due to a recent worker shortage, and may exceed the price of India's employment. Some European countries, in constrast, have instated a higher minimum wage that the United States'. However, these minimum wage laws are often not substantial enough to reach that nation's poverty line. There has been some discussion of a global minimum wage law. A law like this would have benefits, but it could also harm the global economy.

    China

    CHINA'S LABOR HISTORY
    Unfortunately, it is difficult to find reliable statistics of China. The few records that exist are not comprehensive, and it is hard to cross-reference due to differences in payment schedules and currency. A common form of payment in China was tael, 37 grams of unminted silver. During the 1700s and early 1800s, wages in China slightly but steadily increased. In 1976, the average daily wage for unskilled workers was 0.03 tael. In 1813, the average wage was abour 0.04 tael. Those who lived in large cities received higher pay, due to a higher cost of living. The highest wages were earned in Manchuria and Xinjiang, and the lowest in Fujian.(1) In the late nineteenth century, wages rose to about 0.08 tael per day. Although this seems like a large increase, workers in China recieved far less payment than Europeans performing similar jobs. However, the standard of living of Chinese workers was comparable to European workers.(1)
    China became increasingly urban. Many poor families moved away from the countryside and into cities to earn a living. In the 1960s and 1970s, China attempted to curb the migration. Rural to urban migration increased federal spending in the form of social services and road maintainance. Also, because the number of farmers were decreasing, the supply of agricultural goods decreased, causing their prices to rise. To reduce these labor costs, China focused on developing industries that relied heavily on capital (buildings, factories, and other man-made resources) and a smaller labor force. This led to a surplus in laborers, forcing unskilled workers to compete for extremely low-paying jobs.(2)
    Foreign companies were enticed by China's huge supply of willing workers. China also encouraged business by forming Special Economic Zones; businesses established in these areas were given special tax breaks, and the power to determine the size and pay of their work force.(2)
    CHINA'S CURRENT SITUATION
    Companies have long enjoyed this labor surplus. For the 88 million farmers who migrated to cities, wages are extremely low. The average wages for unskilled workers in 2004 were between $58 and $74 a month (3). Many of these workers lacked health insurance, job security, and power to change working conditions. Chinese factory laborers are paid 64 cents an hour, including wages and social insurance. This average includes more than 70 million suburban and rural factory workers are paid 45 cents per hour. In contrast, United States factory workers earn $21.11 per hour.(4)
    However, in recent years this worker surplus has turned into a shortage. China's one-child policy has reduced the number of able employees. Tax reductions and other incentives have made agriculture more profitable, reducing the number of farmers migrating from rural areas. Young people are opting for education rather than factory work, minimizing the work force. Other workers aren't qualified for the jobs that need to be filled. One province claims to have 2.5 million vacant jobs.(5)
    This surplus allows workers to demand higher wages and better conditions. Minimum wages are increasing by 10% every year. These rising production costs have contributed to inflation, but the inflation (at 2-3%) is small in comparison to the increased incomes.(6) One business, in response to increased labor costs, has chosed to decrease energy costs. St. Louis-based Emerson has built a solar-powered office and introduced recycling.(7) Workers are receiving increased benefits and employers are forced to offer more flexible hours. The majority of workers in China are seeing an increase in wages, and with it, an increase in their standard of living.

    THE FUTURE
    Although wages are higher, they are too low to live comfortably. The often demonstrations and strikes in China cause citizens to worry about their country's political and economic stability. Some believe an increase in workers' wages would increase purchasing power and consumption, creating jobs for other Chinese citizens. China should reduce dependency on its exports, and instead look to their own people for revenue, encouraging economic growth with a stronger domestic market.
    The government has suggested tax relief as a solution to rural poverty. The plan is to subsidize farmers' costs to grow food in high-demand or build resevoirs.(8)
    However, if wages continue to increase, businesses may look to other countries for cheap sources of labor. Some firms are considering relocating. This would cause a sharp decline in available jobs in China, sending many citizens back into poverty. If prices continue to rise, these costs may be passed onto the consumer. Because China depends so heavily on exports, this could cause worldwide cost-push inflation.

    (1)www.iisg.nl/research/jvz-wages_prices.pdf
    (2) http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1094/is_4_39/ai_n9483917/pg_2
    (3)http://www.bankresearch.org/economicpolicyblog/2006/04/globalization_i.html
    (4)http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/dec2004/nf2004122_6762_db039.htm
    (5) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_13/b3977049.htm
    (6)http://www.washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20060415-091638-9341r.htm
    (7)http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/20060620TDY08008.htm
    (8)http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/mar2006/gb20060309_834667.htm

    Poverty: Global


    Background Information
    When we think of poverty throughout the world, it has, in fact become one of the biggest issues of the century. It has a far greater affect on our world, compared to the problems within our own communities. What have we done to try and decrease the poverty rate? Not much to observe a change, that’s for sure. We have the money and power to end poverty, so why doesn’t anyone do anything to stop it entirely? We can do so many things to help reduce the amount of people living in poverty in the world, yet there are not enough people to complete all of these tasks.
    Nearly half the people living in the world, almost three billion people, live on less than two dollars in a day. With that said, the GDP of the poorest 48 nations is less than the wealth of the world’s three richest people combined. Almost 20% of the total population who live in the more developed nations consume at least 86% of the world’s total goods. On top of that, the top fifth of the world’s people in the richest countries enjoy 82% of the expanding export trade and 68% of foreign direct investment. (1) The debate on children living in poverty is just as great or greater than any other age groups. In relation to the Poverty Facts and Stats and UNICEF, the lives of 1.7 million children were needlessly lost in the year 2000, because world governments failed to reduce the poverty levels. Shockingly, 30,000 children also die each day due to the effects of destitution. They “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on Earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”
    According to the World Development Movement, policies of governments and companies are keeping people poor. Policies that ensure global trade benefit the rich, not the poor. The powerful are exploiting the poor to make bigger and bigger profits. The solution they also came up with to end the issue of poverty was this: “We lobby decision makers to change the policies that keep people poor.” (2) They claim that their solution to the controversy of poverty would work. “In rich countries like Britain, decisions are made which can make or break the lives of the poor. We can influence those decisions. That’s why our actions matter so much. Together we can be powerful and win change for the world’s poor.” (2) This statement can sound so convincing and legitimate for us to believe. However, governments do not track policies that put profits before the poor because they chose to do so instead of not choosing to. They also haven’t pressured the rich into engaging in policies that go in their favor. Obviously, they do not have a choice, because they are not in control of things. As we have learned, the current economic system of capitalism is based on wealth being produced for sale on a market with a view to profit from. The government does not run under capitalism to satisfy people’s wishes, but to accumulate and make profits for ourselves. This, however, is required, or they will risk making things worse by triggering an economic catastrophe.

    (1) http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Facts.asp
    (2) http://www.worldsocialism.org/

    Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com
    A brief map of countries throughout the world ranging from less to most severe cases of poverty.
    (http://www.dokus.com/PapersontheWeb/figure06.jpg)

    Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com
    A more detailed map showing different areas, showing the percent of people living on less than $2 a day.
    (http://www.theodora.com/maps/new9/poverty_map.gif)

    ~Aubrie


    "Half of the world, nearly three billion people, live on less than two dollars a day." We all hear about the rich and the famous in our lives, but we never really stop to think about people in poverty. Poverty can mean different things to different people, but if you take a look at the whole picture, you realize that our world really is in poverty. Despite the efforts to end world hunger, unemployment, and such, there really seems to be no end in sight. (1)
    In many countries, there is no middle class. There is a poor level and a rich level, but there never is a middle level. Poverty is definitely not "restricted to just developing countries," Many industrialized nations are seeing a decline in wealth and recognize that many people are being left behind
    The main issue isn't what world poverty is, or who has it and who doesn't. Poverty is generally the same throughout because it basically leads to the same things, unstable futures. If you think about it, this world would be quite different if all the countries came together and helped out. We're so busy worrying about our own selves and how our countries "look" that nobody ever remembers what's behind the curtain. In fact, recently, in almost all the presidential elections, world poverty was not a factor towards their worries. It seems ridiculous that behind all this talk of poverty, world hunger, and homelessness there could be just one solution. "The great paradox of out time is that massive suffering of the world's poor- from disease, hunger, unsafe water and more- could be readily overcome with just a modicum of help from the richest countries. For less than 1% of the income of the wealthiest countries each year, the worst afflictions of poverty could be substantially reduced, if not eliminated."(2)
    Obviously throughout the years, countries poor and rich have come together and swore to do anything to help the global issue of world hunger. But, it seems almost impossible to get these countries to even go through with their repeated promises. They continue to have meetings like that of in 2000 where 150 world leaders gathered to discuss problems and set goals for the new millennium at the United Nations in New York. The richest countries (United States, Japan, and the European countries) all agreed to increase their foreign aid. Poor countries have also agreed to help somehow. The millennium goal seemed easy and reasonable. "The deal was a fair one: more aid in return for good governance. The amazing fact is that financial assistance of up to seven-tenths of 1% of wealthy nations' annual economic output — aid totaling roughly $175 billion at today's income levels — would, if used effectively by the recipient countries, make it possible to control the great pandemic diseases of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; increase food productivity of impoverished farmers in the tropics; ensure that children are in school rather than at work; and enable poor households to obtain at least minimally acceptable access to safe drinking water, energy and markets." (2)
    But, in the end of course countries do what's best for them and not what they promised. Wealthy countries contribute still only two- tenths of 1% of their incomes which is 5 less from the seven-tenths. Rich countries say that they cannot donate more out of their incomes to the world. But, why is it that the United States, Japan, and the European Union combined, spend a lot more in things like, protecting inefficient sugar producers in temperate climates, than they do in foreign aid.
    These are the times where you think to yourself, what are these countries thinking? If we could finally walk the walk instead of just talking the talk, you'd think we wouldn't need all these fancy meetings (which probably cost money also) in order to solve something that we're just too lazy to deal with. It's a worldwide problem, and people just seem to not want to deal with it now.
    "There is no more time to lose in creating a world of greater justice, prosperity and shared security.” (2)
    Click here to see the World's Poverty Map.

    (1) http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/PovertyAroundTheWorld.asp#TheWealthyandthePoor
    (2) http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0709-12.htm
    ~Christina


    Individual Action

    As we look at poverty on a global level, it becomes harder to relate too personally because we are so far away from the direct issues, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Millions of children around the world are dying each day and we need to help out, and I think that the only way we can do such is by helping the people who can help. Examples of people that can make a difference on such a wide scale problem are, governments, worldwide organizations, and billionaires. If we can get through to people who can make a difference, we will be able to witness changes.
    Rumor has it that if each country gave 1% of their annual profits to charities or to help with poverty in the world, we could completely eliminate poverty all together. So why is it that so many people still live undernourished and poor. The fact is that even though Governments have so much money, they continue to overlook the issues of poverty by putting it on the back burner and choose to spend excessive amounts of money on weapons that are ironically being made to hurt more people. In fact, studies show that less than one percent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000, but it was overlooked (3). If children don’t receive a good education, they won’t be able to get a good job when they grow up, and the circle of poverty will continue with them. Nearly a billion people in the world are unable to read a book or sign their names. Not being able to read and write leads to unemployment, which is another reason that many people live in poverty.
    According to UNICEF, 30,000 children die each day due to poverty. It is said, “They die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world”(3). So what can we do to help? Go to http://www.unicef.org/ and find out what you can do to help, such as collecting money for the organization, or becoming a voice of youth leader. Also UNICEF has created this great program called the “junior 8” who shadow the actual leaders of the G8 by discussing the same issues that the G8 discuss. The junior 8 also get to meet and share their ideas and concerns with the G8, which is really cool because kids have great ideas and solutions as well.
    Another great way to help out is to hold a benefit concert, for example, there have been many concerts in the past to help raise money for aids and to help with poverty in many third world countries. In fact, Live 8, the greatest concert ever aired live, was very effective as an "awareness campaign" in solidarity with Africa. Its main objective was to put pressure on the Group of Eight leaders (G8) to increase foreign aid flows and cancel the debt of the World's poorest countries so that they can stop worrying about paying off their debts and focus on development in their own countries (4). So like I’ve said before, the best way to help out is to get involved.

    (3) http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Poverty.asp
    (4) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20050705&articleId=641

    ~Megan

    Global Drug Abuse

    Current Global Situation: Christine Ibaraki


    “Drugs destroy lives and communities, undermine sustainable human development and generate crime. Drugs affect all sectors of society in all countries; in particular, drug abuse affects the freedom and development of young people, the world’s most valuable asset. Drugs are a grave threat to the health and well-being of all mankind, the independence of States, democracy, the stability of nations, the structure of all societies, and the dignity and hope of millions of people and their families.”(1)
    In 1998, Mr. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General made delivered this in the Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Countering the World Drug Problem Together. During the session, Member States identified the global drug problems as well as outlined solutions and initiatives that would be taken to solve the problems. They established the year 2003 as a “target date for new or enhanced drug demand reduction strategies and programmes set up in close collaboration with public health, social welfare and law enforcement authorities” and set the year 2008 as a target date by which “Member States should have made real progress in eliminating or reducing significantly crops of opium poppy, coca and cannabis”(1). They listed the numerous consequences of drug abuse, including“adverse effects on health; the upsurge in crime, violence and corruption; draining of human, natural and financial resources that might otherwise be used for social and economic development...” and They committed to reversing the growing trend in drug abuse and production with supply control and demand reduction(1).

    View PDF



    Marijuana

    View full image
    In the Global Illicit Drug Trends Report (2003) the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime lists Marijuana as “the most widely consumed illicit drug worldwide” although more patients are treated for abusers of cocaine. The reported an estimated that 163 million people abused the drug in 2000/2001. Nations in the Oceania region (which consists of numerous islands in the Pacific Ocean, and sometimes Australia, New Zealand, parts of Indonesia etc) have the highest percentage of abusers age 15 and above followed by Africa, the Americas, and Europe, while the Americas lead in total number of abusers followed by Europe.

    View PDF


    Cocaine

    View full image
    The same report lists cocaine as the second most common problem drug in the world and the main problem drug in the Americas and the reports that around 14 million people are effected by cocaine consumption with about 9 million in the Americas and 3.7 million in Western Europe. In most nations in the Americas, like the US, and in western Europe, like Spain, cocaine is second or third and usually follows marijuana, but in eastern Europe it ranks as the 4th to 6th most common problem drug. The US is listed at the nation with the largest cocaine market and North America leads the globe with an estimated 6.35 million of people abusing cocaine.


    View PDF



    Crystal Meth

    View full image
    Several problems that the UN listed under the category of “amphetamine-type stimulants” which include crystal methamphetamine, were that while use is growing rapidly, global awareness and response is limited, and that through modern technology (the internet) recipes for clandestine manufacture are accessible to the public, etc.




    1.http://www.unodc.org/pdf/report_1999-01-01_1.pdf

    European Minimum Wage

    Many European countries, like the U.S., have a minimum wage law. Many of these countries, like Netherlands, Servia, and Ukraine, have minimum wage laws that ensure far less pay than America. However, there are a few countries that have minimum wage laws that ensure more pay for employees like Malta, Ireland, and Poland(1). European countries main form of currency is the Euro, so to compare that to U.S. dollars we must first find the strength of the Euro to the Dollar; it turns out that one Euro is worth about $1.27(2). The minimum wage in various countries in Europe, when converted to U.S. dollars, ranges from $442.77 (in Netherlands) to $22,969.85 (in Malta) per year. The U.S. minimum wage falls somewhere in between at about $13,500.00 per year(1).

    europeminwage.jpg

    The huge difference in minimum wages in European countries may not be so different when you factor in the cost of living. Some cities, like London, are ranked among the highest cities in the world in terms of cost of living according to a Mercer Human Resources Consulting survey(3). After adjusting the minimum wage pay for the cost of living in each country the actual pay is not as radically different than it first appeared to be. In Europe there is a poverty line, like in America, and many countries do not pay employees enough to meet that poverty line. This creates an economic problem for countries that are not paying employees enough to get themselves out of poverty. In that way there is a problem very much like the on in America; no matter how hard or long you work at a minimum wage job, you can not get yourself out of poverty.
    In Europe there is another problem that makes the situation even worse, it’s called the ‘working time problem’. A full time working week is considered to be anywhere from 35-40 hours depending on which country a person may be in. However, there is also a cap on how many hours an employee may work in a week; this cap ranges from 43 to 48 hours a week. This not only prevents those individuals that want to work longer hours to improve their income, but it also prevents the employers from reaching maximum productive efficiency. This means that the economy also suffers because the manufacturers are not operating at maximum efficiency. Another reason that the European countries are not operating at maximum efficiency is that because of the socially oriented politics about 1 in 4 employees are not at work at any given time. This is because the politics in these areas allow for annual, maternity, and parental leave as well as part time employment opportunities. Not only does law require these things but, some countries have taken more measures that make it more beneficial to be away on leave than at work. These measures include double holiday pay along with many opportunities for employees to take leave. Therefore, many people find it much easier to take leave as often as possible to get the double holiday pay(4).
    So, what should be done about this problem in Europe? The political policies make it hard for business to operate at maximum efficiency since 1 out of 4 employees are not at work at any given time. So it may have to start with political policies; the employee must be given more incentive to work than to take leave so that the employers may operate at maximum efficiency. I think this first step should be taken before raising the minimum wage because Europe has been raising the minimum wage in many countries and it still doesn’t pay employees enough to get out of poverty(5).

    (1) http://www.fedee.com/minwage.html
    (2) http://www.google.com/search?q=1+Euro+in+USD&btnG=Google+Search
    (3) http://www.imercer.com/australia/col.asp
    (4) http://www.fedee.com/workinghours.shtml
    (5) http://www.purpleocean.org/node/10693

    Erin Moon
    Economy
    10:00


    Global Education


    Education comes in all forms, whether it be from the Chinese who use wooden pellets as calculators or to the Americans who have developed the worlds first nuclear bomb. Just like music and dance, education is “universal language,” understood by all and affecting all. Because of the current global education situation, it is really hard to decipher what country can call themselves the “smartest” and best education people. There are three main problems when it comes to education, enrollment, funding, and a lack of teachers.
    One of the main powers of the world, Asia has been developing right along the United States. Although it is clear that the U.S still holds the most developed education system, Asia is in the run, improving their education system. “Asia Society has two primary education objectives: one focuses on teaching and learning about Asia; and the other on expanding our nation's investments in international studies at the elementary and secondary school levels.” It’s interesting to see what other countries focus on, such as Asia who devotes part of their education system to knowing where they come from and their history. Unlike the American education system where the basics are taught such as math, science, and history, Asia has a unique difference they are trying to not only educate their people but they are also working on bridging the international knowledge gap. In Asia enrollment is at around 62%, meaning that almost a third of its population and kids are not attending school. Although Asia has been trying to improve their education system by changing their curriculum, it won’t make a huge difference if kids do not attend school. Because enrollment is such a problem not only in Asia but in most poorer countries, education around the world is at a stand still. In 1998, the enrollment percentage of Asia rose to around 73%, even though that’s not an outstanding improvement, the percentage of kids not attending school is still to high. One distinct difference among education around the world is richer countries have a higher enrollment rate than those who do not have as much funding. Because the richer the country, the more money there is available to their education program, which makes it clear that those who are more developed countries will continue to their reign when it comes to their literacy rate and education level.
    Another problem that is seemingly to occur more and more is the shortage of teachers. Without teachers, schooling is useless, especially without education and competent teachers. In the world today, people are more practical and realistic that morally driven. The salary of an average schooling teacher is around $31,000, a pretty small amount to support oneself and even a family. Because teacher salaries are so low paid, the incentive to becoming a teacher is low, people want to get the higher paying jobs so they abandon the education field and jump into a job that will pay more money. The society everybody lives in is driven by money, not only are Americans being forced to get higher end paying jobs but places such as France and England where education is not a main priority are being driven away from the teaching industry.

    July 15, 2006

    Slideshow: Larsen B Ice Shelf breakup, January 31 to March 5, 2002

    To Stem The Tide Of Darkness: The Fight Against Global Poverty

    A Historical, Global Epidemic (History - Chris Alm)
    For Hawaii, America, and the entire world, poverty has always been a problem. For many countries, poverty has been caused by both external and internal influences. From continents that are obviously poor, such as Africa, to continents, such as Europe, in which it is not so apparent, poverty has persisted throughout the ages.
    Africa is a continent made up of 54 nations which can be annually found on lists of the world’s poorest countries. But why has Africa always been counted among the globe’s most impoverished nations? The causes can be found both from sources outside the continent and from within the nations themselves. One of the main external reasons for why Africa is in its current state of poverty is the colonial period which occurred from the 15th century all the way until the middle of the 20th century. (4) During this time, 90.4% of the Africa continent was controlled by European nations. These included Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and more. (5)
    colonial africa.jpg
    Colonial Africa.

    The European nations indulged in the natural resources and riches of the African nations, often giving back nothing to the natives in return. Another lasting effect of European colonization which led to problems in Africa was the fact that the European countries themselves set up the borders of the African nations when they colonized the continent and gave no regard to ethnic groupings or cultural differences. This made unity among people in African countries a problem later. The slave trade also affected countries in Africa, as families were separated from each other and many Africans were forced to leave their homes for faraway places, such as the Americas and the Caribbean. Finally, one of the major problems about colonialism in Africa which helped lead countries to become impoverished later on, was that the European nations which participated in the colonialism often set up little to no infrastructure in the African countries. This posed a problem because when African countries began to gain their independence, mainly in the 20th century, those countries were unable to advance very far economically because they did not even have the most basic necessities in place, such as good roadways, clean water, plumbing, electricity, and heating, not to mention that housing was usually horrendous and education definitely lacking. Without an infrastructure in place, African nations were unable to move their economies forward and as a result, most Westernized nations were uninterested in becoming economically involved with countries in Africa. With almost no help from the West, most African countries have not grown very much, even to this day. (9)
    However, all of the poverty problems in African countries cannot be solely blamed on the period of colonialism and its following repercussions. Many of the current poverty problems in Africa stem from internal sources, one in particular being, corrupt and inexperienced governments and leadership. There have been many cited cases of unskilled, often militaristic leaders who took control of Africa countries soon after their independence from European colonizing nations and simply dominated the country. These leaders were free to do as the pleased, often pocketing most of the wealth generated by a country either by means of production or by foreign aid. Also, many of the leaders of African countries often chose to not make the much needed repairs to the weak infrastructures of the various African nations, if those infrastructures existed at all, that is.
    An example of this is President Paul Biya of Cameroon. He rose to power in 1982 and has held his position until the current day. As stated by a man living in Cameroon, President Biya receives 90% of the popular vote in each election, although it is clear that 90% of the population of Cameroon does not vote for him. Also, it can be seen that the president does not care much for the infrastructure of his country as he leaves roads in disrepair for time periods of almost twenty years. It was also stated that if he chose, President Biya would be able to take half the income on a new power generator and simply keep it for himself, without regard to what effect that would have on his country. (1) President Biya is not an isolated case. Another example can be seen in the country of Malawi when Dr. Hastings K. Banda declared himself president for life in 1971. Banda stated, “one party, one government, one leader, and no nonsense about it.” While Banda was in power, he maintained close relations to former colonizers and the white government of South Africa. (2) An estimate by a BBC African analyst estimates that corruption costs the continent 150 billion dollars a year. (3)
    paul_biya_1.jpg
    President Paul Biya.

    Although it is true that Africa is very impoverished, as many people stereotype, the more wealthy, Western nations are not without poverty problems of their own. Take Europe for example. During the 20th century, that continent was ravaged by two of the greatest wars in history, and between those two wars by a cataclysmic event which originated halfway around the world. As a result of the first World War, which ended in 1919, all of the European nations which had been involved had to go about rebuilding their damaged countries and repaying war debts, mainly to America. The country which had to worry about this in particular, was Germany, one of the losing nations of World War I.
    Because of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was forced to relinquish much of its land holdings in Europe, over one million square miles, and the country also had to give up its colonies in Africa. In addition to territorial losses, Germany was also blamed the most for the war and therefore was forced to pay the largest amount of war debts by the other European nations. (6) In order to pay back all of these war debts the German government printed large quantities of money. However, this large influx in cash made inflation rise far too high and made German money practically worthless. The United States tried to implement a program called the Dawes Plan which would help Germany pay its war reparations. However, America had stopped the Dawes Plan in 1929, right around the time when a disaster struck America and then spread to the rest of the world. (7)
    This disaster was known as the Great Depression and lasted from 1929 all the way until World War II. Although it’s a well known fact that the Great Depression was terribly damaging to the American economy, it hit most other countries in the world hard as well, Europe included. The reason for this was that since the economy of the world’s greatest power, that is, America, had collapsed, all the other countries which America was helping with money and aid, that is, Europe, among others, also collapsed. Countries such as Britain and France were hurt because they had not yet recovered from the first World War, however, their damages were nothing compared to Germany’s.
    greatdparis.jpg
    A breadline in Paris during the Great Depression.

    The Great Depression hurt the businesses in Germany and caused massive unemployment. (8) This destruction of Germany’s economy lasted until they elected a new leader, Adolph Hitler, who began military production and promised the Germans that they would get what they deserved in the world.
    The history of world poverty is vast and far reaching. Talking about colonization and government corruption in Africa and impacts of World War I and the Great Depression in Europe is only scraping the tip of the Ice Burg. There are many other countries which suffered and continue to suffer to this day from poverty brought upon them by both internal and external sources.

    Sources
    (1) http://www.reason.com/0603/fe.th.why.shtml
    (2) http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107747.html
    (3)http://worldnews.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=worldnews&
    zu=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.bbc.co.uk%2F2%2Fhi%2Fafrica%2F2265387.stm
    (4) http://encyclopedia.com/html/A/Africa.asp
    (5) http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pol116/colonies.htm
    (6) http://www.schoolshistory.org.uk/ASLevel_History/week4_versailles.htm
    (7) http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1371.html
    (8) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression#Italy_and_Germany
    (9) http://worldnews.about.com/od/africa/tp/africachallenge.htm

    Global Poverty- The Current Situation (Current Situation - Samantha Ng)

    East Asia:
    Currently, the number of people in poverty in East Asia is declining. Since 2001, the World Bank claims that over 50 million people in this region have been “lifted out of poverty. In 1997, studies showed that approximately half of China’s population lived on less than $2 a day.(7) The World Bank estimated that by the end of 2004, only about one third of the population would be in that situation. While this is still 437,991,237 people, it is a drastic decrease from 656,986,856 people living on less than $2 a day.(8) One reason for this improvement is an increased economy. “Exports from the region have almost doubled over the last three years”, causing a boom in many East Asian countries. The avian flu is a major threat to many poultry farmers, yet the illness has not had a significant effect on the countries’ overall economies.
    South Asia:
    Southern Asia accounts for half the world’s population in poverty and has 500 million people living on less than $1 per day. This region also has the highest illiteracy rate in the world: 44%. Major natural disasters such as the earthquake in Pakistan in October 2005 and the devastating tsunami in December 2004 have prevented this region from improving its poverty problem, and have left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. However, South Asia has had a steady increase in its GDP rate. It has increased an average of 5.5% every year for the past fifteen years. Hopefully, this increase will continue and will perhaps result in more job opportunities that will help to bring some people out of poverty. AIDS/HIV is another major issue in this area of the world. South Asia has the second highest number of people living with AIDS in the world. Like East Asia, this region also must deal with the avian flu, which causes problems for many poor farmers. Many countries in South Asia, such as Afghanistan, have had very unstable governments in the past, which have lead to more even more poverty. A newer, more democratic government system has recently been set up in Afghanistan. This will hopefully lead to a more stable and safe environment for its people and a reduction in poverty. If Afghanistan’s population has more trust in its government, perhaps more people, especially women, will feel safe enough to try to find work and improve their financial situation in the near future.(3)

    Europe and Central Asia:
    Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, most European and Central Asian countries have experienced steady growth in their economies. However, one of the main problems in this region is unemployment. This issue, combined with a decreasing population in Bulgaria, the Russian Federation, and other countries, has resulted in poverty in many areas, especially in small towns and rural regions. Compared to other areas of Asia and Africa, Europe and Central Asia do not have that huge of a poverty problem. The main issue that this region should improve upon is having a sufficient number of job opportunities for those who are living in poverty.(3)
    poverty map.bmp (5)

    Latin America:
    “In 2004, Latin America and the Caribbean experienced the strongest growth performance in 24 years, with growth of 6.3 percent up from 1.9 percent in 2003.” However, an estimated one fourth of the region’s population is living in poverty, or living on less than $2 a day. Over 50 million are living on less than $1 a day. Inequality between classes and races is one of the largest contributors to poverty in Latin America.(3) The gap between the rich and the poor is extremely large and will only grow unless something is done to stop it. The World Bank’s goal to improve poverty in this region is to reduce the inequality and improve education, health, environmental protection, social inclusion, and social protection programs.(1)
    Middle East and North Africa(MENA):
    Countries in the Middle East and North African have recently been experiencing large economic growth, mostly due to the high oil prices. Most of the economy is based on oil production, so when oil is in high demand, these countries can raise prices and increase their economies greatly. “Recently, the MENA region has experienced exceptional economic growth, buoyed by record high oil prices. Over the last three years, economic growth in the region has averaged 6.1 percent a year [1], the strongest growth in the region in nearly three decades. This is up from an average annual growth of 3.7 percent over the 1990s.” Like Europe and Central Asia, one of the larger contributors to poverty in this region is unemployment. Another major issue in this region is the availability of fresh water. While 5% of the world’s population lives in the Middle East and North Africa, these countries only account for 1% of the total fresh water supply. Before this region can think about employment issues, I believe it must find a way to get fresh clean water to its people. Without water, humans cannot survive, and they certainly cannot work to earn a living and escape from poverty.(3)

    poverty cycle.bmp (4)


    Sub-Saharan Africa:
    Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest number of people living with AIDS in the world: over 7%. This region also has the worst poverty problem in the world. “More than 314 million Africans live on less than $1 a day—nearly twice as many as in 1981. The continent is home to 34 of the world's 48 poorest countries and 24 of the 32 countries ranked lowest in human development.” Malaria is also a huge problem in Sub-Saharan Africa, killing 2,800 people every day. Hunger and starvation is another issue that contributes to the problem of poverty in this area. One of the worst countries, in terms of poverty, in this region is Niger. According to the CIA World Factbook, approximately 63% of Niger’s population lives in poverty. The literacy rate was estimated at 17%, one of the worst literacy rates in the world.(3)
    poverty people.bmp (6)

    The World Bank is an organization that is supposed to help those in poverty all around the world. It provides low-interest loans and interest free credit to many developing countries, in order to help them improve their health, education, infrastructure, communication, and many other needs.(3)

    Sources:
    1)http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Poverty.asp
    2)http://hdr.undp.org/statistics/data/indicators.cfm
    3)http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTPOVERTY/0,,contentMDK:20243429~menuPK:337018~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:336992,00.html
    4)http://www.das-fotoarchiv.com/portfolio/gordon/19991101_poverty2_rkg_059.jpg
    5)http://www.cosatu.org.za/images/poverty.gif
    6)http://www.dokus.com/PapersontheWeb/figure06.jpg
    7)http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3994521.stm
    8)https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html#People


    One Earth's Dream: What Sould Be Done in the Fight Against Global Poverty (What Should Be Done - Mark Ohara)
    The question has been asked time and time again. What would we do if we had unlimited resources and control. Many would say stop global poverty. However, I do not believe that poverty is a problem we can throw money at in order to make it go away. It is a very complex issue rooted deeply in the history of mankind and it does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. We need to find causes so that we may find ways to defeat it.

    The first cause I would like to focus on is global debt. A huge reason that many poor countries are unable to improve their standard of living is because of their immense national debt to rich countries that lent them money. If the debt of a poor country is lifted, that country can stop constantly worrying about ways they can accumulate the money to get rid of the debt and instead, fix the societies and help their suffering families. This is a proven way to help global poverty and it has recently helped many African countries. An article from CNN.com emphasized this fact when talking about how the rich nations are not completely following through after promising HIV/AIDS help to these same African countries. It stated that, “Relief from burdensome debt payments in Cameroon, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia has swelled spending on education, health and the battle against HIV/AIDS” (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/africa/06/29/bono.africa.reut/index.html).

    Because of the immense positive effect of removing global debt, if I had unlimited resources and control, I would take away the debts of countries in extreme poverty. This action would affect rich countries because there are still many countries that have not had their national debt removed. The rich countries that were expecting to get money from the poor countries would suddenly be left without any compensation. However, in order to get rid of poverty, this must be done. I would demand the rich nations to relieve the debt, and in turn I would compensate them with resources to help their markets and, if necessary, to help them deal with their problems.

    The countries that are relieved of their debt would then have to focus on improving their healthcare and education. If countries improved their healthcare, they would be able to treat diseases that are killing millions of people every day. Two of the most prominent diseases right now are HIV and AIDS. Many poor countries are plagued by HIV and/or AIDS epidemics and they are desperately trying to combat it. However, as I have mentioned before, they are unable to use too many of their resources to fight it because of their debt. However, once their debts are cleared, they can supply their ill with the proper medicine. If I had the control, I would make it necessary for the government of the poor countries to supply, at the very least, the amount of medicine needed in order to cover the amount of people who are infected. This would give the poor countries a fighting chance at getting rid of the HIV and AIDS viruses.
    orphans_front.gif
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/in_depth/africa/2000/aids_in_africa/orphans_front.gif

    Another thing I would do if I had the control is have the rich countries help provide HIV and AIDS medicine to these countries if they can not afford it. Bono, of the band U2, has influenced some of the G8 to do this already. However, according to the same article I talked about before, many of the rich countries have not lived up to their promises. It said that, “Donors were spending half of what was needed to meet the goal of getting AIDS treatment to at least 4 million Africans by 2010” (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/africa/06/29/bono.africa.reut/index.html). The G8 would mainly be the ones who would have to help and they would not be able to hold back anything because I would penalize them if they did not meet up to the amount of aid proposed.
    One more thing I would do to improve healthcare is fund the leading scientists and doctors trying to discover new ways to treat diseases and viruses. This would benefit all of humanity and potentially save a limitless number of lives.
    IntlMusic2005top.jpg
    http://www.cbc.ca/arts/images/pics/IntlMusic2005top.jpg

    The other part of getting rid of global poverty after removing global debt is improving education. Poor countries do not have the training and resources to educate their people. That is why many of them are unemployed or they have to work for low wages that will not support their families. For example, in South Africa, the unemployment is incredibly high. According to an article, “The unemployment rate in South Africa is one of the highest in the world, 36% to 42% since the year 2000 using the broad definition. Even according to the narrow definition, which applies a job-search test, 25-30% of adults who wanted work and actively looked for it were unemployed” (http://www.gprg.org/themes/t2-inc-ineq-poor/unem/unem-pov.htm).

    If I had the resources, I would train teachers already in Africa and improve the schools there. Also, Punahou has a program that sends some of our highly experienced teachers to help the educators in Africa. By creating more programs like this and introducing better teaching methods to the African communities, we would improve the quality of the poor countries education thereby allowing them to find a vast amount of jobs with better wages.
    afreducation2.jpg
    http://www.usaid.gov/about_usaid/presidential_initiative/afreducation2.jpg

    According to an article about world hunger and poverty, one of the main causes of poverty is because, “colonialism, and later subtle monopoly capitalism, dispossessed hundreds of millions of people from their land; the current owners are the new plantation managers producing for the mother countries” (http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Poverty/Hunger/Solutions.asp). In order to get rid of global poverty, we have to help the native people of a country who have been overpowered by the colonists by either restricting how many of these outsiders are allowed within the country, or by helping them establish their own means of competition and production so that they will not be left in the dust. If I had unlimited resources and control, I would help the people of the poor countries find means of employment and establish affirmative action laws so that the government will know if the natives are being hired.

    There is always a possibility that we can achieve a world without poverty. We have seen the power of those who are willing enough and even though we may not have the resources and control now, someday could be the day when the world comes together to help each other and find solutions.

    Let's Steal From The Poor And Give To The Rich: Why We Need To Defeat Global Corruption To Defeat Global Poverty (What Can Be Done - Garret Nakata)

    Foreign Aid
    Before, when I talked about poverty on the local and national scales, I started off with education. As important as an issue as that is, for the global picture, there are more pressing matters. First and foremost, poor countries need money to attain the technologies they need to overcome geographical obstacles, such as drought, mountains that hinder or prevent trade, or just bad soil. Money is simply essential to a nation’s well-being. But one may ask, “But aren’t we giving money to poor countries already? Isn’t that enough for them?” Research by the FrameWorks Institute shows that Americans believe we are giving 15 percent of our budget to foreign aid. The actual figure runs from 0.1 to 0.7 percent. (1) That’s not even a single percent of our total wealth. To American economist Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Annan’s special adviser on the Millennium Development Goals, this is appalling. He said, “It’s a stunning marker that the rich world won’t spend less than one percent of its income on behalf of the world, and yet expects a congenial community and peaceful world … it’s completely untenable.” He recently wrote a book entitled, The End Of Poverty: Economic Possibilities Of Our Time, and argues that if all countries were to double their foreign aid, by 2015 world poverty would be halved. (2) Unfortunately, just dumping money into poor countries isn’t going to erase this problem. There are obstacles that deplete this money or flat out try to prevent it from getting to its destination.

    Corruption - Bribery
    The one thing, and by far the most difficult thing, that must be defeated to alleviate global poverty is corruption. When most people think of corruption in connection to poverty, they’d think of the leaders within poor countries as the ones as corrupt. And it is true that they are a cause of the poverty that their citizens experience. But, this is not the corruption I am focusing on right now. This deals with corruption abroad and corporations from wealthy nations, or more specifically, bribery. Dr. Susan Hawley is a research consultant who has been working on issues of corruption for several years and says that, “For multinationals, bribery enables companies to gain contracts (particularly for public works and military equipment) or concessions which they would not otherwise have won, or to do so on more favourable terms. Every year, Western businesses pay huge amounts of money in bribes to win friends, influence and contracts. These bribes are conservatively estimated to run to US$80 billion a year—roughly the amount that the UN believes is needed to eradicate global poverty.” But, these bribes hurt the world in more ways than simply depleting money that could go to foreign aid. Dr. Hawley lists the impacts of this corruption:

    -They undermine development and exacerbate inequality and poverty.

    -They disadvantage smaller domestic firms.

    -They transfer money that could be put towards poverty eradication into the hands of the rich.

    -They distort decision-making in favour of projects that benefit the few rather than the many.

    -They also
    -Increase debt
    -Benefit the company, not the country
    -Bypass local democratic processes
    -Damage the environment
    -Circumvent legislation
    -Promote weapons sales

    Unfortunately, as horrible as this bribery is, its hard to detect and was even legal in some countries. Dr. Hawley reports that, “Until recently, bribery was seen as a normal business practice. Many countries including France, Germany and the UK treated bribes as legitimate business expenses which could be claimed for tax deduction purposes.” (3) And there is still even more corruption that must be dispelled.

    bribery.bmp

    Corruption - The World Bank and the IMF
    Organizations that are supposed to help in the fight against poverty are actually making it worse, namely the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund(IMF). These two organizations are responsible for loaning out money to countries so that they can undertake any projects that they need. This sounds like a noble cause, enabling poor countries to improve themselves. Unfortunately they use their need for their own personal gains. As poor countries borrow money from the World Bank, they are offered another loan from the IMF to help pay for their debts to the World Bank, leading to a double payment that only leads to higher debt. And they use this debt as leverage over the other countries. Susan George, an activist and writer for over 25 years against the horrors of the global system, writes in her book entitled A Fate Worse Than Debt that, “Debt is an efficient tool. It ensures access to other peoples’ raw materials and infrastructure on the cheapest possible terms. Dozens of countries must compete for shrinking export markets and can export only a limited range of products because of Northern protectionism and their lack of cash to invest in diversification. Market saturation ensues, reducing exporters’ income to a bare minimum while the North enjoys huge savings. The IMF cannot seem to understand that investing in … [a] healthy, well-fed, literate population … is the most intelligent economic choice a country can make.” And even more horrifying is that the IMF and World Bank tell countries that are in their debt to cut spending on things like health, education, and development. (4)

    0601-world-bank-protested.jpg


    Basically, the IMF and World Bank are telling them to lower their standard of living so they can pay off their debts. This is something that can’t be tolerated, ever. But the sad fact is it is. This debt prevents poor countries from expanding, forever keeping them down and whipped. We could simply forgive all foreign debt and lift the burden on their backs. But, that still leaves the problem of two corrupt organizations free to do the exact same thing as soon as they get the chance. So let’s talk about dealing with them. Joseph Hanlon and Ann Pettifor, members of Jubilee Research which provides up-to-date, accurate research, analyses, news and data on international debt, write, “Campaigners from around the world, but particularly the South, have called for a more just, independent, accountable and transparent process for managing relations between sovereign debtors and their public and private creditors.
    An independent process would have five goals:

    -to restore some justice to a system in which international creditors play the role of plaintiff, judge and jury, in their own court of international finance.

    -to introduce discipline into sovereign lending and borrowing arrangements—and thereby prevent future crises

    -to counter corruption in borrowing and lending, by introducing accountability through a free press and greater transparency to civil society in both the creditor and debtor nations

    -to strengthen local democratic institutions, by empowering them to challenge and influence elites

    -to encourage greater understanding and economic literacy among citizens, and thereby empower them to question, challenge and hold their elites to account” (5)

    By doing this, we place safeguards that don’t allow the World Bank and the IMF to freely commit corrupt acts. Let’s use the example of our own government. We have three branches that each share a portion of power and make sure that no one section gains too much power to abuse. And if our leaders do something wrong, we hold them accountable in the form of approval ratings, re-elections, and even impeachments.

    In this article, I mostly talked about things that don’t really require money, as much as they require people to do something about them. When it comes down to it, we as fellow human beings need to want to help others enough that we want to affect significant change in foreign policies and organizations. I know it sounds corny but we need to speak out and be informed about these types of issues. Vote for someone whose policies don’t cripple poor countries just because they can gain something from it. Rally against some corporation that’s oppressing poor countries. Donate to groups that fight against poverty. Tell the people in power your concerns. Do something.





    The ONE Campaign is a "new effort by Americans to rally Americans – ONE by ONE – to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty."

    You can contact the White House and ask them any questions you may have here or your local senators here.


    Sources
    1) http://www.netaid.org/press/media-coverage/2003/page.jsp?itemID=27006261
    2) http://www.science-spirit.org/article_detail.php?article_id=517
    3) http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/item.shtml?x=51975
    4) http://www.tni.org/archives/george/abuses.htm
    5) http://www.jubileeresearch.org/analysis/reports/habitfull.htm
    6) http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Poverty/Corruption.asp (Site I used to find the various articles)

    Picture Sources
    Money Changing Hands - www.cop2p.com/images/bribery.jpg
    World Bank Protest - http://www.socioeconomics.com/im/2005/0601-world-bank-protested.jpg

    July 14, 2006

    Global Current Situation


    Picture found at: http://www.takingitglobal.org/images/understanding/topics/Homelessness.jpg

    Homelessness is found all over the world, and the homeless population grows continuously every day. According to a 1996 United Nations report, 500 million people were homeless or residing in low-quality housing and unsanitary conditions in 1995. (1) In 2005, the rough estimate of global homelessness was down to 100 million people due to the difficulty in measuring it. Also, over 1 billion are living in inadequate housing, which would lead to a huge increase in the homeless population once the housing is not suitable to live in. It is difficult to attain the correct amount of the homeless population because there is a limited or non-existent data provided for every country. Also, every country has their own definition on homelessness and their own approach to service provision, so through the differences, it’s much harder to combine or compare data accurately. (3)

    Global homelessness is caused by the same factors that lead to local and national homelessness. These factors are poor decision-making, health problems, mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, domestic violence, lack of education and job skills, environmental disasters, or just bad luck. There is also the usual problem of housing cots and their availability. Because of this, the number of households in a single home are increasing rapidly. (3) Other factors are caused by a breakdown in traditional family support systems, continued urbanization and the effects of structural adjustment programs and civil wars. (1) According to the Special Rapporteur on Right to Adequate Housing, “The driving forces behind homelessness are poverty; rapid economic globalization, which has worsened inequality in housing and land ownership; increasing tends towards privatization of public services and land speculation; lack of affordable housing options; unplanned and involuntary urban migration; large-scale development and infrastructure projects, including dams that have lead to mass displacement; and ongoing conflicts around the world”. (4) Due to the lack of nutrition, homeless children and adults suffer many medical problems. The children may suffer from chronic and recurring physical ailments, higher rates of fever and colds. They have a greater incidence of infections, fatigue, headaches and anemia. For the adults, their problems include, anemia, gastric ulcers, hypertension, acute and chronic diseases, diabetes and malnutrition. (1)

    There are things being done to resolve this problem though. Organizations such as the Food Research and Action Center, America’s Second Harvest, the Center on Hunger and Poverty, Bread for the World, World Hunger Year, and the Food Industry Crusade Against Hunger coordinate with other food banks and food assistance programs and encourage policy makers to expand and protect programs aiding the homeless. (1) Also, there is something known as the Homeless World Cup. 48 countries and 500 homeless people look forward to this event each year. This year it will be held in Cape Town from September 23rd to the 30th. (5) Due to this event, many are greatly affected. 38% already have regular employment and 40% have improved their housing situation. For more percentages, click here. (6)

    Homelessness Data on Countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Russian Federation, and United States)

    [Click to enlarge]


    (1) http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Hea-Irr/Homelessness.html
    (2) http://www.takingitglobal.org/understanding/poverty/homeless
    (3) http://www.homebaseccc.org/site_extras/11.18.05Global%20Homelessness.pdf
    (4) http://www.hic-net.org/articles.asp?PID=223
    (5) http://www.streetsoccer.org/
    (6) http://www.streetsoccer.org/_pdf/44a28c403e57c.pdf

    Global Drug Abuse

    Global History of Drug Abuse: by Chanel Funakoshi

    The mainstream drugs in today’s society all have origins that date back as far as 6000 B.C. Marijuana was a staple in China from 6000 B.C. on (1). This drug’s initial purpose was to serve as seeds for food, as well as seeds for growing crops. The cultivated seeds were grown into hemp, and served primarily as a source of textiles. Around 2700 B.C., Marijuana began to take on a new purpose. The Chinese started to use Marijuana for medical reasons. They found that Marijuana was an excellent cure for illnesses such as rheumatism, gout, malaria, and absent-mindedness (1). It was also around this time that Marijuana began to spread world-wide. Marijuana quickly spread from China to India, then North Africa, and finally reached Europe around 500 A.D (1). Although the drug served a great amount as a medical aid, it was also commonly used recreationally. The Muslims, for example, found themselves using the drug as a way around the Koran (which forbade them from drinking alcohol). Marijuana was being used for pleasure, as well as for medical reasons (2).
    Marijuana also has a very spiritual background. One of the earliest spiritual connections made with Marijuana came from the Hindu religion. In 1000 B.C., evidence has shown that the drug was commonly used at wedding ceremonies and other religious events (3). Hindus incorporated Marijuana into their ritual worshiping of their god, Siva. They believed that Marijuana should be offered as a gift to their god. Another very popular religion that integrates Marijuana use into daily rituals is the Rastafarian religion. They basically believe that the drug enables the users to see the “truth” more clearly, which brings them closer to their god (3).
    The continuous use of Marijuana through out the world has brought us to our current situation of mainly recreational uses of the drug. As time continued to pass, countries realized that the drug was being used for more negative purposes. Starting from the late 1800’s, many countries were making Marijuana use illegal. In 1890, Turkey officially claimed Marijuana as an illegal drug (4). Soon after, countries like Britain and China began to really crack down on Marijuana use and cultivation of the drug. The early 20th century was really the turning point in the criminalization of Marijuana. The idea of making Marijuana illegal mostly came from the U.S., who then exerted their power and pushed for more international laws against Marijuana.
    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
    (http://www.dea.gov/concern/18862/appenda.htm)

    Cocaine has a similar history to Marijuana. Much of Cocaine’s early use was for medical purposes. South American natives were one of the earliest users of Coca (the plant from which Cocaine is produced), which they used medicinally and religiously (5). The drug helped to fight fatigue and hunger. The Spanish conquistadors would give their workers coca to keep them working in the fields for long periods of time. They would distribute it about three to four times a day (5). The Coca leaves then spread to Europe where the actual drug, Cocaine, was processed. During the mid-19th century, Cocaine finally took form as the familiar powder substance we all recognize today. At the time, Cocaine was still primarily being used for medical reasons. Many doctors experimenting with the drug found that it worked as a great anesthetic. They also tried to replace many people’s Morphine addiction with Cocaine. Obviously this didn’t work, and most people just ended up addicted to both drugs. Up until the early 1900’s, Cocaine was seen in a positive light. Many department stores offered Cocaine over the counter to be used as pain killers. Coca-Cola, the ever-so popular soda drink, was created in 1863 (6). This soda contained a good portion of Coca leaf extract. This product was still being produced until the late 1920’s, when doctors finally began to notice that the drug was having negative effects on its users.
    The U.S. finally made Cocaine illegal in 1914 (5). This had the same wildfire effect on the world as Marijuana, which caused mostly every country to prohibit any use or distribution of the drug. The use of the drug remained common through out the world. It became a very huge international market. Through out the 1960’s and 1970’s, large amounts of Cocaine were smuggled into the U.S. by foreign countries. The selling and buying of Cocaine was the new and popular black market business during that time.

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
    (http://www.dea.gov/concern/18862/appenda.htm)

    Methamphetamine was first discovered/ synthesized in Japan in 1919, following the discovery of amphetamine Germany in 1887 (7). Many people were trying to find uses for the new drug, but it wasn’t until the 1920’s that doctors really began to use Meth as a cure for different maladies. In the 1930’s Meth was sold over-the-counter to cure things like nasal congestion, hay fever, and colds (7). Meth was also used to keep people awake. The drug was especially used for this purpose during WWII. The soldiers in the war would inject the drug to keep them amped and awake to continue fighting. What ended up happening as a result of constant use of the drug were many addicted soldiers by the end of the war. One strong proponent of the drug was Adolf Hitler. During the war, he distributed the drug constantly to keep his soldiers awake.
    The drug was initially processed into tablet form, which continued to be legal in America during the 1950’s (8). When Meth took the new injectable form, the U.S. recognized the danger in the drug and made it illegal. Meth is still a fairly new drug compared to Cocaine and Marijuana, so the legality of the drug though out the world varies. While the U.S. is very strict about the use and distribution of Crystal Meth, countries like North Korea manufacture the drug for trading purposes (8).

    1) http://www.marijuanaaddiction.com/marijuana_timeline.html
    2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marijuana
    3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_use_of_cannabis
    4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_issues_of_cannabis
    5) http://www.intheknowzone.com/cocaine/history.htm
    6) http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/cocaine.asp
    7) http://www.stopmethaddiction.com/history-of-meth.htm
    8) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methamphetamine


    Current Global Situation: Christine Ibaraki


    “Drugs destroy lives and communities, undermine sustainable human development and generate crime. Drugs affect all sectors of society in all countries; in particular, drug abuse affects the freedom and development of young people, the world’s most valuable asset. Drugs are a grave threat to the health and well-being of all mankind, the independence of States, democracy, the stability of nations, the structure of all societies, and the dignity and hope of millions of people and their families.”(1)
    In 1998, Mr. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General made delivered this in the Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Countering the World Drug Problem Together. During the session, Member States identified the global drug problems as well as outlined solutions and initiatives that would be taken to solve the problems. They established the year 2003 as a “target date for new or enhanced drug demand reduction strategies and programmes set up in close collaboration with public health, social welfare and law enforcement authorities” and set the year 2008 as a target date by which “Member States should have made real progress in eliminating or reducing significantly crops of opium poppy, coca and cannabis”(1). They listed the numerous consequences of drug abuse, including“adverse effects on health; the upsurge in crime, violence and corruption; draining of human, natural and financial resources that might otherwise be used for social and economic development...” and They committed to reversing the growing trend in drug abuse and production with supply control and demand reduction(1).

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    Marijuana

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    In the Global Illicit Drug Trends Report (2003) the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime lists Marijuana as “the most widely consumed illicit drug worldwide” although more patients are treated for abusers of cocaine(2). The reported an estimated that 163 million people abused the drug in 2000/2001. Nations in the Oceania region (which consists of numerous islands in the Pacific Ocean, and sometimes Australia, New Zealand, parts of Indonesia etc) have the highest percentage of abusers age 15 and above followed by Africa, the Americas, and Europe, while the Americas lead in total number of abusers followed by Europe(2).

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    Cocaine

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    The same report lists cocaine as the second most common problem drug in the world and the main problem drug in the Americas and the reports that around 14 million people are effected by cocaine consumption with about 9 million in the Americas and 3.7 million in Western Europe(2). In most nations in the Americas, like the US, and in western Europe, like Spain, cocaine is second or third and usually follows marijuana, but in eastern Europe it ranks as the 4th to 6th most common problem drug. The US is listed at the nation with the largest cocaine market and North America leads the globe with an estimated 6.35 million of people abusing cocaine(2).


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    Crystal Meth

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    Several problems that the UN listed under the category of “amphetamine-type stimulants” which include crystal methamphetamine, were that while use is growing rapidly, global awareness and response is limited, and that through modern technology (the internet) recipes for clandestine manufacture are accessible to the public, etc(1). Asia accounts for about two thirds of amphetamines abusers significant increases of usage in China, the Philippines, Vietnam, and the Republic of Korea, and Thailand (although the market cracked down in 2003 (3)), while America and Europe combined accounts for about one fourth (2). Meth use in Europe is mostly in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia and Latvia (2).


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    Twelve year cannabis, coccaine, and ats growh:

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    1.http://www.unodc.org/pdf/report_1999-01-01_1.pdf
    2.http://www.unodc.org/pdf/trends2003_www_E.pdf
    3.http://www.unodc.org/pdf/WDR_2006/wdr2006_volume1.pdf

    Unrealistic Possibilities: By Chandara Humphry

    drugs_left.gifhttp://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/illicit_drugs/images/drugs_left.gif

    Drugs are part of the earth. In cultures across Asia, Europe the middle East and else where drugs are a staple and in some places completely legal. In some places in the world, illicit drugs are a country's major economy. One way to look at solving the drug abuse problem, would be to eradicate all the marijuana plants all over the world, indoors and out, stop all meth labs current and those starting up, keep people from misusing the cocoa plant, and treat every person that has and will have a drug abuse problem on this planet, then this would be solved. If it were possible, this would require vast amounts of money and man power to accomplish. Already there are large sums of money and a multitude of enforcement personnel on the job. A question could be raised; is it really a good thing making drugs illegal. Looking at countries that have legalized drug use, are their problems as big as ours. The UN's International Narcotics Control Board has “called on the world community to act” (1) or else who will help those who can't help themselves.

    hemp54.jpghttp://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ncnu02/images/hemp54.jpg
    m_colo08_hh.jpghttp://www.angry-planet.com/fotos/colo/m_colo08_hh.jpg
    picture.jpghttp://img.lenta.ru/news/2005/11/08/marijuana/picture.jpg

    The difficulty with drugs on the global scale is the different way cultures perceive and utilize drugs. To tackle the drug problem, the world must be united or else if one country does not follow the rules, people will go there to break the ones they have at home. In most places in Europe it is not uncommon for drinking to begin at youth, around 10 to 15 years old. This is early beginning is not looked down upon as it is in the United States, it is a part of that society. In Amsterdam marijuana is a common place, with vending machines and sellers lining the streets. In most places in Asia opium bars were used as places to relax, and was not until recently when they began to close down. Each person has their own history with drugs, their own culture. As I asked before, would there be a drug problem if it were all legal. A way to help the problem is awareness. If people aren't so ashamed to speak about what they themselves have experienced, or what they know, would those who are about to try an illicit drug really do it. Many youths are curious and that is why they begin experimenting with drugs of all kinds. People need to listen, and actually care. If there was a way to make every person on this earth really care about seeing tomorrow, and not take risks then drug abuse may decrease. If each person cared about their own well being, and did care about how they treated their bodies then it would be easier to reach them, and keep them from doing drugs that destroy their bodies and minds.

    drugs.jpghttp://www.hiptravelguide.com/amsterdam/drugs.jpg

    Already there are programs used to monitor and scope out any large scale drug facilities or production areas. One of these global programs is the Illicit Crop Monitoring Programme (ICMP). Their job is to “establish methodologies for data collection and analysis, to increase governments' capacity to monitor illicit crops and to assist the international community in monitoring the extent and evolution of illicit crops in the context of the elimination strategy.” (2) This program is a part of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The UN also supports campaigns to inform the public about drugs, or provide treatment to those hooked. (3) The problem with these programs is that when some countries may accept them, other do not. “the UN's International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said Afghanistan, which is responsible for 75% of the world's opium production, is doing little to tackle the problem.” (1) With out a countries help their people will not be reached. Governments need to step in and stop production. As said above Afghanistan is producing most of the opium for the world and they are doing nothing to stop that. Columbia produces the majority of cocaine, the majority of their economy is based on cocaine, how can they stop. If we had unlimited amounts of money, once again, we could help those countries dependent on their drug abuse economy, help them stop. Sort of like a treatment center for entire countries. These changes start from the top, and must be made for anything to progress.

    400needles.jpghttp://seattlepi.nwsource.com/heroin/art/400needles.jpg
    23146.pnghttp://www.indymedia.nl/img/2004/11/23146.png
    11.10.05_COCAINE.jpg
    http://newsfromrussia.com/images/newsline/11.10.05_COCAINE.jpg

    Some areas that are affected by drugs globally are AIDS/HIV, corruption, human trafficking, and death. (3) Drug use is the cause of millions of deaths annually, and as we all know deaths usually affect more than just those close to the deceased. If you looked at and measured the grief that drugs cause, and think of how much money is spent on counseling, treatment and other things, the bill for drug abuse is way over the top. As seen in Maria Full of Grace, a film about Mexicans crossing the border with drugs inside of them, everything from the production to the movement of drugs is dangerous and un-needed. The bad news is, “overall drug consumption continues to spread at the global level.” (4)

    Meth User.pnghttp://www.strangepolice.com/images/content/8906.jpg
    meth.jpg

    Meth Users 4 years later

    (1)http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/653701.stm
    (2)http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/crop_monitoring.html
    (3)http://www.unodc.org/unodc/index.html
    (4)http://www.drugwarfacts.org/druguse.htm



    Realistic Possibilities: By Sasha Fuller

    Statistics have shown that more girls have been trying drugs than guys in the past few years. "Girls want to do what older guys are doing or they want to be cool," said Meghan Ward, 18, a volunteer in a Connecticut community service group called Peer Advocates. "Girls do feel a lot of stress -- everything from school, to most of us work, we have boyfriends and we want to maintain good friendships. It's hard." With this comes risky sexual behavior with the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases and/or getting pregnant says the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Although the number of children ages 12-17 years old trying drugs has fallen 19% overall in the past five years the use of alcohol and prescription drugs has risen as well. "We want to make sure we continue the decline and deal effectively with the current circumstance," Walters said in an interview. "We have not done a good job of keeping alcohol and drugs out of the hands of kids," he said. In Columbia's latest survey, 42 percent of teenagers reported they would have no trouble purchasing marijuana in a day. "That's 11 million kids." (3)

    bacardi.jpg (1)

    Realistically what can be done is already being done. Governments around the world are trying to eliminate drugs and trafficking between one another. In 2003 a statement written by Dr. Philip O. Emafo, President of the International Narcotics Control Board, stated that “the conclusion that has been reached is that long-term economic development in a country is not feasible without an effective drug control system. Also, sustainable development is a pre-requisite for successful drug control. It is therefore necessary for governments and international institutions to show commitment to drug control in the context of overall national economic development”. (4)

    Governments are trying to stop drug trafficking on a large level, which is good and working. The only problem is that it is working too slowly and children are able to get their hands on illicit drugs way too easily. Along with keeping drugs from crossing borders the government has to crack down on alcohol stores and individual marijuana growers who are selling to people who are under aged. If we don’t start taking charge and making stricter punishments for those caught selling to anyone under aged then children will always try to get their hands on drugs and easily succeed. Unless the government completely eliminates drugs from the world, which is not a possibility because of prescription drugs, children will always have some sort of drug to try and get hooked on. If this problem continues at the rate it is going that certain easily accessible drugs will become the “it” drug that everyone will the taking and it will just get harder and harder to eliminate under aged drug use.

    030617prescriptiondrugs.jpg (2)

    1) http://www.madisonandmulholland.com/BryantPark/images/images/bacardi.jpg
    2) http://www.nysut.org/newyorkteacher/images-photos/030617prescriptiondrugs.jpg
    3) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/08/AR2006020802228.html
    4) http://www.incb.org/incb/speeches/ecosoc_03.html
    5) http://www.nysut.org/newyorkteacher/images-photos/030617prescriptiondrugs.jpg

    Poverty: Global

    July 13, 2006

    Global Effects of Drug Abuse and the Standard of Living

    Global: Standard of Living/Drug Abuse: History/Current Situation
    Brooke Ehrman

    Drug abuse is obviously not just a major issue in the United States. People experience problems with drug abuse in all areas of the world, making the issue important on a global level. We are primarily investigating the impact that the standard of living has on drug abuse.
    As I have noted in previous portions of this research project, people everywhere have different reasons for using and abusing drugs. The term “drugs” refers to an array of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, ecstasy, alcohol, and various other stimulants and hallucinogens like speed and LSD. The use of these drugs has fluctuated over the years in different parts of the world. It is said that over the past 12 months, more than 185 million people have abused illicit drugs worldwide.
    In 2000-2001, an estimated 15 million people had abused opium and heroin in the world. Opium originated in Asia, and the history of heroin dates back to over a hundred years ago, when it was first reported in London, England. Heroin was originally used as a sleeping aide and a painkiller. Its potency is several times more powerful than that of morphine, and it is a severely addicting narcotic. In 2002, 76% of the world’s opium production and consumption took place in the middle east (namely Afghanistan).
    Cocaine dates back to 1844 and is used by an estimated 14 million people in the world today. Cocaine production is highest in Colombia, where more than two thirds of the world’s cocaine crop is produced. Cocaine is trafficked from Colombia to America, which serves as the world’s largest cocaine market.
    Marijuana is the most widely produced, trafficked, and consumed illicit drug in the world. An estimated 150 million people use and abuse marijuana. Many people believe marijuana should not even be considered an illicit drug, but it remains illegal in most countries, and it is considered, along with alcohol, a “gateway” drug that leads users to stronger, more serious and damaging drugs.
    Europe continues to be the main center of amphetamine production in the world. There are many different kinds of amphetamines, including crystal methamphetamine, which is a huge problem in Hawaii. Other stimulants include drugs like speed and ecstasy (MDMA), which are consumed in mass amounts by the UK.
    Timothy Leary introduced the idea of LSD as an enticing hallucinogen to America in the mid-nineteen hundreds, and it has become a popular “escape” drug in not only America, but in many other parts of the world, namely western Europe.
    In Southeast Asia, amphetamines are the main problem drugs. In Africa, marijuana continues to serve as the most problematic drug on the scene. Worldwide, the increasing use of marijuana, amphetamines, and ecstasy begin to pose questions as to where the world population is headed with the issue of illicit drug abuse.
    As mentioned in previous sections, there are many different reasons for drug abuse. Today, the standard of living worldwide has a huge impact on the population’s decision-making processes. People living in poverty experience less satisfaction than wealthy corporation CEOs and other successful businessmen. Also, they are less probable to have a good education and a healthy lifestyle. Lack of education leads people to less opportunity in terms of working and money-making worldwide. When people are unskilled and unsure of where to go, the drug business appears to be a somewhat easy way to make money. People enter the drug business hoping to produce and sell illicit drugs as a means of profit. What ends up happening is they get into using the drugs they are selling. Once they start using, they continue using/abusing until they get lost completely in the horrible drug world that exists. Others choose to use drugs as an escape from the harsh pressures of reality.
    Drug abuse continues to be an increasingly detrimental problem in this world, and if drastic actions are not taken soon, we might all lose ourselves to this powerful drug world.

    Sources:
    1)http://web6.epnet.com/citation.asp
    2)www.unodc.org/global_illicit_drug_trends.html (“global drug trends”)
    3)http://web6.epnet.com/citation.asp

    Global Standard of Living/Drug Abuse: What Should Be Done?
    Stacie Holguin

    On a worldwide scale, it is very evident that 2nd and 3rd world countries are the leaders in illicit drug production. Colombia produces slightly more than two-thirds of the worldwide crop of cocaine. It’s odd that a first world country such as the United States is the world’s leading consumer of cocaine. Afghanistan is world's primary opium producer, accounting for 91% of the global supply. This clearly illustrates the close relationship between drug abuse and low quality of living. Every year tons of illegal drugs are smuggled across nation’s borders, expanding the widespread problem of drug-use. What should be done is stricter border control. Many countries are resisting globalization because things such as illegal drugs, diseases, and terrorism are spreading throughout countries. There is now a market of illicit drugs in every single country in the world.
    Globally, 11 percent of AIDS cases are due to drug users injecting with dirty needles, specifically heroin abusers. This unfortunate and intimate connection between drug abuse and lethal diseases create a very low quality of life for abusers worldwide. In Africa, drug use is flourishing. There is tremendous damage socially, as well as psychologically and physically, and a deepening of poverty. "The African Drug Nexus,” a study on drug use in Africa confirms that it is the poor people who use the most drugs. There is a rise in the number of “street children,” the majority of them using substances such as cannabis. Cannabis is currently viewed as the biggest drug problem the global community faces, with users up to 150 million. The benefits of cannabis are it fights off hunger, so they do not feel themselves starving, it also numbs, which can dull the harsh reality that is their life. It is also not any help that drug use is so culturally accepted in Africa, maybe if there began to be consequences it would begin to be looked down upon. And not only are these young children using this drug, but also many laborers use it on the job while doing dangerous work. Even with the very scarce amount of money that these individuals make, they spend it all on drug purchases necessary to support their addiction. What should be done is tighten the drug regulations in every country, especially those notorious for their drug exports. Also, because of the fact that many of these drug abusers turn to drugs as an escape from their daily life, it would be beneficial to set up counseling and other helpful services free of charge. That could potentially help a few of these children to choose a different path for their lives.
    There are also countries such as Ethiopia in which ‘Qaat’ a local drug is their third greatest export. It is deemed crucial to the economy, and it has been said that if the government imposes a crackdown, they better be prepared for major famine relief. This is simply unacceptable. In a case like this, what should be done is training workers to cultivate other crops or widen already existing markets such as coffee. And over time phasing out the Qaat export completely.
    The global youth is particularly vulnerable to drug use. Young and underprivileged children make up a large majority of drug abusers worldwide. There should be more awareness so that children can be informed about the decisions they have to make and what the repercussions may be. Also, there should be a vast increase in the number of treatment centers worldwide especially in areas where drug use has plagued the population.

    Sources:
    1. http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/fields/2086.html
    2. http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/aug1999/drug-a28.shtml
    3. http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/pressrels/2004/unisnar849.html

    Global: Standard of Living/Drug Abuse: What CAN be done?
    Kate Ganiron

    The use of illegal drugs in the world is one of the biggest problems and also one of the hardest to combat. Afghanistan is the world’s largest opium producer and about 80-90% of the heroin consumed in Europe comes from Afghanistan. The drugs from Afghanistan are also strongly demanded in Western Europe. Cocaine use in Western Europe is, in fact, at a record high. Take a look at the Netherlands for example. The Netherlands are a major European producer of ecstasy, illicit amphetamines, and other synthetic drugs. The Netherlands are also a major source of cocaine, heroin, and hashish that eventually makes its way into Europe. Sadly, the United States gets most of it’s ecstasy from the Netherlands as well. The future of Western Europe isn’t looking up. Other countries like Brazil are at an increase in drug use. Brazil is currently fighting a battle of drug related violence and cases of weapons smuggled into and out of the country associated with drug production and transportation. Also, Burma is the world’s second largest producer of illicit opium, after India, the world’s largest opium producer. These countries are being taken over by illegal drugs and this is a growing problem.
    What’s shocking is that out of all the countries in the world, the United States is the largest consumer of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and is increasingly using methamphetamine. The United States also produces cannabis, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine. What the world needs now is a miracle.
    So realistically, what can be done to prevent the use of drugs in the world? The answer is not much. The World Drug Report, which is published every year, clearly says that almost every country in the world is increasingly using more and more illegal drugs. The individual countries are either doing something or not doing something about the drug problem in their country. Countries, such as Afghanistan and Brazil, which I mentioned earlier, suggest that there is no hope in our future to be drug free. However, there’s always a positive side to the situation.
    Slowly, parts of the world are cleaning up their acts. For example, the country of Laos used to be the third producer of opium in the world up until the mid-1900s. Miraculously, from then until 2005, the cultivation of opium has been cut by a whopping 72% and the country is now almost opium free. Also, in Saudi Arabia, although there is an increase of the consumption of heroin, cocaine, and hashish, there was a new law passed concerning those who smuggled drugs into and out of the country. By law, traffickers of illegal drugs will face a fate of the death penalty and drug free education and enforcement is growing. Hong Kong also passed many laws for controlling illegal drug transportation. Although Hong Kong is facing challenges with the younger generation and drug use, the country is forcefully passing laws to control the use of illegal drugs. These countries set good examples for what should happen throughout the entire world.
    Only time will tell what will happen to the global drug problem in the future. Either illegal drugs will take over the lives of every human being or will be part of our past. If conditions continue in their present state indefinitely, the outlook isn’t good. Although some countries are stepping up and facing the problem now, unfortunately, it isn’t enough. If other countries follow the lead of Laos, Saudi Arabia, and Hong Kong, our future as a drug free world will be brighter. One country at a time, we could change our future.

    Sources:
    1. http://www.drugwarfacts.org/druguse.htm
    2. http://www.unodc.org/unodc/press_release_2006_06_26_1.html
    3. http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/fields/2086.html

    Global History of Primary Education

    Kenny White
    Summer Economics

    Global History of Public Pre-K and Primary Education

    In sub-Saharan Africa, public primary education was virtually non-existent before WWII. Now public education in Africa varies from country to country. More stable countries like Ghana and Kenya have had primary education ever since their independence; however, up until the last decade or so, primary education was not usually free.¹ These countries typically did not have the resources to provide primary education to all of their residents. Few people in sub-Saharan Africa are literate. Other countries plagued by civil war and genocide like Mozambique never had nearly enough structure or resources to provide significant primary education.² The only developed country in Africa is South Africa. The primary education in South Africa is on par with many Western countries; however, up until the 1980’s, only white Afrikaners were privy to this first-world education. Bantu and other “coloured” children received a vastly inferior primary education because of Apartheid. Since then, South Africa has made strides in providing equal education to all races of children. Like America, noticeable gaps still exist. In Northern Africa, the majority of primary education and Kindergarten is funded by Islam or by a government heavily influenced by Islam. The main reason Africa lags behind the rest of the world in primary education is because of a lack of infrastructure, corruption, and poverty.
    lucylashine.jpg
    A picture of children in a Kenyan primary school

    Western education as we know it began in the late 18th century in Germany. At that point, the West approached education in a scientific way.³ Kindergarten was also first invented in Germany. Although dismissed in Germany, Kindergarten became popular in America and became part of public education in the mid 19th century. Ironically, Germany is one of the few developed countries without mandatory Kindergarten.(4) Overall, the primary education in Western Europe is well above the global average. This comes as no surprise since most modern education systems are modeled after the West’s and because of Western Europe’s wealth and infrastructure. The primary education system in Eastern Europe has not been as developed as its Western counterpart. Much of Eastern Europe was once part of the Soviet Union. The USSR did not emphasize primary education, but instead focused on secondary education, more specifically science and technology(5) Countries merely under Soviet influence and not officially in the USSR like Hungary(6) were able to establish an eight year publicly funded primary education in the early 90’s. Countries actually in the Soviet Union, like Russia continued to operate under the Soviet system into the 21st century. Even though primary education in Eastern Europe is not as developed as other industrialized nations, the literacy rate in Russia is 100% for males and 97% for females.(7)
    play-1.jpg
    A picture of Scottish girls in primary school


    Asian culture emphasizes education and learning. Although in countries like Japan, the main emphasis is on high school and college, primary education still receives substantial attention. In the years leading up to WWII, primary school focused on militaristic teachings. Japan made primary education mandatory and taught the children to be soldiers and dedicated nationalists. After Japan’s defeat, the emphasis was changed from militarism to academic performance and test scores. Japan’s large and vibrant economy keeps its well-managed and successful education system funded. However, given Japan’s Samurai heritage (i.e. Seppuku) and all of the pressure placed on the young children, few people are surprised to hear that Japan has the highest rate of child suicide.(8) Not all Asian countries have the resources for primary education as Japan. The People’s Republic of China is one such country. Before the communist government took over, enrollment in primary schools was approximately 20%. During the Cultural Revolution, Chinese children were taught almost exclusively Communist ideology and Mao Tse Dung’s Little Red Book regardless of their age. In more modern times, China has drastically improved its primary education since the communist party came to power. By 1990, 90% of the children entered primary school and %60 graduated. Unfortunately, the children in rural China did not share in the same improvements as the children in urban sections. Rural schools did not receive the same amount of funding, and many parents did not send their children to school because they needed help working on the farm. The rural sections to this day have a higher rate of poverty and illiteracy than more wealthy urban areas like Shanghai.(9)
    hh003-group-garden-hands-blf.jpg
    A Picture of a Chinese schoolboy

    If one would like to learn more about the History of America’s education system, one could refer to the national section of this blog.


    ¹ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Kenya; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghana#Education
    ² http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozambique#Education
    ³ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education
    (4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindergarten
    (5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Russia
    (6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungary#History
    (7) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Russia
    (8) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Education#Primary_and_secondary_education
    (9)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China#Primary_education

    Global Public Preschools: What can be done?

    Realistically, what can be done about this issue?
    Germany:
    Problem: weak link in teacher training
    Solution: Unlike in most other European countries, preschool teachers in Germany only need to complete a three-year training program to work as an early child educator, and not the full post-secondary education required from primary school teachers. [1] The lack of sufficient training leaves teachers unequipped to provide children with intellectually-stimulating games and basic playful lessons in natural science, mathematics, and reading. [1] The teachers can be trained to university level to ensure better preparation for their double roles of educators and supervisors. In addition, initiatives by universities can be created to offer new specialized study courses on “pre-school education training.” These courses should be state-funded to decrease the amount of money that teachers need to spend on their training and education.

    Problem: matters of education are regulated at state level with different states, sometimes pursuing conflicting policies
    Solution: The education ministers from the sixteen federal states can agree on a common framework to improve education levels of early childhood education teachers.

    China:
    Problem: social and economic gap between urban and rural areas is huge
    Solution: Of the 1.3 billion Chinese, only 800 million live in the countryside where agriculture is the main livelihood. Rural schools lag behind urban schools in terms of teacher qualifications, facilities, and quality. [2] This imbalance is causing large numbers of children to have to migrate to cities just to receive an education. The Chinese government can complete nine years of basic education for all by creating boarding schools in remote areas, providing free textbooks and other subsidies to prevent children from dropping out of school, and creating an ambitious distance learning system to leapfrog rural schools into the twenty-first century. It can also create a rotation system where city teachers work for a period in rural schools in exchange for salary and career benefits. The government can implement technology to serve rural parts of China. Distance education centers can be created in schools with computers, satellite dishes, televisions, and DVD players through which master teachers will relay lessons to schools in poor rural areas. [2]

    Egypt:
    Problem: regional disparities in school attendance
    Solution: While Egypt is working hard to expand early childhood education from 13 percent of the population to 60 percent by 2010, poor families living in rural areas continue to face daunting obstacles to sending their children to school. [5] Organizations like the World Food Program (WFP) can help ease the burden of parents and share their responsibilities in providing food to their children by distributing high-energy snacks and meals at school. Hopefully, this will encourage parents to enroll their children in preschool and have a better future. The WFP can also provide families with “take-home rations” such as rice and vegetable oil as an incentive to send their children to school. [3] The food will also improve intellectual retention and provide nutrition for the children, most of whom are underweight or stunted.

    Afghanistan:
    Problem: war and isolation of the country continue
    Solution: Due to internal strife, the country has been isolated from the outside world and trying to endure the economic hardships and lack of resources. Leaders of Afghanistan must put in place a consensus government to create a reconstruction and rehabilitation plan, which can include an education ministry that will implement a set of plans to revive the education program. [4] However, one does not know when the war will end and whether or not the new government will make education a priority. Therefore, for now, strong community support for education could increase with one individual spreading awareness. Also, the International NGOs and Aid Agencies can assist the basic educational needs of children, particularly those of girls. [4] To provide at least some kind of education, home-schools can be developed. Home-schools will also help cope with the security of girls and can prove to be cost effective.

    What are the “powers at be” not doing? Why?
    The “powers at be” are NOT:
    • Providing sufficient teacher training
    • Agreeing on a common framework for education programs in their country
    • Decreasing the social and economical gap between urban and rural
    • Taking care of the poverty in rural areas (Egypt)
    • Creating a consensus government (Afghanistan)

    What impact could you have to change to current situation?

    • Send toys and supplies to various countries so that they can save money and spend it on other things such as improving the facilities and training teachers
    • For some countries like Egypt and Afghanistan, it might be more helpful if you donate food and canned goods since many families in rural areas can barely feed their children.
    • Hold a fundraiser to raise money and donate it to a preschool education organization
    • Increase awareness in your community about the education conditions in other countries to help promote change (With increased awareness, more people will donate and take action for this issue)

    What do you foresee in the future if the solution(s) you’re advocating is/are not implemented or if conditions continue in their present state indefinitely?
    If conditions continue in their present state indefinitely, the children of foreign countries will fall farther and farther behind. If children do not attend preschool or receive any kind of education, there will be an increase in poverty and violence, which can perhaps stir up more wars with other countries, even the United States. The death rate of children may also increase due to their parents’ inability to find a well paying job to provide food and other necessities. Also, the increasing disparity between urban and rural areas may cause other economic problems.

    Resources/Links
    [1] http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,1564,1690133,00.html
    [2] http://www.internationaled.org/publications/ChinaDelegationReport120105b.pdf
    [3] http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/egypt/rapport_1.htm#part1
    [4] http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/afghanistan/rapport_3.html
    [5]http://www.wfp.org/newsroom/in_depth/Africa/egypt/050527_egypt.asp?section=2&sub_section=2

    Global Public Primary Education

    History
    By Melissa Wong

    The earliest examples of a schooling system dates back to the development of human civilization. Education and schools were early cultures reply to the difficulties of surviving and thriving as a culture. It began by adults teaching the young their own skills in an apprenticeship style. They became dependent on passing on knowledge to future generations leading to the first schools. One of the first countries to develop a school-like atmosphere was Islam. Part of the Islam culture was to spread knowledge where they combined religion and learning. The Seljuks who also introduced the Madrassa system, a public province controlled by the caliph, built the first school. But it was the Ottomans who built a school with a mosque, hospital, madrassa, dining areas, and accommodations for the public in the tenth century. ©ˆ

    Religious men like priests and monks who strive to teach morals to the younger generations developed Europe’s school system. Many of the schools in Europe originated as Catholic based. In the 17th century Scotland even tried to promote literacy to the entire population in the Act of the Parliament of Scotland that produced tax dollars to fund the endeavor. Though, the Age of Enlightenment forgot much of the religious ties experienced in schooling as human development was pushed.

    The school systems in Asia all started in different ways. China began through the teaching of Chinese classic texts instead of religion like in Japan. The Chinese pushed literacy realizing the importance of educated officials, and built an imperial examination system during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 BC). This gave birth to schools which kept teaching the early classics of Confucius and other philosophers for the next 2,000 years, until the Qing Dynasty in 1911 where the entire schooling system was replaced by Western ways. Japan’s schooling took place in Buddhist temples and was geared to teach the young the skills needed to become priests. “Tera-koya” meeting places eventually developed as a place for further study where students learned how to read and write. ©˜

    India has one of the oldest public and free school systems on earth. They taught values that benefited the human development in a Gurukul system. Teachers in their homes or monasteries usually led the schools. They learned a diverse range of subjects from religion to astrology. By the 18th century records show that schools branched out so much that there was one for every temple and village. All types of students attended regardless of their financial state. In the 20th century however, British government intervened with their schooling system imposing Western schooling traditions. ©˜

    Although a lot of the first schools did push for literacy there have been times throughout it where places in developing countries like African nations still struggle with teaching those basic skills. The good news is more and more developing countries are providing schools to their youth. Compared to 1960 where the percentage of population without any schooling was 36%, in 2000, it decreased to 25%. It shows that more and more schools are popping up around the world. This statistic also has a direct effect on the literacy percentages where in developing countries compared to 1970, the literacy rates of the population increased by half in 2000.

    Priests and teachers in monasteries or homes taught the earliest primary schools usually, but as time went on and more schools were built to fit the global demand of learning, the quality teacher shortage problem increased. Right now, the projected worldwide teacher shortage will reach 18 million by 2016. The countries that are hit the hardest by teacher shortages are the developing countries like Sub-Saharan Africa and Arab States. The global trend throughout history shows that quality teacher shortages went hand in hand with countries that needed the most teachers.
    ©¯

    ©ˆhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elementary_school

    ©˜http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/schools

    ©¯http://www.harolddoan.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=915

    What Should Be Done?
    By Cody Noyama

    There are many problems regarding public primary education in the world today. These problems consist of, but are not limited to: low enrollment, shortage of teachers and bad curriculums. By alleviating these problems, the issue of public education can become less of a problem.

    Enrollment in school has steadily gone up, but there are still too many kids that are not in school. For example, the enrollment rate in South Asia in 1990 was 66%.¹ That's right a 66% enrollment rate, meaning that more than one-third of the kids in South Asia were not in school. That number rose to 73% in 1998, but that number is still too small. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is even worse. In 1990, the enrollment rate was 54% and it only got slightly better in 1998 rising to 60%.¹ The only countries with satisfactory enrollment rates are in "high income countries" (such as the US) and East Asia.¹ In both of these areas, the enrollment rate was around 97% for 1998. ¹ However, in 1998, there were a staggering 113 million children not in school. ¹ It's not hard to see that enrollment is higher in countries with more money. Higher-income countries have more money to put into the education system, thereby enhancing education itself. For example, in India, there are 395 million kids and only 62% of them reach grade five in education.² Why is that? It's because India has so little money. What money it does have must be concetrated toward just keeping the people healthy. In addition, higher-income countries have people with higher income. In other words, higher-income countries have richer people. Rich people can afford to pay the expenses of school better than poor people. So the first thing that should be done is a reduction in how much families must pay to send their children to school. It may seem like a small expense to only have to pay for backpacks, binders, notebooks and pencils (considering that public schools have no tuition), but for those with little money, that can add up quickly. However, in order for this happen, low-income countries must be given money. If it were up to me, I'd have rich countries (like the US) donate money to countries in need for the sake of education. By putting more money into the government and reducing the amount that families must pay, enrollment will go up. As a matter of fact, Malawi tried this in 1994 and enrollment rate went up by 50%.¹ It's been said a thousand times, but getting kids into school keeps them out of trouble.

    A shortage of teachers has also been a major problem in primary education for a long time. According to the Taipei Times, 15 million teachers are needed throughout the world.³ Without competent teachers, then an education is useless. It's not hard to see, however, why there is a shortage of teachers. First of all, wages are not that great. For example, the average teacher salary in 2004 was $31,704.[4] This is hardly enough to live off of. So the first thing that should be done is an increase in salary. Without that increase, college graduates will not see any point in becoming a teacher. People want to get jobs that will give them the most benefit and money. If the government were willing to put about $80,000-$90,000 into teachers' salaries, I think that the amount of teachers will definitely increase. Again, if it were up to me, I would force the government to put a lot more money into teacher salaries. I would make starting wages around $80,000 and high-end salaries around $130,000 (depending on the type of education that the teacher got). That way, not only could teachers live more comfortably, but it would also motivate them to try just as hard in college as business or medical students. Teachers are a necessary part of education and it is important to keep them happy.

    Much of the school curriculums are not geared toward keeping the kids happy. In order to motivate kids to go to school, the kids must want to go to school. Many middle school programs do not keep the students interested. It has been stated that "traditional vocational education has frequently been criticized as lacking sufficient academic content and failing to prepare students with well- defined marketable skills" [5] This basically means that schools have not been teaching the correct material. Students are more motivated to work hard if they see that the classroom activities have a use in the adult life.[5] For example, I never really saw a point in learning art, which is why I never really tried when I took Foundation Art. However, I not only enjoyed Chemistry, but also saw how important it is in real life, which is why I studied so hard. It's either teach useful material or try to make the work as fun as possible. Some teachers are good at making work fun, but most have no clue on how to enhance a learning experience. I would try to make every school's curriculum more like Punahou's in that almost everything you take is going to be useful in some way.

    ¹http://www.paris21.org/betterworld/education.htm
    ²http://www.usd.edu/ttd/multicultural/resources/india.htm
    ³http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2006/07/08/2003317857
    [4]http://www.aft.org/research/
    [5]http://www.ed.gov/pubs/EdReformStudies/EdReforms/chap8d.html

    What Can Be Done?
    By Ellise Uyema

    Realistically, it would be impossible to create a universal primary education program for the world because we all speak different languages, have different customs, and some people are not as well off as others. For example, children in tribal units in Africa will not be able to have the same education as children who go to school in America; it is just not possible. The only way would be to send highly qualified teachers over or to immigrate the African children to America.
    Another issue we have with global education is the amount of teachers available. According to the Global Campaign for Education, we need an extra 15 million teachers at the minimum, to provide universal free public education around the world. Another statistic provided by the Global Campaign for Education states that there are 100 million children out there who do not go to school at all. Realistically, there is a possibility of achieving this goal. [1]
    If the government stressed the importance of primary education by going out into the global community and giving these statistics, surely there would be a surge of people wanting to teach these children. If people knew that between the ages of 0-5 is the most important time for a child’s education growth, college students and future teachers would be flocking to get their teaching degree. However, the government needs to make this one of their top priorities. The government wonders why children aren’t receiving the education they deserve; they should be putting the guilt on themselves because they don’t stress half of the importance of primary education to a child.
    It is shown that children who attend some form of elementary school generally do better after high school and have a higher percentage rate of going to college, than do children who don’t attend primary school. Many children who don’t attend primary school become high school dropouts and some even end up in jail. If the government paid more attention to the importance, we could possibly reduce poverty and people who depend on welfare because these educated students were able to receive higher paying jobs. [2]
    UNICEF has a goal that by 2015, every child will have some sort of primary education background. [3] This sounds like an ambitious goal, which may not be accomplished; however, what we can to do help this cause is build facilities in low-income areas around the world that will hopefully generate more interest in primary education. We can help areas such as Africa, with adequate water supplies and buildings to hold classes.
    Finally, although many areas don’t have electricity and are in low-income situations, technology companies could start to donate or even sell computers for low prices to low-income areas in the world. Through the ICT Trust Fund, which is through a partnership “between the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT)”, many countries are receiving computers for the very first time. Many companies such as Microsoft, Dell, IBM, etc, have signed up to participate in this. With this technology, students are able to use these computers simultaneously, and are affordable for low-income areas as well. [4]
    The impact I could have to change this situation may be small, but if many people joined in to take these small steps, the impact could be phenomenal. We as fellow citizens could learn how to become primary educators and implement these ideas in low-incomes areas in the world. Or, if you didn’t want to take that route, you could simply donate money to the cause. That money could help to provide buildings, technology, supplies, etc, for these underprivileged children in 3rd world countries.
    If these example solutions are not implemented, more people will end up on the streets due to inadequate education or just because the education was not available to them. In areas such as the Middle East, it is almost impossible for girls to receive a fair education because of their gender inequality. However, if these cultural customs were to be changed and girl’s education was accepted, we could have future women presidents, or future women company presidents.
    If these solutions are not taken into account, many children will not receive the education they all deserve. A lot of these children are probably smart individuals, but no one has given them the time of day to prove it. We could have geniuses living on the streets because they couldn’t afford education or hadn’t had access to the free public education. We need to have some sort of public education accessible to everyone in the world; every child deserves the right to a fair education.

    [1] http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2006/07/08/2003317857
    [2] http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Sep/14/ln/ln14a.html
    [3] http://www.unicef.org/mdg/education.html
    [4] http://www.businesstodayegypt.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=6825

    Special Education on a Global Level

    The Current Situation
    Becky Himuro

    Although special education has become increasingly popular during the past decade in America, other countries around the world are just beginning to realize the need for such education. Currently, America is, by far, the country in which special education is the most popular and has made the biggest impact on children with special needs. Because of the excellent example America has been setting for countries all over the world by taking action and moving forward with special education programs, other countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa have slowly decided to partake in the promotion of special education too.

    In Southeast Europe, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recently begun gathering statistics and other research in order to bring education for children with special needs to their countries. After statistics were taken and more information was collected, this organization published “Education Policies for Students at Risk and those with Disabilities in South Eastern Europe” in March of 2006. Also, in May 2006, a teacher-training seminar was held for those who plan on pursuing the fulfilling life of a special education teacher.¹ The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has recently seen a lot of development towards their goals of special education and is currently working on their next step towards success.

    Another country that is working towards bettering the education that is provided for children with special needs is Japan. Although Japan has proven to be very up-to-date as far as technology goes, the special education programs that are offered in Japan could use some improvement. Special education in Japan has existed for around 120 years; however, it did not become well known in Japan until after World War II. After World War II, there was an outburst in the number of children who needed special education because of mental retardation, motor handicaps, and chronic diseases. Because of this, more and more different types of special education organizations came into existence and ever since then, Japan has been trying to keep improving the special education provided to the children who need it. In Japan, special education is called “Jiritu Katudo”, or “Educational Therapeutic Activities” in English. In these schools, the curriculum includes things such as sensory-motor, orientation and mobility, social skills, auditory, and speech training.² Japan’s special education programs have been rapidly increasing in quality due to their extraordinary technology, which now helps with these organizations.

    In Africa, the level and quality of “regular” education that is offered there is substantially lower than the education that is offered in America. This proves true for special education programs as well. Poor funding, lack of information, negative attitudes, cultural influences, limited access, and lack of commitment have caused this problem. In Africa, the poor funding for special education programs is due to certain cultural influences. They believe that if education is to be funded, the money should be put towards the education for students who aren’t disabled. In Africa, children that are disabled or labeled as children with special needs are looked down upon and often not given much attention.³ Because of this belief, the number of special education programs in Africa are very low compared to the number of disabled children or children that are in need of special attention. Also, due to the same belief, the teachers, volunteers, and others who are associated with these organizations often don’t commit themselves to their jobs. During the past decade, these problems have been recognized in Africa and many organizations are working hard to promote special education in Africa’s many countries.

    South Eastern Europe, Japan, and Africa are only a few examples of places that are trying to improve the quality of their special education programs. The idea of special education is now spreading faster than ever to many different countries around the world. America has been setting an excellent example for these countries and hopefully, the quality and condition of special education programs around the world with continues to increase with America’s help.

    SOURCES
    1. http://www.oecd.org/document/33/0,2340,en_2649_34531_31452769_1_1_1_1,00.html
    2. http://www.criced.tsukuba.ac.jp/pdf/12_Japan_Nakata.pdf
    3. http://www.isec2000.org.uk/abstracts/papers_k/kalabula_1.htm


    IMAGES

    http://www.opi.state.mt.us/Images/SpEd41102.jpg

    History
    Rachel Yamashita

    Disabilities, interestingly, have been around since 1500 B.C. However, because of the lack of knowledge on disabilities, people with disabilities were looked down upon. "The Greeks and Romans in particular held a very narrow sense of self-image, believing they exemplified the ideal human type. With their contributions to art, philosophy, literature, and science, they viewed themselves as superior to all other races. Physical difference, in the form of a different ethnicity or a disability, was seen as a mark of inferiority." Children with disabilities, not surprisingly, were scorned. What was surprising though was that it was normal for people to kill or abandon their disabled children; in some places it was a legal requirement. Few wealthy people would keep an individual with a disability as a "fool" or "court jester". The beginnings of compassionate gestures first started with the rise of Christianity. "By the fourth century A.D., the rise of Christianity led to more humane practices toward persons with disabilities. Infanticide (the practice of killing children) ceased and helping 'the afflicted' became a sign of strength."

    People with disabilities however were still treated with indifference. "People with disabilities were considered 'different'; none were considered normal." Most of these individuals still served as entertainment for people, whether they were displayed in "idiot cages" or "ships of fools" (ships that went from port to port, charging people to view their "strange" cargo. these people were later abandoned at a port to "fend for themselves").

    "The shrine at Gheel, Belgium founded in 1215 is considered the beginning of family care and foster care. People with disabilities were brought here because of the belief that madness could be cured at the shrine. However, the motivation was mainly religious ('if we take care of these people and treat them as family members, we will be rewarded in the hereafter.')." People with disabilities were seen as "the result of evil spirits, the devil, witchcraft or God's displeasure." Sin, impurity, and undesirability were words/themes often related to disabled people. "The Renaissance was an intellectual and cultural movement that began in Italy in the 1300s and spread throughout Northern Europe." People during this age were more interested in learning about nature of the world and the nature/anatomy (Leonardo da Vinci) of man. This increased interest in science and the arts lead to the "development/advancement of healthcare and the understanding of disabilities."

    One of the first actual education systems that appeared for the disabled was a study that took place in Portugal during the 18th century. "Jacob Rodriguez Pereire (1715-1780) instructed 'deaf mutes' and taught them to hear and speak by touch and vibration through muscles." Not surprisingly, this was a big thing back in the 18th century. Other studies took place to study and benefit the disabled people. "In the 1780s, Valentin Hauy developed embossed print and claimed that blind persons could be taught to read. These successful efforts to educate persons who were blind and deaf encouraged an interest in educating persons with other disabilities."

    A famous story on the beginnings of educating the disabled was Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard and Victor, the "Wild Boy of Aveyron".

    "In 1799, Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard heard reports of a boy abandoned in the woods of Aveyron, France, who had apparently been raised by wolves. 'Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron,' as he was called, was chosen by Itard as an experimental subject to prove the validity of the 'blank slate' concept: that a person could become, or be made into, whatever one wants. Itard had the child brought to Paris and entrusted to the care of his housekeeper. Victor was probably in his early teens, a child with severe mental retardation who likely had been abandoned by his parents.

    Itard saw Victor as someone who had never been tainted by civilization, and who could, with the proper teaching, become the perfect human being. The 'blank slate' would be filled with carefully selected information. From a child who could not speak, would not sleep in a bed, wear clothes or eat cooked food, Victor made tremendous strides, learning to use simple communication, and interacting with others, notably Itard's housekeeper, who spent a great deal of time with him. As a scientific study, this was all very optimistic.

    But Itard grew tired, not seeing the great gains he hoped for, and gave up his hope of Victor becoming 'super' normal. Living outside of society had not necessarily protected Victor from unnatural wants and corruption, as Rousseau's philosophy suggested; it had only deprived him of language, guidance, comfort, and human affection. Even with his limited success, Itard did prove that children with mental retardation could improve to some extent. This would have a positive influence on many of the educators of the following century."

    People with disabilities were still being treated poorly. During the industrial revolution of the 18th century, some of these individuals (along with other children) were forced to work in factories ("To get rid of 'imbecile' children, parish authorities often bargained with factory owners to take one 'imbecile' with every twenty children.") . Living conditions for these children were terrible; those who lived in poverty (individuals with mental/physical disabilities among them) were usually put into poor houses. By the beginning of the 19th century, the general public was more aware and knowledgeable about disabilities. Thus the start of institutions (see national level for more on institutions).

    America, by the 19th century, was still a fairly new country. Schools were established for the children in the communities. However, not all children went to school. "Despite the citizens of Wisconsin's interest in the education of their children, many children did not attend school. According to an 1873 a report on truancy and attendance laws by State Superintendent Samuel Fallows, between forty and fifty thousand Wisconsin children did not attend school at all in 1870. Citizens cited several reasons, including the need to have older children help on farms, inadequate schoolhouses and poor teachers, and the long distances some students had to travel to reach a school--on bad roads and sometimes in bad weather."

    As said in the national level of the history of special education, institutions were closed down because of the treatment of their patients. Parent oriented groups fought to close these institutions to protect the disabled children from the worsening conditions of these institutions. Several acts were issued to ensure adequate education for children with disabilities Individual with Disabilities Education Act, Families and Advocates Partnership for Education, Education for All Handicapped Children Act, etc.) . There are now programs for disabled children, most of which can be found at public schools (which must accept any and all students).


    http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~dalbello/FLVA/background/education%20images/ed_eauclairec_lg.jpg

    SOURCES
    1. http://www.mncdd.org/parallels/menu.html
    2. http://www.ru.org/artother.html
    3. http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~dalbello/FLVA/background/education.html#eauclaire

    What Should We Do?
    Michelle Spitzer

    In America, special education and people with disabilities are a acknowledged and accepted part of our society and culture. Our programs and awareness may not be perfect but the people and the government have made an effort at starting, funding and continuing the special education programs in our public schools regardless of individual success.

    Unfortunately, not everyone in today’s world is so lucky. In the age of globalization, work, job-opportunities and business are not the only things that have gone world-wide. People in other countries now have access to educational ideas and resources that they would never have been able to get their hands on before. However, in many places this is little help because they do not have the existing educational infrastructure to be able to effectively use the new information and other resources to create and maintain special education programs. In places where education is still below par, the people are often not ready to accept the fact that people with disabilities can be helped and have needs just like everyone else that should be addressed by the governing body.

    One of the biggest obstacles to special education is social prejudice. In many cultures, disabled or “different” children have a severe disadvantage right from the beginning because historically people who didn’t fit the norm were abandoned, ignored or sent away. Before we can make any great strides in special education, we must first create a global awareness and acceptance of differences and the richness they can bring to a society. People need to know that they don’t need to be afraid or wary of those kids with disabilities and that instead they should embrace the chance to make the difference in a child’s life where someone else is either not willing or not able to.

    Another way we can further the success of special education around the world is to help every nation on earth to establish an education infrastructure which is designed to provide quality education to every child who needs it: “normal” or not. Many countries such as the US, Germany, and Japan have successfully developed their education systems to create safe, practical learning environments for their nation’s children, and now it is time for those who have succeeded to help those countries who still need a little help. So many problems can be solved with good education. With an education, children in third world countries would be able to go farther and actually have a chance at competing for jobs in the global marketplace, know enough not to pass AIDS onto the next generation and stop the ridiculous persecution of those who are different from themselves.

    Apart from helping to create and establish educational programs around the world, we also need to raise awareness and begin little by little to change the way others see people with disabilities. This is no simple task, we are up against histories of discrimination and prejudice and it won’t change in one night, but we should get the word out there and do what we can to try and change people’s minds’ on the subject. We certainly don’t want to change their culture but as times change, acceptance of new ways becomes necessary, and one thing that people all over the world need to accept very soon, is that people with disabilities have just as many rights as you or me and they should be given a fighting chance.

    Sources and Links
    1. Family Village: A Global Community of Disability Related Resources
    2. Kalabula - Inclusive Education in Africa: A Myth or Reality? A Zambian Case Study
    3. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization

    Children in a special education class in the Philippines learn about life in the US Navy


    Special Education in rural South Africa

    What Can We Do?
    Kim Teruya

    What Has Been Done?
    The importance of education widely varies in other world countries. Countries such as China and Japan put much of their effort into building up the minds of their youth. Many of their students attend evening classes in addition to their regular school day classes in order to better prepare themselves for the future. International tests show that Asian countries such as China and Japan receive the highest scores in math and science. These Asian countries such as China and Japan have stressed the importance of education which in return has allowed their people to prosper in today’s modern world.
    However, although they’re countries who have stressed education, they’re also those countries who have neglected this important issue. Such negligence has lead to increase the need for special needs educators. While other world countries have been prospering, Latin America has fallen short. Although outside forces as well as inside forces have tried to aid to the people of Latin America, the people there have difficulties accepting the cycle of personal and national crisis at hand. This makes educating and reforming Latin American quite difficult. These children who fall behind are to be considered special needs children. (1)

    In addition to these things, there are hundreds of organizations who are devoted to helping underprivileged and special needs children. One of the many organizations that help children is called Compassion International. This organization supports thousands of children all over the world. If one chooses to financially “adopt” a child, a monthly payment of $32 would be mailed to this organization. The $32 covers food, clothes and most importantly an education. (2)

    What Can Be Done?
    Children who are slow to learn need to be properly equipped to survive in the real world. I think that an important key to the success in foreign countries is the usage and knowledge of the English language. Children from other countries who do not have severe disabilities and have a chance at a normal functioning lifestyle should receive the opportunity to learn English. In other world countries, those (not special needs) who have learned English have become more successful in today’s world. The special needs children, who might just merely be slow learners, shouldn’t be denied the opportunity to prosper as well. (3) The Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) released a report that highlighted the successes of teaching English to students in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and South Korea, in addition to many other countries. (1) If English were to be taught more readily in foreign countries, special needs children would be given more of a chance.
    In addition to teaching the English language,

    Work Cited
    1. http://cgi.stanford.edu/group/wais/cgi-bin/index.php?p=794
    2. http://www.compassion.com/about/programs/learningforlife.htm
    3. http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/JWCRAWFORD/HL.htm

    Pictures
    1. http://www.wowvision.net/images/p_success.jpg
    2. http://www.spiritwestcoast.org/dImages/compassion_img.gif
    3. http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~mcnelly/Images/Boy%20and%20Girl.jpg
    4. http://www.bottradionetwork.com/station_lincoln/images/Worldview05/Compassion300x200.jpg
    5. http://www.altrusa.ws/images/foster_moms_nanchang.gif

    Global History of Primary Education

    The earliest examples of a schooling system dates back to the development of human civilization. Education and schools were early cultures reply to the difficulties of surviving and thriving as a culture. It began by adults teaching the young their own skills in an apprenticeship style. They became dependent on passing on knowledge to future generations leading to the first schools. One of the first countries to develop a school-like atmosphere was Islam. Part of the Islam culture was to spread knowledge where they combined religion and learning. The Seljuks who also introduced the Madrassa system, a public province controlled by the caliph, built the first school. But it was the Ottomans who built a school with a mosque, hospital, madrassa, dining areas, and accommodations for the public in the tenth century. ¹

    Religious men like priests and monks who strive to teach morals to the younger generations developed Europe’s school system. Many of the schools in Europe originated as Catholic based. In the 17th century Scotland even tried to promote literacy to the entire population in the Act of the Parliament of Scotland that produced tax dollars to fund the endeavor. Though, the Age of Enlightenment forgot much of the religious ties experienced in schooling as human development was pushed.

    The school systems in Asia all started in different ways. China began through the teaching of Chinese classic texts instead of religion like in Japan. The Chinese pushed literacy realizing the importance of educated officials, and built an imperial examination system during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 BC). This gave birth to schools which kept teaching the early classics of Confucius and other philosophers for the next 2,000 years, until the Qing Dynasty in 1911 where the entire schooling system was replaced by Western ways. Japan’s schooling took place in Buddhist temples and was geared to teach the young the skills needed to become priests. “Tera-koya” meeting places eventually developed as a place for further study where students learned how to read and write. ²

    India has one of the oldest public and free school systems on earth. They taught values that benefited the human development in a Gurukul system. Teachers in their homes or monasteries usually led the schools. They learned a diverse range of subjects from religion to astrology. By the 18th century records show that schools branched out so much that there was one for every temple and village. All types of students attended regardless of their financial state. In the 20th century however, British government intervened with their schooling system imposing Western schooling traditions. ²

    Although a lot of the first schools did push for literacy there have been times throughout it where places in developing countries like African nations still struggle with teaching those basic skills. The good news is more and more developing countries are providing schools to their youth. Compared to 1960 where the percentage of population without any schooling was 36%, in 2000, it decreased to 25%. It shows that more and more schools are popping up around the world. This statistic also has a direct effect on the literacy percentages where in developing countries compared to 1970, the literacy rates of the population increased by half in 2000.

    Priests and teachers in monasteries or homes taught the earliest primary schools usually, but as time went on and more schools were built to fit the global demand of learning, the quality teacher shortage problem increased. Right now, the projected worldwide teacher shortage will reach 18 million by 2016. The countries that are hit the hardest by teacher shortages are the developing countries like Sub-Saharan Africa and Arab States. The global trend throughout history shows that quality teacher shortages went hand in hand with countries that needed the most teachers.
    ³

    ¹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elementary_school

    ²http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/schools

    ³http://www.harolddoan.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=915

    world history of special education

    Disabilities, interestingly, have been around since 1500 B.C. However, because of the lack of knowledge on disabilities, people with disabilities were looked down upon. "The Greeks and Romans in particular held a very narrow sense of self-image, believing they exemplified the ideal human type. With their contributions to art, philosophy, literature, and science, they viewed themselves as superior to all other races. Physical difference, in the form of a different ethnicity or a disability, was seen as a mark of inferiority." Children with disabilities, not surprisingly, were scorned. What was surprising though was that it was normal for people to kill or abandon their disabled children; in some places it was a legal requirement. Few wealthy people would keep an individual with a disability as a "fool" or "court jester". The beginnings of compassionate gestures first started with the rise of Christianity. "By the fourth century A.D., the rise of Christianity led to more humane practices toward persons with disabilities. Infanticide (the practice of killing children) ceased and helping 'the afflicted' became a sign of strength."
    People with disabilities however were still treated with indifference. "People with disabilities were considered 'different'; none were considered normal." Most of these individuals still served as entertainment for people, whether they were displayed in "idiot cages" or "ships of fools" (ships that went from port to port, charging people to view their "strange" cargo. these people were later abandoned at a port to "fend for themselves").
    "The shrine at Gheel, Belgium founded in 1215 is considered the beginning of family care and foster care. People with disabilities were brought here because of the belief that madness could be cured at the shrine. However, the motivation was mainly religious ('if we take care of these people and treat them as family members, we will be rewarded in the hereafter.') ." People with disabilities were seen as "the result of evil spirits, the devil, witchcraft or God's displeasure." Sin, impurity, and undesirability were words/themes often related to disabled people. "The Renaissance was an intellectual and cultural movement that began in Italy in the 1300s and spread throughout Northern Europe." People during this age were more interested in learning about nature of the world and the nature/anatomy (Leonardo da Vinci) of man. This increased interest in science and the arts lead to the "development/advancement of healthcare and the understanding of disabilities."
    One of the first actual education systems that appeared for the disabled was a study that took place in Portugal during the 18th century. "Jacob Rodriguez Pereire (1715-1780) instructed 'deaf mutes' and taught them to hear and speak by touch and vibration through muscles." Not surprisingly, this was a big thing back in the 18th century. Other studies took place to study and benefit the disabled people. "In the 1780s, Valentin Hauy developed embossed print and claimed that blind persons could be taught to read. These successful efforts to educate persons who were blind and deaf encouraged an interest in educating persons with other disabilities."
    A famous story on the beginnings of educating the disabled was Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard and Victor, the "Wild Boy of Aveyron".

    "In 1799, Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard heard reports of a boy abandoned in the woods of Aveyron, France, who had apparently been raised by wolves. 'Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron,' as he was called, was chosen by Itard as an experimental subject to prove the validity of the 'blank slate' concept: that a person could become, or be made into, whatever one wants. Itard had the child brought to Paris and entrusted to the care of his housekeeper. Victor was probably in his early teens, a child with severe mental retardation who likely had been abandoned by his parents.
    Itard saw Victor as someone who had never been tainted by civilization, and who could, with the proper teaching, become the perfect human being. The 'blank slate' would be filled with carefully selected information. From a child who could not speak, would not sleep in a bed, wear clothes or eat cooked food, Victor made tremendous strides, learning to use simple communication, and interacting with others, notably Itard's housekeeper, who spent a great deal of time with him. As a scientific study, this was all very optimistic.
    But Itard grew tired, not seeing the great gains he hoped for, and gave up his hope of Victor becoming 'super' normal. Living outside of society had not necessarily protected Victor from unnatural wants and corruption, as Rousseau's philosophy suggested; it had only deprived him of language, guidance, comfort, and human affection.
    Even with his limited success, Itard did prove that children with mental retardation could improve to some extent. This would have a positive influence on many of the educators of the following century."

    People with disabilities were still being treated poorly. During the industrial revolution of the 18th century, some of these individuals (along with other children) were forced to work in factories ("To get rid of 'imbecile' children, parish authorities often bargained with factory owners to take one 'imbecile' with every twenty children.") . Living conditions for these children were terrible; those who lived in poverty (individuals with mental/physical disabilities among them) were usually put into poor houses. By the beginning of the 19th century, the general public was more aware and knowledgable about disabilities. Thus the start of institutions (see national level for more on instituitions).
    America, by the 19th century, was still a fairly new country. Schools were established for the children in the communities. However, not all children went to school. "Despite the citizens of Wisconsin's interest in the education of their children, many children did not attend school. According to an 1873 a report on truancy and attendance laws by State Superintendent Samuel Fallows, between forty and fifty thousand Wisconsin children did not attend school at all in 1870. Citizens cited several reasons, including the need to have older children help on farms, inadequate schoolhouses and poor teachers, and the long distances some students had to travel to reach a school--on bad roads and sometimes in bad weather."
    As said in the national level of the history of special education, instituitions were closed down because of the treatment of their patients. Parent oriented groups fought to close these institutions to protect the disabled children from the worsening conditions of these instituitions. Several acts were issued to ensure adequate education for children with disabilities Individual with Disabilities Education Act, Families and Advocates Partnership for Education, Education for All Handicapped Children Act, etc.) . There are now programs for disabled children, most of which can be found at public schools (which must accept any and all students).

    http://www.mncdd.org/parallels/menu.html
    http://www.ru.org/artother.html
    http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~dalbello/FLVA/background/education.html#eauclaire

    Public Primary Education: National Level (All)

    National Public Primary Education:History
    In the United States, public school education is primarily the responsibility of each individual state. The state delegates the task of day-to-day operations to school districts at the local level.¹ In addition, the state establishes colleges, develops criteria, and determines requirements for enrollment and graduation.² Basically, the national public school education system is powered by the states.
    This educational system can be traced all the way back to the foundation of the country. After the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson proposed that Americans give a high priority to a "crusade against ignorance".³ Jefferson was also the first to propose a system of free schools for all persons that would be publicly supported by taxes, which basically means that he was the first to propose a school system.³ Then in 1785, the Land Ordinance of 1785 came about. This established a mechanism for funding public education in the United States. Then after a somewhat long recession of education, the Department of Education was founded in 1867 to collect information on schools and teaching that would help the states establish effective school systems.² The foundation of the Department of Education was the start of what would eventually become modern education. However, even though the Department of Education was founded in 1867, the first public school was actually founded in 1821 in Boston.[4]
    The 19th century turned out to be a rather big century for education. The two major changes that came about were kindergarten and teacher training programs. In 1839, Horace Mann began the nation's first teacher-training school in Massachusetts.[4] This was obviously to ensure that teachers would be qualified to teach the youth, foreshadowing what would become a big part of modern education (the qualification of teachers in the classroom) And in 1873, the nation's first kindergarten opened in St. Louis, paving the way for the future.[4] In addition to kindergarten and teacher-training, some minor changes also came about around this time. For example, the Morrill Act of 1890, withheld grants from states that deny admission to schools based on race.[4]
    The 20th century was also a big one for education. For example, World War II led to an expansion of federal support for education. The Lahman Act of 1941 and the Impact Aid laws of 1950, eased the burden on communities affected by the presence of military by making payments to school districts, which in turn, would enhance the districts.² In addition, the GI Bill sent many World War II veterans to college, highlighting the importance of higher education.¹ The Cold War also helped to bring about huge change in education. Because the United States was competing with the Soviet Union at this time, the government wanted to make sure that the most qualified people would be there to help the United States. Therefore, the government gave loans to college students and helped to improve science and mathematics.² Needless to say, the Cold War played a big role in the escalation of education.
    It was something different, however, that changed the face of education forever: the civil rights movement. In 1954, the famous Brown vs Board of Education case led to the desegregation of schools, which was huge.¹ The desegregation of schools meant that African Americans no longer had to go segregated schools, which were often times, not as good as White schools. Furthermore, it helped ensure that everyone got an equal education. In addition to the case, the passing of laws such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Ammendments of 1972 further helped to ensure that everyone got equal education. [4]
    The most recent act toward education was the No Child Left Behind Act, which wants to establish high standards and accountability for the learning of all children regardless of their background or ability.[5] This is a very large act, which discusses many different ways to enhance the learning of children.
    The issue of public primary education in the United States has been a big one. It has gotten to its current situation through years of evolution. The modern education system shows many similarities to the system that was founded back in the 19th century. But many things have been learned over the years to bring educaiton to where it is today. Much emphasis has been put on education mainly because people realize that it is the youth which is the major factor. Educating the youth for the future is the major factor that contributes to the support of the educational system.
    ¹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_education
    ²http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/role.html
    ³http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/refpages/refarticle.aspx?refid=761571494
    [4]http://familyeducation.com/article/0,1120,1-4485,00.html
    [5]http://www.nea.org/esea/index.html
    By Cody Noyama


    Current Situation of Public Primary Schooling in America
    The current situation surrounding adequate education in public schools in America is shocking. The future is not looking bright for public education as schools around the nation face quality teacher shortages, controversial standardized testing and regulations, and lack of funding.
    The Bush administration has tried to bridge the learning gap by implementing No Child Left Behind (NCLB) but has only seemed to cause anger among teachers, and disappointment in parents. Several teacher's unions like the American Federation of Teachers have fought against NCLB since the beginning, saying it has standards that are sometimes unobtainable in the classroom. NCLB has also caused rifts between parents and teachers in schools where students are underperforming. Parents especially in urban based schools where scores are dismal often blame the teachers for not preparing their students well. Teachers counter back however with the argument that its actually the student's home environment that has more of an impact on the child's development, scores, and education. ¹
    The goal of NCLB is to basically ensure schools are proficient according to state created standards, and experience yearly growth. Schools who do not meet regulations for two consecutive years will be titled "in need of improvement" and must lose that title the following year or possibly face reconstruction including the firing of current staff, creation of a new curriculum, or an increase in day length. These new standards put an overwhelming amount of pressure on schools, teachers, and faculty to bring their students up to par. ¹
    The NCLB also specifies schools must only have "highly qualified teachers". Teachers basically must have at least a bachelor's degree and pass tests that demonstrate their abilities in the subject they will teach. These regulations have also caused some distress to teachers specializing in special ed and teach in rural areas and must teach several subjects and grades at a time.
    Some feel the government's attempt at intervening on the educational level by implicating tests to measure students proficiency is biased towards certain races. Here is an example of a question from the practice test:
    "Most young tennis stars learn the game from coaches at private clubs. In this sentence, a club is probably a ...
    F baseball bat
    G tennis racquet
    H tennis court
    J country club" ²

    The author of the article featuring this sample question Greg Palast, argued that students in rural and urban neighborhoods wouldn’t know the answer to this question if they’ve never been to a country club which would be more familiar to caucasians. Palast also said these tests labeled the students who didn’t receive proficeint scores as failures and only caused them to be embarassed if held back due to low scoring.
    Overall the NCLB has a good and bad side on every issue. For instance, Good: it increases the quality of education by raising the standards in public schools. Bad: schools, states, and teachers get punished for poor results causing them to set the bar low and selectively choose only the brightest students to take proficiency tests. Either way, the government's intervention implementing the NCLB has caused a lot of controversy in the public school system.
    Public schools across America are also facing a critical teacher shortage. Many teachers feel strained when working with students that are unmotivated or if they don’t have the correct materials to teach. They also feel pressure from the standardized proficiency testing to get high scores, and if their students don’t, they face the possibility of being released from their job or more government intervention in their curriculum. Not to mention, although the teacher’s salary is increasing, it still begins at extremely low levels; the average teacher’s salary begins in the thirty thousands. This combination of low salaries, lack of supplies and facilities, student discipline issues, and inadequate support from adminstrators and parents contribute to the growing teacher shortage in the public school system. &sup4
    A reason for low teacher salaries and poor facilities and supplies is due to lack of federal funding. The Washington Post released an article describing the budget plan Mr. Bush announced for America’s 2.77 trillion dollar budget. Not surprising, the Departemtn of Defense received a huge sum of $440 billion to help with army expansion and other fight on terrorist productions, but the NCLB got only $200 million set aside for it. &sup5 Democrats say that amount is insufficient to keep the program rolling in states. There also was no increase in funding for Title 1 which helps gives funding for poverty aid in schools.
    Statistics have shown that African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians are a lot more likely to attend high-poverty public schools than White or Asian/Pacific Islanders are. ³ Even so, if the degrading conditions in public schools don't step up everyone in America will be affected. Just like in the local spectrum, all students in the public school system are being hurt by poor education quality, but in the long run, if the newest generations aren't given strong educational foundation and basic skills, when America is handed over to them for leadership, all generations future, present, and past will feel the impact of a poor education.

    ¹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act
    ²http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=476&row=1
    ³http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/2006/section1/indicator06.asp
    &sup4http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind04/c1/c1s6.htm
    &sup5http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/interactives/budget07/agencies.html
    By Melissa Wong


    What should be done for Public Primary Education
    From birth to age five, this is the most important time for a child’s learning period. Without the proper education from qualified teachers and adequate facilities, a child’s education could seriously be corrupted. Education in the primary stages is very important for a child because it is during these times that children retain most of their knowledge. A child will learn how to play with other children nicely, or gain the basic reading skills for future purposes. However, it seems as though our country is not doing enough for these children, as our public primary education system seems to be declining, even though measures are being taken to prevent this from happening.
    If our country had unlimited funds and could do whatever they could to help with public primary education, the number one request would be to find highly qualified teachers. According to the “No Child Left Behind Act”, from 05’-06’, teachers must be educated in public education and “‘highly qualified’ in each subject he or she teaches.” Other requirements include completion of two years of college, received an associate’s degree, or “passed an evaluation to demonstrate knowledge and teaching ability.” [1]
    Without adequate teachers, children will not receive the full education they deserve and will be behind other students who have received it. Government should create programs to further educate future teachers and make sure that they understand the importance of their influence on these children. Potential teachers should become teacher assistances for a year to make sure they know the importance of teaching primary students. Teachers are the foundation for students; children look up to teachers as role models, and if they aren’t playing up to their potential, then the student will also not reach their potential.
    Another issue primary education should resolve is adequate facilities. Nationally, facilities have always differed for states because public and private education will always be different. Government should make sure public education is close or up to par with private institutions; this way all children are getting equal education. It is unfair to deprive a child of adequate facilities, especially when primary education is especially important to a person.
    Education in general is supposed to help children achieve literacy, numbers, as well as a general concept of history, science, etc. [2] However, it would almost be impossible to a child to learn if they don’t even understand the language in which it is taught. Students with English as a Second Language have a hard time understanding because they are unfamiliar to our language. Therefore, it should be proposed that government supply schools with special ESL teachers or create classes for ESL students to be in. That way they learn English on the side as well as understand the lessons taught in class.
    According to a 2000 survey conducted by the National Institute for Literacy, 10% of the 28.4 million foreign-born people were under the age of 18. 12.5% of the foreign-born people are ages 5-17, and of that group 13.6% spoke little or none of English. The Asian statistics ages 5-17 are about the same as the Spanish ones.
    Another survey in 2000 stated that Limited English Proficient Students made up 7.8% of the total public school enrollment in 98’-99’. Of these 7.8%, 78% were Spanish speakers, 2.7% Vietnamese, and the rest are either some kind of Asian or European language. Many people after the age of 18 have taken the ESL course; however, the primary years are the most beneficial to a person in the future. This is why ESL programs generated for younger children are essential for a child’s education. Without learning the primary language spoken in America, how do we expect these children to succeed in life, or get the skilled jobs they deserve? [3]
    Finally, the government should issue yearly or half a year tests to see where the child stands. With the No Child Left Behind Act, students in grades 3-8 are required to take annual reading and math tests. And by 07’-08’ they will start to issue tests on science. [4] However, these tests are sometimes unfair to children who are ESL or even children in poverty stricken areas. These NCLB tests don’t fully measure a child’s learning curve; therefore, statistics are usually incorrect and don’t take into consideration those issues. Government should issue tests in different languages or even have translators help with testing. It may sound tedious and may give a disadvantage to children who can understand English because of this special attention, but these children are probably very intelligent and need to be given the attention necessary for their education.
    Resources:
    [1] http://nieer.org/resources/research/EffectsPreK.pdf
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_education
    [3] http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/facts/esl.html
    [4] http://nieer.org/resources/research/EffectsPreK.pdf
    By Ellise Uyema


    What should we do for National Public Primary Education
    Universal public primary education would be a good start to realistic goals in America. If we had universal education in America, we could make sure that all students are receiving the quality education they deserve, despite class issues. With the No Child Left Behind Act, universal education can be possible in the near future. It is said that children who have done some form of public primary education have shown positive effects in the higher grades. [1]
    However, with the NCLB act, it doesn’t benefit the students who don’t speak or understand English. Especially in areas such as California and Florida, many native-Spanish speaking people send their children to public schools. However, these schools don’t benefit the students because they are put into a frightening situation where English is totally new to them. Without some knowledge of English prior to entering the school, these students are immediately disadvantaged. And with the NCLB act, their tests are administered in English, so the statistics are actually flawed.
    In order to help out ESL children, government should put special educators, or even translators in the classrooms to help assist these children. That way, their education can be correctly measured with the English-speaking students. Also, instead of the NCLB test given only in English every year, they should create tests for multi-languages so that everyone is on the same playing field. [2]
    Another idea would be to put future primary educators through a special training, dealing with not just the academic side, but also child psychology, because it is important for adults to know just how a child’s brain functions. By taking these courses, teachers will have some kind of common ground with their students so that they can hopefully educate their students better.
    Finally, teachers should be required to issue a progress report to the parents every quarter or so, to make sure that the parents are involved in their child’s education. Parents are a big part of a child’s education process because they are the supporters, and children rely on a parent’s approval for many things, including education. With these report cards, parents can assess it, and if their child is having problems, they can find ways to help the situation and hopefully improve their child’s skills.

    [1] nieer.org/resources/research/EffectsPreK.pdf
    [2] http://www.nea.org/esea/eseatesting.html

    By Uihan Kim

    July 12, 2006

    Realistic goals for Global Public Primary Education

    Realistically, it would be impossible to create a universal primary education program for the world because we all speak different languages, have different customs, and some people are not as well off as others. For example, children in tribal units in Africa will not be able to have the same education as children who go to school in America; it is just not possible. The only way would be to send highly qualified teachers over or to immigrate the African children to America.
    Another issue we have with global education is the amount of teachers available. According to the Global Campaign for Education, we need an extra 15 million teachers at the minimum, to provide universal free public education around the world. Another statistic provided by the Global Campaign for Education states that there are 100 million children out there who do not go to school at all. Realistically, there is a possibility of achieving this goal. [1]
    If the government stressed the importance of primary education by going out into the global community and giving these statistics, surely there would be a surge of people wanting to teach these children. If people knew that between the ages of 0-5 is the most important time for a child’s education growth, college students and future teachers would be flocking to get their teaching degree. However, the government needs to make this one of their top priorities. The government wonders why children aren’t receiving the education they deserve; they should be putting the guilt on themselves because they don’t stress half of the importance of primary education to a child.
    It is shown that children who attend some form of elementary school generally do better after high school and have a higher percentage rate of going to college, than do children who don’t attend primary school. Many children who don’t attend primary school become high school dropouts and some even end up in jail. If the government paid more attention to the importance, we could possibly reduce poverty and people who depend on welfare because these educated students were able to receive higher paying jobs. [2]
    UNICEF has a goal that by 2015, every child will have some sort of primary education background. [3] This sounds like an ambitious goal, which may not be accomplished; however, what we can to do help this cause is build facilities in low-income areas around the world that will hopefully generate more interest in primary education. We can help areas such as Africa, with adequate water supplies and buildings to hold classes.
    Finally, although many areas don’t have electricity and are in low-income situations, technology companies could start to donate or even sell computers for low prices to low-income areas in the world. Through the ICT Trust Fund, which is through a partnership “between the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT)”, many countries are receiving computers for the very first time. Many companies such as Microsoft, Dell, IBM, etc, have signed up to participate in this. With this technology, students are able to use these computers simultaneously, and are affordable for low-income areas as well. [4]
    The impact I could have to change this situation may be small, but if many people joined in to take these small steps, the impact could be phenomenal. We as fellow citizens could learn how to become primary educators and implement these ideas in low-incomes areas in the world. Or, if you didn’t want to take that route, you could simply donate money to the cause. That money could help to provide buildings, technology, supplies, etc, for these underprivileged children in 3rd world countries.
    If these example solutions are not implemented, more people will end up on the streets due to inadequate education or just because the education was not available to them. In areas such as the Middle East, it is almost impossible for girls to receive a fair education because of their gender inequality. However, if these cultural customs were to be changed and girl’s education was accepted, we could have future women presidents, or future women company presidents.
    If these solutions are not taken into account, many children will not receive the education they all deserve. A lot of these children are probably smart individuals, but no one has given them the time of day to prove it. We could have geniuses living on the streets because they couldn’t afford education or hadn’t had access to the free public education. We need to have some sort of public education accessible to everyone in the world; every child deserves the right to a fair education.

    [1] http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2006/07/08/2003317857
    [2] http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Sep/14/ln/ln14a.html
    [3] http://www.unicef.org/mdg/education.html
    [4] http://www.businesstodayegypt.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=6825

    What Is Being Done Globally With Public Primary Education

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    Surprisingly, the United Nations has made primary education one of it’s top priorities along with gender segregation and AID relief. Ensuring that all boys and girls complete primary school by the year 2015 is one of their Millennium Development goals. As of yet, one in five school-age children in the world’s poorest countries don’t go to school. Many governments are trying to increase the amount of money in education and some are trying to reduce schools fees. Also, the United Nations is encouraging governments to build schools closer to housing. A problem with public spending on education is that funds aren’t distributed equally. The poorer percentage of the population often receives less that n 20% of the public spending on education while the richer percentage gets a large chunk of funds. Another part of the system that the United Nations is trying to advocate is that more funds should go to primary education because people from poorer countries benefit more from a basic education.
    A global campaign has started and all over the world, education is being promoted by over 5 million children. Leaders all around the world are beginning to respond to the many endorsements to education. In Côte d’ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Niger, leaders promised budget increases and in Pakistan, books and stipends are being provided to girl students to encourage gender equality. Leaders in Sudan, Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Burundi have also promised to get rid of school fees which will encourage more parents to send their students to school. These promises are a small step toward education for all young children. If these leaders follow through with their promises, our world will be much closer to the goal of education for all. A key part to education is the teachers. In order to reach this goal, 15 million more teachers will be needed. In February of 2006, a campaign titled “Every Child Needs a Teacher” was started by the Global Education for All. Through many classrooms, students were encouraged to appreciate their teachers more and ads were spread across globe to raise awareness. And then, in March of 2006, the Global Education for All members wrote an extensive report campaigning for the need to hire and pay more teachers. These campaigns provide more insight into the problems with education.


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    1 http://www.cisco.com/global/ZA/pub_sector/local_central_gov/cisco_initiatives/index.shtml
    2 http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/wef_2000/regional_frameworks/frame_europe_north_america.shtml

    What Should Be Done Globally With Public Primary Education

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    It’s difficult to say what should be done globally for primary public education. There are 193 countries in the world and every single one of these countries has a different public education system. In European countries like France and Germany, the federal government regulates the public school system with aid from local governments as well. With enough power and clout, investing more government funds into primary education is beneficial not only to the society but also to the economy. Economically, this is the most practical choice. Primary education encourages numbers and literacy, thus building to the growth of the economy. The World Bank Operations Evaluation Department evaluated the productivity of spending government funds on primary education. They found that by spending more money on the growth of humans, the economy also received a boost from a more productive labor force. By investing more funds into primary education, children will attend secondary education with a stronger foundation. Not only would the children be more educated as an individual but as a whole, the labor force would be more productive. A country with a more educated population is also known to have less poverty. If the economy is successful, more jobs will be available.
    However, with third world countries like those in Africa or the Middle East, primary education is not the key issue at hand. These children aren’t lacking just a quality learning experience. Numbers and letters are the last concepts on their mind. Many are lacking nutrition or mothers who’ve suffered from AIDS. However, with the right amount of motivation, power and money, primary education might alleviate some of the problems. It’s not the solution to warring tribes and a raging disease, but education could prevent some of the problems. The majority of government funds is spent on the treatment of AIDS. However, if more of this money could go to keeping children in schools, the next generation could emerge more intelligent and aware of the problems in society. Also, starting children in school at a younger age gives them more incentive to stay in school. Money can also be allotted to educating children about the dangers of AIDS and understanding the importance of prevention. Another way to make school more accessible for children with less money is by eliminating school fees. Many schools require children to purchase books and uniforms and this a deterrence for many parents who can barely afford three meals a day for their family. If these school fees were covered by the government, there would be less reasons for parents to decide to not send their children to school.

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    1 http://www.worldbank.org/oed/education/documents/education_primary_rationale_paper.pdf
    2 http://www.cisco.com/global/ZA/pub_sector/local_central_gov/cisco_initiatives/index.shtml

    Global Problems with Public Primary Education

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    One of the most important issues of our world today is the education of our children. Children are the foundation to the economy and society of every country on this planet and the first step to building their strong bodies and mind is primary education. Primary education is the education that a child receives before the age of 12. In many countries like the United States and Canada, the funding for primary education is a key factor in the federal budget. With programs like No Child Left Behind, more emphasis is placed on the quality of education for younger children and it also provides a way for children without access to quality education to experience the education they need despite their standard of living. However, in other parts of the world, children have more difficulty obtaining a quality primary education and thus, have a harder time later on in life. Young children in these parts of the world are often faced with problems like poverty and AIDS and without education, they have no chance to escape this dismal lifestyle.
    Unlike children in the United States or even Canada, children in parts of the world like East Europe and Asia are often forced to live in destructive and damaging situations. Many of these children are expected to stay home and work because their parents and older siblings have become victims to AIDS and HIV. With education, these children will earn a better chance at succeeding in the world and will gain an opportunity to grow and flourish. Not only does education improve the individual’s life, but it also stems the growth of the economy. Countries have the possibility of raising per capita growth by 0.3% by simply attaining parity with enrollment. The government should have the responsibility to provide primary education for children who don’t have the means to a private education. In European countries, the school structure is set up differently. In France, it’s mandatory to send a child to primary school as soon as he reaches the age of 6. Often, parents send their children to school as soon as they’re three. Denmark has a school structure where pre-school education has a separate level and is included in the public school system. Contrasting with Denmark is Germany who has a government that doesn’t include kindergarten and has even banned pre-schools. Government makes all the decisions regarding public schools and the few kindergartens that actually exist are controlled by the local authorities.
    There are a few reasons why obtaining a quality primary public education is more difficult in other parts of the world like Africa and East Asia. One of these reasons is the shortage of professionally trained and inspired teachers who are willing to put in the maximum amount of effort into the education of young children. Without teachers, young children find it impossible to learn because there is no mediator to explain and funnel the information. In many countries, teachers are often overlooked and overworked. With the low prices that countries are willing to pay teachers, it’s no surprise that many graduate students are choosing other areas to study. For example, in Zambia, teachers receive the same amount of pay in 2006 as they did in 1975. Leaders overlook the need for new teachers and instead spend money on other departments. Although there are 100 million children worldwide that aren’t educated, money is still being spent in other areas. Last year, 95% of the aid increases were sent to Iraq debt relief and not spent on public education.
    Not only are teachers overworked and underpaid but the spread of AIDS and HIV makes it hard to keep communities from falling apart. In many situations, teachers either fall victim to AIDS/HIV or have a family member who contracts the disease. This requires them to stay home and take care of their relatives while schoolhouses of children are left unattended. In 2004, a survey conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council showed that in South Africa alone, 4,000 educators died of HIV/AIDS and 80 percent of those were under 45 years of age. This only takes into account one country and there are still hundreds of countries out there where AIDS is ravaging villages and communities.
    Tribal wars also conflict with the education of young children. This makes the disputes of high seated officials another reason why public primary education remains a low priority. Unlike some countries that have a more stable and reliable government, countries like the Sudan and Angola are constantly in tribal wars over land and power. These two countries are among many other countries that have been in tribal war for more than 50 years. Although it is understandable that these governments will not jump to improve primary public education first because they have far greater things to debate, it’s important to realize that overlooking the education of our children will only lead their ignorance. They will grow up just like their parents and these tribal wars will never end.

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    Some of the effects of not educating these young children who are stuck in a miserable living situation are very apparent. It becomes clear that without education, children will not be able to find a job or a purpose in life. They’ll lack the necessary skills and social abilities that other children from different parts of the world will already possess. However, there are also underlying issues that the public primary education of Africa and East Asia fail to address as well. This issue is the problem of gender segregation. It’s true that many of these countries lack a public primary education altogether but the countries that do have a system often fail to recognize that education is necessary for both genders. There are 115 million children around the age of 5 that aren’t in school. 3/5 of them are girls. 2/3 of the illiterate population is females and females hold only 15% of the parliament seats and 6% of the Cabinet seats. In many countries, girls are neglected and abandoned. According to statistics, girls score better than boys are aptitude tests and according to UNESCO Institute for Statistics who ran a survey that included 39 countries, girls were less likely to repeat primary schooling than boys. This brings to the surface another underlying issue with primary public education. In 35 countries, more than 10% of students are repeating a grade which only leads to more students with the same amount of teachers.
    Economically, most of the government money belonging to countries in Africa and East Asia are spent on the selfish needs of those in power. It’s rare that government money is set aside for primary education and the small amount that is, doesn’t have the weight needed to make much of an impact. The depleted primary public education system has a greater impact on children who live in war-torn countries and countries with government who don’t have the resources and money to spend on education. Also, the effects of not being educated leads to even more HIV/AIDS victims every year which effects everyone in the community even those who don’t have it. Another group that is often overlooked is the group of young girls who are pushed aside for the better education of their male counterparts. Although many countries are taking a new interest in gender equality, it’s still necessary for all countries to realize the potential that both boys and girls have. Primary public education is the best way to a more educated and influential next generation.

    1 http://www.campaignforeducation.org/resources/Mar2006/GCE%20TEACHER%20CAMPAIN.pdf
    2 http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/31/b9/d7.pdf
    3 http://www.campaignforeducation.org/resources/resources_listall.php
    4 http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2005-04/2005-04-01-voa34.cfm?CFID=21422335&CFTOKEN=66216023
    5 http://www.irinnews.org/webspecials/SudanDarfur/Ftr-Chad.asp
    6 http://cyberschoolbus.un.org/mdgs/
    7 http://www.uis.unesco.org/ev.php?ID=5370_201&ID2=DO_TOPIC


    Globally, What is the Financial Side of Elderly Care?

    1. “The History of the Financial Side of Elderly Care” (Andrea Lum)

    Although elderly care has always been a constant need in communities worldwide, only in the recent years has it really become an issue. On the financial side, many cultures find the need to increase financial support for elderly care, since there are more and more seniors needing elderly care. One reason for this is the baby boom that happened not only in the U.S., but also in other countries worldwide after wars such as World War II. Another problem in elderly care that has been increasing throughout the year is the limited resources available for the elderly, such as nurses, facilities, and medical support. Across the globe, many cultures worry about the increasing senior populations within their countries.
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    The growing population of elderly people is not only an issue in the United States, but is also an issue globally. For example, the “2002 UN Population Divisions Report” predicted that, “By 2050, the number of older persons (60 years or older) in the world will exceed the number of young for the first time in history. Globally, the population of older persons is growing by two percent each year, considerably faster than the population as a whole.” (1) Therefore, many countries across the world are concentrating more and more on the issue of elderly care. The new growing population differs vastly from decades ago, when the elderly population was not in such high concentration. Many historians believe that the reasoning behind why there is currently so much more elderly people is due to the baby booms following World War II. In the 1950s, many countries found prosperity after the war, such as Western European countries and the U.S. Therefore, the “baby boom” occurred. Contrary to popular belief, the baby boom did not occur just in the United States. Across the globe, more and more young families found needs to produce more children. Therefore, the youth population greatly prospered during the 1950s and 60s. These “baby boomers” are now the current elderly population. As more and more baby boomers reach the age where they need elderly care, more and more facilities find themselves limited in their ways of helping them. In addition to this, “The size of the world's elderly population is growing at a rapid rate, with the 60 and older population of Europe and North America outpacing total population growth in recent decades.” (2) This contrasts to the life expectancies in 1900, which was about 49-50 then. (3) The longer life expectancies not only cause more elderly people to live longer, but also, cause for more nurses and employees to work more to take care of these people. This, in turn, also impacts both the elderly and their families. “Business Week Online” states that, “The rollback of pension promises is just one symptom of one of the greatest sociological shifts in history: The graying of the baby-boom generation. … Some economists fear this will lead to bankrupt pensions and lower living standards.” (4) Therefore, concern on the issue of the rising baby-boom population is growing not only due to lack of care options, but also on how it will impact the current generation when they get older and need care in the future.

    This picture demonstrates Confucius' ideal of Filial Piety in China



    Over the years, elderly care options have changed greatly. In the past, most elderly people who required care were cared for by their families. Many cultures, such as Asian cultures and South American ones, kept it in their tradition to take care of elderly in their own homes. For example, in the Chinese culture, many families would live in three or more generation homes, having the grandparents, parents, and children live together under one roof. It was a tradition in the culture to take care of the elderly; Confucius ideals of filial piety were also very popular at the time. If the elder didn’t have any family, other families would often take the elder in and take care of him or her. Similar traditions and cultural expectations were found in neighboring Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. However, the situation differed in America. Until the mid-1950s, if an elderly person didn’t have family to take care of them, they would have no other option but to go to what was called a “poorhouse” or “almshouse”, a charity-run nursing home. Therefore, in the past, elderly care varied across the globe. However, it is clear that due to shorter life expectancies and a much smaller population of old people, the issue of care, financial or not, was not as big a deal as it is now.



    Sources:
    1. http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=165&story_id=10454
    2.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=14986512&dopt=Abstract
    3. http://www.capecodonline.com/special/ageofdecisions/day3side2.htm
    4. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_05/b3918011.htm
    n
    5. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/ageing/ageing2006.htm
    6. http://www.aarp.org/

    P.S. For an interesting fact sheet on the elderly population of the world both now and projected to be in 2050, check out this document:Download file(5)

    2. “The Current Situation of the Financial Side of Elderly Care” (Liana Kobayashi)
    In 2000, there were 600 million people aged 60 and over worldwide, a number which is expected to become 1.2 billion by 2025 and 2 billion by 2050 (1). By 2025, a projected 72% of the elderly population (age 60 and over), or around 864 million people, will be living in developing countries (2). Developing nations will therefore be disproportionately affected by the increasing amount of elderly people, and they are arguably the least able to deal with this problem. Nations in different states of development face similar problems with the worldwide “graying” of the population, but there is an invisible dividing line between the problems experienced by the developing nations versus those experienced by already developed nations with a few commonalities.


    The general aging of the population is due mainly to an increase in life expectancy and a decrease in fertility. In developed centuries, the largest gain ever in life expectancy at birth occurred during the 20th century with around a 71% increase for females and a 66% increase for males, which brought up the life expectancy at birth to between 76 and 80 years (2). Although the numbers range widely for developing countries, there has been an overall increase in life expectancy. Between 2000 and 2030, the number of people aged 65 or older in developing countries is expected to almost ripple, from approximately 249 million in 2000 to a predicted 690 million in 2030; developing countries’ share of the world’s population over 65 years is expected to increase from 59% to 71% (1). While this is a mark of success for health care and public health programs, it also carries the hidden costs of increased care for the aging. Chronic diseases, illnesses, injuries, and disabilities brought on by the aging process have become more prevalent in our society, driving up the costs of long-term care. Because the elderly are more susceptible to illness than the average middle-aged person, concerns about general sanitation and disease control in developing nations such as Africa, where such problems are already major affairs, is even greater. Therefore, developing countries will have to shift the focus of their health care programs in order to keep up with the potentially critical problem of a large proportion of elderly people.

    In developed nations such as the United States, our concern mainly involves such tax-payer-funded pension or support systems as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. With the growing medical costs and ever-increasing cost of living, tax payers or people in the workforce must contribute to government programs in order to help support the elderly. Yes, Social Security is adjusted for the cost of living, but many elderly people rely on their savings because Social Security isn’t enough to live off of, and of course one’s savings are influenced by inflation; thus, we must make up the difference. On a fixed income, elderly people find it hard to pay for their medical expenses, which typically are higher than those incurred when they are actually in the workforce, yet programs such as Medicare and Medicaid often have stringent requirements and require one to impoverish oneself in order to qualify for benefits. With between 12 – 20% of our population being over age 65, we are less able as a working, income-earning body, to pay for programs with such a large recipient pool. This isn’t even considering countries such as Japan and China: in Shanghai, for example, 20 % of the city is over 60 already, and an estimated 100,000 people are expected to become “senior citizens” over the next four years, a number which increases to 170,000 or more per year after 2010 (3). This is a huge problem for China and can cause crucial manpower shortages, especially because of the government’s intervention in population control (allowing families to only have one child): because of this law, the aging members of the community have less family to support them. Asian societies as a whole are strongly against simply dumping their aging family members in care homes because of the large role filial piety plays in their values, and therefore they must take on the role of caring for their parents, often sacrificing career opportunities to do so.
    However, the exact opposite reaction can take place; often, elderly family members get left behind and forced to care for themselves as younger, ambitious individuals leave for better job offers. In an increasingly global world, relocation is common, whether it be within a country’s boundaries or not. On the other hand, leaving behind elderly family members and shirking the responsibilities of care often causes these citizens to become dependent on the government as they have no other means to support themselves, thus once again leaving us with the cost burden. This is a problem in both developing and developed nations, though not so much in developed nations, as people often leave developing nations in order to obtain a better lifestyle for themselves and their family (for example, the illegal immigrants constantly flooding America) or people within developed nations (such as China) move from the countryside to the city.

    Another worldwide trend is that women generally have a longer lifespan; for every 100 women over 60, there are approximately 81 men; at age 80, this ratio decreases to only 53 men per 100 women (2). This means women are the most affected by the high costs of elderly care. Older women tend to have poorer access to assets such as land, capital, credit, and technology services, they have less savings, are less likely to be in the labor force and, when they were in the work force, they were probably earning less money, and in many societies, women face cultural constraints that do not allow them to do certain things and which thus causes them to have a lower standard of living (2).

    Sources:
    1. www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5206a2.htm
    2. www.un.org/esa/socdev/ageing/worldbank200106.htm
    3. French, Howard W. “Economic crisis looms in graying China”. 9 July 2006: A5.

    3. “What Should Be Done About the Financial Side of Elderly Care?” (Arielle Kramer)

    According to the US Census bureau, every month the world's population of persons age 65 and older grows by 800,000 individuals. Aging populations generally occur when the birth rate decreases and the death rate does also: old people live longer with less and less young people to support them into retirement. This seems to be the case throughout the world, a major demographic shift among the entire population. (1) If it’s not taken care of there will be huge consequences for everyone, so what should be done about it?


    http://www.aoa.gov/press/fact/alpha/fact_global_aging.asp
    One of the biggest problems we face concerning global aging is helping to support retired citizens. Most modern countries have a retirement age after which many seniors choose to stop working and receive some sort of pension from their company and/or the government. Some older people look forward to the day when they no longer have to work, and some employers force their older employees into retirement to save money, but the truth is that people are living longer. To help deal with the massive economic strain that will occur, seniors should increase the amount of work they do in their lifetime as their life span increases. This would help the problem on several different levels. First of all, it would most likely improve the quality of life for the elderly. By continuing to work they are not only continuing to make a steady pay with which they can support themselves, but they are also helping to preserve themselves both physically and mentally. This maintained healthy status of being could minimize their health costs. By keeping the elderly in the workforce longer they could support themselves for a longer period of time and decrease the amount of government help they would need, and they would be contributing to society in a positive way not only for easing the financial side of the aging problem, but for continuing to work and produce for their place of employment.
    Another solution that should be considered is for elders to rely more on their own personal savings for their retired life than pensions, since pensions and benefits will be much more limited (or young workers will have to pay more, either in taxes or benefits) because of the tremendous increase in demand. Ideally, it would be great for the seniors today to be able to use their own savings instead of relying on outside support. However, awareness of the changing demographic was not that prevalent until recently, so it is unlikely that a substantial number of people would have planned well enough to have enough savings to live for the rest of their already prolonged life. So realistically, it would be great if today’s workers and future generations plan ahead so that they can support themselves when they are old.
    Globalization is also a way to help ease the financial burden of global aging. Because this problem will affect virtually everyone, people around the world are going to be (and already are) coming up with innovative solutions. If we were to globalize, there would be a great sharing of new knowledge and ideas on how to deal with the problem, and there would be a wider pool of young people who could support the elders. (2) For example, in Japan, in addition to reforming their pension system and gradually increasing the minimum retirement age from 60 to 65, they are getting creative and developing new ways for elders to maintain their independence and self-sustainability. In an effort to preserve individual’s mental and physical function, the Japanese are providing more programs for seniors to go on outings and stay involved in society. They are also helping them to live independently, with the support of their family but without being a burden. An example of this is a newly developed gas range that sends a message to the children of the elders when it is used, so that the kids can monitor and look after their parents without living with them. If we were to globalize, great ideas like these would be easily shared among everyone and would greatly improve the conditions of the growing and aging senior population. (3)
    All of these solutions proposed would be a great help if actually enacted. However, there are always other issues involved when deciding what to do and how to divide the yearly budget, just as it is difficult to make decisions with all the countries in the world, so it is likely that these types of suggestions will be hard realize. And even though it will be a challenging problem, it is essential that we take it seriously and begin to work on it now, before it is too late and the problem gets worse.

    sources
    (1) http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa121701a.htm
    (2) www.whcoa.gov/about/policy/meetings/Jackson.ppt
    (3) http://www.aarp.org/research/international/events/jun13_06_murata.html


    4. “What Could Be Done About This Issue?” (Liana Kobayashi)
    There is really nothing that can be done about the increasing “graying” of the world’s population as time goes on (short of, of course, eliminating the elderly people); however, several things can be done to lessen the financial burden or costs incurred by this segment of the population. Overall, it is a good thing that life expectancy is increasing because it says a lot about the advances in technology and health care. Realistically speaking, education is crucial: informing people how to take care of themselves and save money along the way will ensure that less people will be dependent on programs such as Social Security. Already, the UN has had conferences on aging (such as the Madrid conference on aging), which is an important step in worldwide acknowledgement of the problem. Education and increased awareness will hopefully lead to action and is not too difficult to accomplish. It is not only a matter of educating people on how to save money but also how to take care of themselves and live healthy lifestyles. By promoting certain jobs, the government can attract more people to fields such as nursing home care, physical therapy, and other elder care-related jobs; perhaps an increase in pay for such jobs would attract more people and promote better care. Furthermore, the government can make health care more accessible and affordable for the elderly, especially because they make up a large and continuously growing segment of our population. In developing countries, more accessible health care will lessen the spread of disease and especially impact the elderly, who have less immunity and thus are more susceptible to spreading illness. Women, also, should be given more rights and equal pay for equal jobs around the world because scientifically, they live longer but are less able to support themselves in several cultures.


    Finally, elderly people can be productive members of society, and by working longer and retiring later, they will be able to earn an income longer and support themselves better. It is not really fair because people of our generation will probably end up having to remain in the work force longer than our grandparents did or our parents will, but at the same time, one could say it about evens out because we supposedly have it easier than they did due to technology.

    Global Public Primary Education: What Should be Done?

    There are many problems regarding public primary education in the world today. These problems consist of, but are not limited to: low enrollment, shortage of teachers and bad curriculums. By alleviating these problems, the issue of public education can become less of a problem.

    Enrollment in school has steadily gone up, but there are still too many kids that are not in school. For example, the enrollment rate in South Asia in 1990 was 66%.¹ That's right a 66% enrollment rate, meaning that more than one-third of the kids in South Asia were not in school. That number rose to 73% in 1998, but that number is still too small. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is even worse. In 1990, the enrollment rate was 54% and it only got slightly better in 1998 rising to 60%.%sup1; The only countries with satisfactory enrollment rates are in "high income countries" (such as the US) and East Asia.¹ In both of these areas, the enrollment rate was around 97% for 1998. ¹ However, in 1998, there were a staggering 113 million children not in school. ¹ It's not hard to see that enrollment is higher in countries with more money. Higher-income countries have more money to put into the education system, thereby enhancing education itself. For example, in India, there are 395 million kids and only 62% of them reach grade five in education.² Why is that? It's because India has so little money. What money it does have must be concetrated toward just keeping the people healthy. In addition, higher-income countries have people with higher income. In other words, higher-income countries have richer people. Rich people can afford to pay the expenses of school better than poor people. So the first thing that should be done is a reduction in how much families must pay to send their children to school. It may seem like a small expense to only have to pay for backpacks, binders, notebooks and pencils (considering that public schools have no tuition), but for those with little money, that can add up quickly. However, in order for this happen, low-income countries must be given money. If it were up to me, I'd have rich countries (like the US) donate money to countries in need for the sake of education. By putting more money into the government and reducing the amount that families must pay, enrollment will go up. As a matter of fact, Malawi tried this in 1994 and enrollment rate went up by 50%.¹ It's been said a thousand times, but getting kids into school keeps them out of trouble.

    A shortage of teachers has also been a major problem in primary education for a long time. According to the Taipei Times, 15 million teachers are needed throughout the world.³ Without competent teachers, then an education is useless. It's not hard to see, however, why there is a shortage of teachers. First of all, wages are not that great. For example, the average teacher salary in 2004 was $31,704.[4] This is hardly enough to live off of. So the first thing that should be done is an increase in salary. Without that increase, college graduates will not see any point in becoming a teacher. People want to get jobs that will give them the most benefit and money. If the government were willing to put about $80,000-$90,000 into teachers' salaries, I think that the amount of teachers will definitely increase. Again, if it were up to me, I would force the government to put a lot more money into teacher salaries. I would make starting wages around $80,000 and high-end salaries around $130,000 (depending on the type of education that the teacher got). That way, not only could teachers live more comfortably, but it would also motivate them to try just as hard in college as business or medical students. Teachers are a necessary part of education and it is important to keep them happy.

    Much of the school curriculums are not geared toward keeping the kids happy. In order to motivate kids to go to school, the kids must want to go to school. Many middle school programs do not keep the students interested. It has been stated that "traditional vocational education has frequently been criticized as lacking sufficient academic content and failing to prepare students with well- defined marketable skills" [5] This basically means that schools have not been teaching the correct material. Students are more motivated to work hard if they see that the classroom activities have a use in the adult life.[5] For example, I never really saw a point in learning art, which is why I never really tried when I took Foundation Art. However, I not only enjoyed Chemistry, but also saw how important it is in real life, which is why I studied so hard. It's either teach useful material or try to make the work as fun as possible. Some teachers are good at making work fun, but most have no clue on how to enhance a learning experience. I would try to make every school's curriculum more like Punahou's in that almost everything you take is going to be useful in some way.

    ¹http://www.paris21.org/betterworld/education.htm
    ²http://www.usd.edu/ttd/multicultural/resources/india.htm
    ³http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2006/07/08/2003317857
    [4]http://www.aft.org/research/
    [5]http://www.ed.gov/pubs/EdReformStudies/EdReforms/chap8d.html

    July 11, 2006

    International Public Housing

    The History of International Public Housing
    By Madison Williams

    Public Housing in the United States keeps millions of families on welfare off of the streets every day, with the government providing subsidized housing for them. However, in today’s society, we think mainly of our own country, but what about the underprivileged countries with even more struggling citizens?
    Public housing first started in 1854 in New York. An organization called the New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor thought of an idea to build what would be public housing in the city. However, the housing was built in the slums of the city, hence, the complex did not last very long and the dream was crushed.¹ However, in the 1920’s, Germany dreamt up that same idea Americans had years before, and had succeeded by building homes and apartments in suburban areas as part of a master plan, which later enveloped other political considerations for a utopian nation . Other governments of countries around the world including Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Sweden had copied the idea of building homes for the unfortunate families of their countries to decrease the rapid rate of the homeless populations. Today, in France, surprisingly enough, roughly a quarter of the population lives in public housing due in part to a large number of immigrants residing in that country. Evidence of this was illustrated last summer by the riots in Paris and in other major cities in France by discontented, unemployed Muslims. Also, due to the hard times in Israel, in 2005, the government decided to build homes for those harshly affected by the situations that have risen there. Israel is not a typical case for public housing since the government sponsored and built public housing for settlement of their citizens in contested areas.²
    However, the question is why is it that people from all over the word, for decades now, need public housing? Why can they not afford homes? Is it the high prices of the markets in certain areas of certain countries? Not necessarily. The public housing caters exclusively to the poor and the poor are generally less educated. The underprivileged generally have more children, and those children, in turn, have more children of their own. Thereby, causing the lower income class to keep growing larger at a disproportional rate than the upper income classes. This results in a greater and expanding demand for public housing.
    In today’s society, we raise our children similarly to how we were brought up. This may explain why children of large, poor, dysfunctional families tend, in turn to repeat the cycle. Not everyone in the world is fortunate enough to get a proper education or get a well paying job to support not only their lifestyle but their entire families. Which explains why some people turn to their governments and rely on them to provide subsistence assistance to include, among other things, public housing.³

    ¹http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/159956_focus15.html?searchpagefrom=1&searchdiff=3
    ²http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_housing
    ³http://www.sdhc.net/hacoabouthousing1.shtml


    The Current Situation of International Public Housing
    By Krysti Sukita

    The current situation of international public housing varies from one country to another. For the most part, countries that are financially stable have a greater capability to provide some sort of public housing system. Third world countries and some other countries aren’t able to provide public housing due to the traditional market scene, low funds, or highly dissolved government. What seems to be the case in the majority countries all over the world, including the U.S. is that there are not enough public housing options for everyone. There is always a need for assisted living options, be that it be provided by governments or private organizations.

    In Australia, the public housing situation is very grim for those of low income. New South Wales is Australia’s most popular state and is also one of the states that has the most public housing developments. The residents of the public housing in and around Sydney are currently facing the demolition of their homes by the government. ¹The government is planning on demolishing 800 public housing homes which will affect approximately 4,000 residents. The government plans on constructing what they call “better” public housing options, as well as housing to be privately sold. The residents are outraged because of the cost increase in payments that they will have to make for their new public housing houses. The residents of the public housing dwellings are outraged by the fact that the government only gave a minimal notice time, for some only two days notice before they were forced to move out of their homes. Many of the residents have lived in their homes for over twenty years. Once forced out of their current homes, many of the people said that the locations in which the government put them in were even older and more dilapidated than their original homes. The Minto estate is one of several public housing estates that are located on Sydney’s western and south-western borders and are far removed from the wealthy and ocean-side neighborhoods. The residents of Minto are angered by the current state of their dilapidated houses and blame the government for not keeping up with the repairs for their houses. 90% of the people who live in Australian public housing are dependent upon the government for benefits and the majority of people who live in the public housing are from very low income families.

    mint-a22.jpg
    A picture of a demolished public housing residence in Minto, Sydney, Australia.
    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/aug2005/mint-a22.jpg

    In Hong Kong, public housing has been successfully providing low income people with affordable housing options since the 1950’s. In 1953 on Christmas day in Shek Kip Mei, a huge fire destroyed the area. Shek Kip Mei was a poverty stricken neighborhood in which many low income families lived. ²The fire lasted for six hours and the damage caused resulted in the homelessness of 53,000 people. Before this time period, Hong Kong didn’t really have an established public housing system. The great devastation of the fire prompted the government to create some sort of public housing. Today, the government has created many new complexes for public housing in Hong Kong in their efforts to reduce overcrowding. The government has worked hard to gain insight from the residents about living conditions and how they can be improved. The residents and government officials meet together to discuss what can further be done to improve the management, maintenance and condition of the estates to meet every aspect of their lives.

    000034[1].jpg
    A picture of some of the currently developing public housing apartments in Hong Kong.
    http://www.housingauthority.gov.hk/en/aboutus/events/50yrsexhibition/highlights.html

    In Germany, the public housing situation is currently in turmoil due to the purchasing of public housing projects by overseas firms. The low interest rates in Germany are currently attracting many international firms from America and other countries. These firms are investing in the German property market that have been stagnating for several years. Investors have already purchased dozens of projects quality kept public housing apartments in many different German cities. In the past several years, international firms, the majority from the U.S. and England, have purchased nearly $25 billion in apartments owned by German cities. The many residents of these German public housing projects are angered by the sale of the public housing apartments by the government to the foreign investors. They question how these investors will be able to raise profits without increasing rent rates. Many fear that they will be thrown into the streets because they will not be able to meet the increase in rent. In Dresden, Germany, 45,000 public housing residents have signed a petition against the sale of their apartments to the investors.

    0,1020,468399,00.jpg
    A picture of one of the public housing apartments that might be up for sale to foreign buyers.
    http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,468399,00.jpg

    Public housing is not only created and funded by national governments. There are many organizations that help to support the low income families and provide them with some sort of housing all over the world. &sup4Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit Christian affiliated organization that was formed in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. The couple had just retired from their successful business and were looking for a way to give back to the less fortunate. The Fullers got the idea for Habitat for Humanity from visiting Koinonia Farms in 1965. Koinonia Farms was a place where the concept of partnership housing came to be realized. Partnership housing is the concept of people in need for some sort of housing working side by side with volunteers to build houses. The houses that were built at Koinonia Farms were to be non-profit with no interest charged to its inhabitants. The houses would be financed by the Fund for Humanity, which got its funds from the new home owners’ house payments, donations and money from fund-raising. All of this money that was put into the Fund for Humanity would be used to build other houses. The Fullers moved to Mbandaka, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in order to apply what they learned in Koinonia Farms, the concept of partnership housing. Their original goal was to provide affordable and adequate shelter to 2,000 people, and after three years of hard work, they returned to the United States after the successful launch of their house building program. Currently, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 200,000 houses and sheltered more than 1,000,000 people in places all over the world, including all fifty states.

    List of countries in which Habitat for Humanity has operated in:

    Central African Republic, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Afhganistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Fiji, Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Armenia, Bulgaria Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Antiqua & Barbuda, Argentina, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela, Canada

    ¹http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/aug2005/mint-a22.shtml#top
    ²http://www.housingauthority.gov.hk/en/aboutus/events/50yrsexhibition/highlights.html
    ³http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/05/03/business/dresden.php
    &sup4http://www.habitat.org/
    http://www.ncwcnbes.net/htmdocument/reportanolook/repanolook_e.htm


    What should be done for international public housing?
    By Christina Wong

    On a global level, public housing is a serious problem. The United States may have the money, space, and compassion necessary to house most of its needy citizens, but other countries don’t have the kind of funding that we take for granted in America. Additionally, public housing programs around the globe are run differently; directors use their meager amounts of money for specific purposes that cater to the needs of their citizens. For example, in England during the 1980s-1990s, the government pushed tenants to purchase the public housing that they were living in.¹ In America, however, this would not be possible nor would the U. S. government want to encourage it.
    Despite varied approaches to public housing around the world, most housing programs share some common problems. One issue is a lack of low-priced housing and not enough government-run public housing to pick up the slack, which leads to homelessness in many areas. This is a major issue in Cairo, Egypt – an astounding 16 million people reside in the city, and there is not enough land to house all of them. Egypt’s government has not responded fast enough to the demand, so now one-fourth of Cairo residents now reside in haphazardly-built dwellings built of of brick and concrete. These buildings are anywhere from one to five stories, and they are dubbed Egypt’s “shantytowns” for obvious reasons – sometimes, this housing is not even equipped with utilities like electricity and water.² This problem is not unusual; many cities in which low-income residents are prevalent have a low supply of both land and affordable housing.
    egypt housing.jpg
    The infamous shantytowns of Egypt, caused by a lack of accessible public housing, are generally found in the area around Cairo. These shacks are located in Memphis, which is a town twenty miles south of Cairo located on the West Bank of the Nile River.
    http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/pollock/263/egypt/P4020014.jpg

    If all resources were available, nations that face this hurdle should consider demolishing current structures that are abandoned or in such a terrible state that renovation is not an option. This would make better use of the little available land that there is, and as an added pro would improve on the cleanliness and presentation of the area. In Egypt, alternative structures are being built in opposition to public housing – it takes away the hassle of applying for housing and then having to live under government rules, and besides, government-run housing is scarce to begin with. These “informal houses” crowd the city and make it more of an eyesore.² However, the Egyptian government should purchase the small plots of land that the informal houses are located on and instead, build space-efficient public housing. The same goes for other countries; if money was available, in addition to building more public housing on new plots of land, government should make use of every square foot of land by constructing public housing in the place of what once was an old store or another now-useless structure. Efficiency is key in this solution – since land is at a shortage (much like it is in Hawaii, in fact), the country must look for building spaces in unexpected locations and tear down houses that are not well-used. \

    bist045d.jpg
    This public housing apartment complex in Paris, France, is extremely susceptible to fire with its overcrowded units.
    http://www.metropoleparis.com/2005/1045/bist045d.jpg


    However, even if a country does have an adequate supply of public housing, many times the housing is located in an undesirable area or has been left to fester in its lack of good management. Therefore, citizens do not want to pay money for a run-down, tiny apartment in a poverty-stricken location – they’d rather live out of their cars or take to the streets. In August 2006, a fire swept through a public housing unit in Paris, France, killing fourteen children and three adults. Consequently, the surviving victims took shelter in a gymnasium and refused to move out until they had offers of reasonable housing.³ Public housing has become greatly frowned down upon because of its apartments’ sorry conditions. The obvious solution? Launch a massive renovation project of all existing substandard public housing, making it more attractive to prospective tenants and encouraging the homeless to apply for desirable apartments. Nations suffering from a lack of ill-managed housing should fire management and appoint new directors. Homeless families would certainly get off the streets if it meant they could walk into a nicely decorated housing unit! Government programs should think of what would attract any type of citizen – poor or rich – to a certain dwelling, and then build off of that. As of now, most public housing is very basic and is constructed out of cheap materials to keep the cost of building down. However, if a nation spent a little more money on sprucing up low-income housing and therefore making it more desirable for people to live in, the major problem of homelessness would start to clear up.
    In many countries, the troubles affecting public housing cause a great number of homeless people. In order to alleviate this problem, government housing programs should make an effort to efficiently build new apartments in the place of old ones, or renovate old units so that they are more attractive than they have been in the past. Perhaps launching a massive campaign promoting public housing should even be considered!

    ¹http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-225313?tocId=225313
    ²http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/199602/cairo-inside.the.megacity.htm
    ³http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=25&story_id=23151


    Realistically, what can be done about international public housing?
    By Christina Wong

    The poor state of public housing complexes around the world has a lot to do with bad management. Public housing has been neglected in far too many areas of the world, even though dismal conditions in government-run apartments are frequently ignored. In France, one-fourth of the population lives in public housing.¹ Yet, even with such a large volume of people living in low-income apartments, the French government didn’t address the problem of dilapidated accommodations until 2005, when a series of fires within several months killed 48 people. After this tragedy, housing minister Jean-Louis Borloo ordered tenants to evacuate the most run-down units and consequently had to find new housing for them. Along with France’s president, Jacques Chirac, Borloo also made plans for renovations and new public housing.²
    Jean-Louis Borloo pic.jpg
    France's housing minister, Jean-Louis Borloo.
    http://www.radiofrance.fr/chaines/france-inter01/img/invite/150032805.jpg

    France’s new public housing intentions are plans which can be implemented in other countries suffering from the universal problem of decrepit lodgings. However, funding was not a problem in France, whereas it is probably a huge issue elsewhere. Therefore, one must keep in mind this shortcoming when suggesting possible solutions.
    As mentioned in the previous section, one of the biggest problems in public housing, globally, is one of too few low-income complexes. Ideally, a country would probably want to implement a solution similar to that which was offered in that section. Realistically, though, no nation has those kinds of resources. An alternative to completely overhauling all of the existing public housing is to construct a better housing authority. A change in management can potentially lead to great success, even if public housing doesn’t make incredible leaps overnight. All of the housing authorities in a country should try to meet together at least once a year to make general decisions, and also to update each other on the state of public housing in different areas. This ushering-in of new ideas can even be spread to a global level; nations with successful public housing programs could share their strategies with struggling ones.
    india housing.jpg
    This public housing project in India exemplifies the complete lack of hope that a dilapidated complex possesses and eventually translates to its tenants.
    http://www.leeryanmiller.com/semester-at-sea/photos/india-public-housing2.jpg

    However, even though an exchange of ideas can get the wheels turning in one’s head, nothing says “we mean business” like actually taking steps towards improving public housing. If they are short on funds, a country could hire a private enterprise to build, manage, and upkeep housing for low-income families. In some cases, this can be cheaper and more time-efficient than the government actually doing all of the work by itself. Additionally, in order to improve the standard of living in public housing, government should work to create new mixed-income communities, so that one area is not completely shrouded in poverty. Many areas get stuck in a vicious cycle of neediness, and the sometimes the only way to banish problems that go hand-in-hand with the poor (such as drugs, alcoholism, teenage pregnancies, stealing, unstable home lives, low standards of education, etc.) is to build some public housing in middle-income neighborhoods. If this is not possible, another option could be the implementation of certain social programs like the United States’ HUD HOPE VI. HOPE VI made a major impact on the state of public housing in America; many units were renovated and communities were remodeled to be more family-friendly.³ More specifically, in the state of Hawaii, a national program called “Operation Weed & Seed” helped to keep certain infamously unsafe neighborhoods clean of drugs. Police cracked down on dealers in the area and banned them from entering again. “Weed & Seed” in Hawaii was extremely successful, and has made conditions in many communities safer.&sup4; Countries overseas could take a few tips from these programs because they’re proven to work.
    germany housing.jpg
    This public housing complex in Lichtenberg, Berlin, Germany was renovated after a wall broke down. Renovations on old or decrepit housing are needed in order to provide a safer community for low-income residents.
    http://www.learningsite.info/Lichtenberg-airc.jpg
    Considering all of the problems affecting public housing around the globe, it is obvious that the “powers at be” are not doing much to improve government-run low-income complexes. The above-mentioned French heads didn’t make any actions toward rebuilding run-down public housing until fires became prevalent in certain Paris housing sites. There were probably “more important” things to take care of – public housing is not usually very high on the government agenda; most nations are usually happy as long as there is an acceptable amount of housing available for poverty-stricken citizens because without adequate funding, they cannot improve the state of the housing anyway. These types of leaders may be exceptional overall, but sometimes, with so much on their plates, they tend to disregard issues that are not seriously urgent.
    In Egypt, its almost-communist history under the rule of Gamal Abdel Nasser from 1952 to 1970, led the Egyptian economy into a state of stagnancy that still exists today. Certain housing laws have caused a decrease in both the quantity and quality of homes in Egypt; these rules tend to favor tenants and therefore have discouraged real estate development. The current president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, has abolished some of the stricter laws, but problems from previous leadership still remain. During his term, Nasser took the reins of just about every successful public government program in a communist-like move. As a result of his power-hungry actions, the Egyptian economy has never fully recovered, terribly affecting the public housing situation in Egypt.&sup5; In this case, Nasser was not thinking about what was best for his country; he was only looking to further his own control. This type of leader is more prevalent in extremist or communist countries, where the struggle for power causes people of importance to implement policies which are detrimental to public housing.
    egypt tomb housing.jpg
    In the "City of the Dead" located in Cairo, 1 million Egyptians live among tombs and catacombs because of a lack of housing in the area.
    http://www.themedialine.org/news/print_news_detail.asp?NewsID=11215
    If good leaders are not chosen and actions are not taken, public housing will not improve – ignoring this oft-overlooked problem will just exacerbate the situation. Homelessness would increase drastically as a result of a lack of low-income housing, and existing public housing areas would continue to be bound by the cycle of poverty. The well-being of people living in dilapidated apartments would plummet. Crime would soar in government housing locales. Problems would simply get worse if the recommended steps are not taken to solve this crisis. In fact, the future of global public housing looks to be extremely bleak unless leaders around the world finally decide to tackle the challenge of providing better living conditions for the poor in their respective nations.

    ¹http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_housing
    ²http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1083008&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312
    ³http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/programs/ph/hope6/about/index.cfm
    &sup4;http://www.dkosopedia.com/wiki/Operation_Weed_and_Seed_Hawaii
    &sup5;http://www.policyreview.org/DEC02/mannes.html

    July 10, 2006

    National Energy

    National Energy Crisis
    1. The History of Energy Use in America:
    Kim Takata
    Imagine using a candle to lighten your work space or to lighten an entire city street. It’s hard to imagine a world with out electricity or any kind of current source of energy. America is one of the most modernized and industrialized nations in the world and relies so heavily on fossil fuels and power plants. However our nation was not always so advanced. Before the Industrial Revolution we were dependent on organic and natural sources of energy like the sun, the water, and the wind.
    Prior to the Industrial Revolution people were dependent on fire for heating water, cooking food, extracting metals, firing clay and making any changes to raw materials. They also used animals to help in transportation and to harvest the agriculture. As time went on they began to use the water and wind for transportation across the seas and for more advanced technology like the water powered mills. Fossil fuels and coal mining became popular during the Industrial Revolution as they were both major contributors to the building of the transcontinental railroad and smaller steam engines. As transportation across the nation became more frequent people were able to transport coal and fuel outside of their former localized sites.
    In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century electricity became a necessity in most American households, and oil and gas burning engines became popular. People enjoyed the new technologies because they did not require as much physical labor our reliance on natural substances. By the mid twentieth century the oil fields of the Middle East and North Africa were discovered and the United States as well as many other developing nations became totally dependent on their abundance. After World War II nuclear energy sources also became very popular and the research for alternative energy started. Up until this point people were using oil and fuel like water. No one cared or noticed the effects of burning fuels on the environment and sustainability didn’t seem like a practical problem.
    The late twentieth century, also known as the “post- industrial” era, turned its focus toward the future of energy use and it effects on the environment. The nations focus moved from manufacturing goods to providing services, communication techniques, and providing public information through increased research and technology. People became educated about conservation and the negative effects that were connected to the burning of fossil fuels and started to worry about the depletion of the ozone.
    Currently people are still worried about these negative effects and research for renewable and alternative energy sources continues.

    2. The Current Energy Situation:
    Kim Takata
    Over the past few decades the United States industrial growth has paralleled its use of large-scale fuels. Americans are well aware of the unhealthy fuel practices because they are either directly involved in the practices or are indirectly affected by them. Currently the environment is most affected by the use of fossil fuels and oils; however, America’s next long term problem is sustainability and social tensions. The energy problems of modern society affect everyone because we are all consumers of commercial goods which are dependent on energy sources and our lives and comfort may quickly be affected by a potential energy crisis if matters are not controlled soon.
    The environment is a very fragile because it requires very specific conditions to maintain the life that it supports. Global warming, acid rain, oil pollution and radioactive/ nuclear waste are the main environmental concerns of the twenty first century. Global warming refers to the gradual increase in the Earth’s surface temperature due to the increased concentration of “greenhouse” gases. The most significant and hazardous gas to our environment is the carbon dioxide that is released through the burning of fossil fuels. Global warming has the potential to affect all life on Earth, and the conditions that sustain a comfortable and cooperative living environment between the various living creatures.
    Acid rain is also an environmental problem that is a result of burning fossil fuels that release sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. When the gases mix with the water in our atmosphere they precipitate highly acidic forms of water, which can be extremely hazardous to the environment. Approximately 71% of sulfur dioxide pollution comes from power stations and 51% of nitrogen dioxide comes from road transport. The acid poses many threats to the environment and our agriculture. Acid rain also has the potential to deplete entire forests and to corrode metal objects.
    Although oil pollution has had great impacts on the seas it is not limited to the impact it has on marine creatures. At the mid- twentieth century when the oil industry became increasingly competitive suppliers were quick to find ways that would maximize their sales and efficiency. As oil was demanded and traded internationally the oil tankers quickly became the biggest commercial water vehicles. Americans are constantly made aware of the amount of pollution that fills its coast because headlines have consistently reported oil spills from tankers, rigs, and storage facilities. Marine life is killed, and societies dependence on seafood and transport is also hindered.
    After the introduction of nuclear weapons in World War II scientists and engineers have researched and tried to promote the “green” technology. They call it green because it doesn’t emit any carbon dioxide, but current problems have lead Americans to question what is more dangerous, carbon dioxide pollution or nuclear waste. One of the driving forces behind our industrial evolution is the development of new materials. However, technology has become far more advanced than can be controlled, especially in the case of nuclear and radioactive energy that is highly unpredictable. Many of the first generation reactors are ageing and have cracks which may release radioactive material or which may breakdown and force materials to react inappropriately.
    Sustainability has haunted America ever since its first fuel crisis in 1973, when we transitioned from being a huge oil exporter to an importer. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was able to exploit the oil industry when Texas oil rigs went dry, and the demand from both America and its recipients went up. Since the crisis government has had to consider fuel opportunities as a factor in its international relationships. Since 1992 no major reserves have been found, yet the world’s supply was only predicted to last it 65 years at the time. One of the major issues with sustainability is that all of the cheap, easily accessed, and most promising reservoirs have already been found and the skepticism of finding the next is a daunting burden.
    Some of the social problems which are linked to energy supply are the political and economic tensions between trading nations, the vulnerability that many refineries and power stations face due to centralization, and the development of nuclear weapons from power plants. Currently 60% of the world’s oil reserves are in the Middle East; 25% being in Saudi Arabia. Because most of the world’s large oil reserves are in third world countries, the big industrializing nations have become dependent on the smaller supplying ones. Because America is so dependent on the Middle East it must dominate and or control those nations politically, economically, and militarily, to prevent any exploitation our lack of future supply. The foreign nations have a great impact on many of America nations through fuel supplies and so it is therefore important for the government to have good relations with those countries.
    After the terrorist attacks on America in 2001 the government has focused on improving our national homeland security and must continue to ponder these threats as we continue to live through a nuclear age. The fear is that large oil refineries and power plants have the potential to be vulnerable targets because there demolition would have such a major impact on our society, and economy.
    And lastly, the nuclear electricity industry creates an opportunity for nuclear weapons development. Many countries have used the nuclear energy industry to create nuclear weapons. Many nations including America have already developed enough nuclear weapons to destroy all of the populated land on Earth. Yet we keep those weapons and publicly reveal our collections as a source of power and potential capabilities. When many nations end up with the same idea, the littlest dispute or struggle for power may resort in the use of the dangerous weapons which are extremely unpredictable and dangerous to our society.

    3. What can potentially be done?
    Kim Takata
    The nation’s reliance on fossil fuels and oil poses many threats to the environment and social policies, as well as the sustainability issue. If anything could be done to solve these problems, the use of and research for renewable energy sources would certainly be focused on. Renewable energy comes in many forms, is generally recycled, natural, distributed reasonably throughout our nation, and is limitless when it comes to availability. We have already solved the problem of have to worry about foreign countries holding the power to our economic and political system and of running out of it. So why haven’t we resorted to the renewable sources?
    Renewable energy sources are quite new, although many forms are already used across the nation. In order for major industries to run on renewable sources we must develop ways of converting the natural energies into usable forms. If it were possible to run the entire nation on renewable energy sources our country would be a lot more independent. For example if every single household in America used solar water heaters and photovoltaics we would be able to naturally heat our water as long as the sun existed. Another way to create free and sustainable energy is by using wind turbines. The kinetic energy that comes from the wind is converted into mechanical energy which can be generated into electricity. So why don’t we use solar and wind energy? Many parts of our nation don’t receive adequate solar or wind sources and the cost of building the converters is very discouraging to taxpayers who don’t see the long term sustainability benefits.
    Another potential solution to our energy crisis would be to use biomass as a major energy source. Biomass is all natural and its current sources are mainly wood, animal dung, and straw. One of the problems with biomass is that we cannot use it faster than we can supply it because it can easily destroy many of our forests and natural lands. Biomass also includes the converting of carbohydrates into liquid fuel. America currently uses ethanol from sugar cane and corn as a fuel additive to decrease the amount of pure fossil fuel that is used. Another idea that has been experimented with but not probable to support the entire nation is automobiles run on vegetable oil. Automobiles can run on many diesel alternatives including used vegetable oil. Many of the fast food industries who use oil for frying have donated their used oil to the ‘biodiesel’ industry who run their equipment on renewable sources. Wouldn’t it be cool if vegetable oil was a more regular diesel choice across the country? (Especially since most people just store their old oil in jars under their sinks).
    To solution to most of our current problems is to be careful and to use our resources efficiently. In order to continue running on fossil fuels and power stations we must tend to the environmental hazards such as air and water pollution. Whether it would be worth it to create pollution filtering systems or to move toward renewable sources is one debate that includes the consideration of our economy, our political and international relationships, and our ability to sustain these sources.

    4. Realistically what can/should be done?
    Edward Vause
    Realistically speaking, there is a great deal that can be done for alternative energy and relieving reliance on oil. The commonly heard ideas include nuclear, geothermal, wind, solar, hydrogen, hydro-, bio-, and natural gas energy. Believe it or not, all of the above are being used today, but most are used in insignificant quantity. As I browsed their website, I found it amusing how the Department of Energy (DOE) commonly states something like, the DOE “supports the U.S. geothermal industry” or “seeks the advancement of” some alternative energy source, etc. It seems very political, in that they are saying things that people want to hear. It’s not as if they are not doing what they are saying, but the results have yet to arrive, due simply to the low level of commitment that authorities have been giving energy issues.
    I would now like to bring our attention to the last State of the Union address. The president touched on the topic of alternative energy, mainly to address the issue of reliance on Middle-Eastern oil. He stated that “Breakthroughs on this [ethanol energy] and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.” As you can see, the president mentions things like breakthroughs and the American technological talent.
    Of course, the State of the Union address is designed to be a bit of a pep rally. But honestly, all that is really necessary to move to Bush’s goals is the incentive to put in the necessary resources, which means money. And with a stifling trade deficit and a huge portion of the American populace screaming to leave Iraq, neither the country’s officials nor the masses have the opportunity to anything major about energy.
    I’m sorry if this sounds political, but the heart of the issue is just that. The fundamental point that I am trying to get across here is that the solution to this problem does not lie in the technological advance, but in the heads of people. Realistically speaking, then, we must simply put massive funds into producing alternative energy sources, rather than being shy and politically engaged around the topic, and this can only be accomplished through the demands of the public.

    Sources:
    1. Berger, John J. Charging Ahead: The Business of Renewable Energy and What it Means for America. Henry Holt and Company Inc: New York, 1997.

    2. Boyle, Godfrey. Renewable Energy: Power for a Sustainable Future. Oxford University Press: New York, 1998.

    3. Hostetter, Martha. Energy Policy. H.W. Wilson Company: USA, 2002.

    4. http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2006/index.html

    5. http://www.energy.gov/

    6. http://www.eia.doe.gov/ (Random statistics)

    July 8, 2006

    National Education

    History of Education In the U.S.
    By Matthew Chun

    Education in the United States has always been of great importance. The U.S. prides itself in having fifty-four out of the top 200 Universities, and going to those Universities for top jobs has become more of a necessity in recent years. Every year college becomes more of a requirement.
    The “founding father” of public education in the U.S. is often credited to Horace Mann. He was born on May 4, 1796 in Franklin, Massachusetts. He came from humble beginnings but was able to make it into Brown University with the help of a private tutor. After studying law intensively at Brown, Mann later passed the Bar exam in 1823. In 1827, Mann decided to head into politics. He served the states of Massachusetts as a Senator and then as a State Representative. In 1837 Horace Mann accepted the position of First Secretary of the State Board of Education in Massachusetts. He resided in the position for twelve years in which he accomplished the following: establishing school district libraries, increasing funding for education, creating a training program for teachers to follow, and campaigned for the importance of education throughout the state.
    The policies that Mann set into action created a more refined public education system. Now many teachers were more qualified and the school systems had more funding to educate the children.
    In 1821 Boston English High School, the first public school opened, and soon after in 1827, “the state of Massachusetts passes a law requiring towns of more than 500 families to have a public high school open to all students”. This was a huge step because now education was becoming required. Another monumental movement occurred in 1837 when eighty students attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for the first time. This was the first college for women in the U.S. and was founded by Mary Lyon who continued as President of Mount Holyoke for quite a while. In 1857, The National Teachers Association was founded just before Abraham Lincoln was elected (1860). The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) was founded in 1916, which marked the beginning of Teacher unions, protecting their basic rights as educators.
    In 1919, the Ü.S. began to reform public education and started wit the Progressive Education Association. In that same year all states became required to transport children to school, and in 1926, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) was administered as the constant exam to get into college.
    Brown vs. Board is one of the most famous cases ever to reach the Supreme Court. A girl by the name of Linda Brown wished to switch from her “black” school to a much closer “white” school. The principal of the “white” refused and Linda’s father, Oliver Brown went to court. The case was of great interest to the public and soon rose to the supreme court where it was ruled that separate schools was unconstitutional.
    In recent years, President Bush has implemented the very controversial No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). This program basically holds schools accountable to the level of achievement students attain. Schools that do not meet the requirements are penalized accordingly.
    Education in the U.S. has come a long way and is now a necessity for many careers.

    http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/agexed/aee501/mann.html
    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/brief/natudoc/tier1/t1natudoc_brief.php
    http://www.cloudnet.com/~edrbsass/educationhistorytimeline.html
    http://www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/early-civilrights/brown.html


    Current Situation
    By Erin Moon


    The “Baby Boomer” generation as we like to call it led the world in new born babies producing over hundreds and hundreds of new borne at a rapid rate. As the United States population increases, the amount of children as well as adults who needs schooling grows as well. Education in the United States is provided by the government, with three primary levels who fund the education program: Federal, State and Local. Schooling in most states of America is not mandatory, based on a families beliefs or situations, they are able to freely decide whether or not they send their children to school or not too school, to a public school or a private school. In the United states, our country bases its education programming on a system where there is a grade school, middle school, high school, and depending on the person they can pursue their education further into college. Before elementary or grade school, kids are usually sent to Kindergarten or a place where ABC’s basic morals values are taught. Grade school is your basic grammar school, teaching kids from the age of about five to eleven, depending on the grade the child is in. The United States bases its beliefs on the Constitution, where basic morals and norms are written down. In Kindergarten, teachers are to teach young kids the simple rules that adults use everyday such as the “Golden Rule,” or how to share, simple things such as that. The education of a child is very important because it is not only about book smarts or their IQ, but it teaches them right from wrong, and how to make their way into the fast pace society that the people of the United States live in. Next in a Childs education after elementary is middle school. Middle school is those good old teenage days that you’re parents always talk about. “Back in the day, I remember when a can of coke used to be ten cents,” the good old days. Middle school is where the learning and more complex issues are introduced. After grammar school, kids should know the basic principles of math, English, social studies and science. They are taught to memorize information and to retain it, but in Middle school they are taught to question, to ask why? The educational system that America abides by is a carefully thought through program, developing a Childs brain not at rapid paces, but at a slow and more hands on approach. Last but not the end of the road when it comes to education is high school. The years where grades start to count, studying becomes long and late agonizing hours that carry on throughout the night and even into the morning, that is what high school is all about. Prep for college and the real world, high school teaches kids about how to manage their money, how to write a thesis paper for college and how to give back to their community. You may agree that the way the United States decides to teach their kids is a full proof method, which it may expect for there are many underlying issues. Money, teachers, and facilities are just a couple to the name the few as to why the education in America is not all that it could be.
    Education in America is suffering, not only locally but nationally, with a low literacy rate compared to other developed country with a reading rate of about 86-98% of people over the age of 15 who can read (Education). This may not seem low but compared to the size of America, the maybe ten percent of those who cannot read are actually in the millions. But has anyone ever asked the question why? Like we were taught in middle school, ask the question why. Why is it that America prides itself on being one of the most dominate countries in the world when around ten percent of its nation can’t even read? As much of an illusion as it may seem, the United States is no longer the riches country in the world, in fact it’s not even close. Funding plays not only a big role in local educational systems but plays a major factor in national education systems. Pay checks for teachers don’t just cut it anymore, and without teachers, how can schools continue? Lack of funding for the teachers are not only the problem, but school supplies, facilities, and transportation for kids also play a role in this complex issue. If a kid can’t get to school how are they expected to attend and learn? Because the government doesn’t make schooling more accessible to people who can’t afford cars, or even to ride the bus, the children along with adults of America suffer. Because funding is such a problem when it comes to education, you wonder what the country spends all the tax payers dollars on. You see some money going to education, you see even more money going to the war, and you see more going to buildings and comfortable living for the president. Right now in this day and age, one of the biggest costs we are currently dealing with is the war in Iraq. Draining money from the government for missiles, top secret cameras and more ammo that can fit in a state, the money left over is not much to deal with, a couple dollars here and there to the homeless, to some education programs, and some to a new jet for the white house. The funding from the government isn’t adequately distributed, and people wonder why the United States is one day going to no longer lead the world in technology. Education doesn’t only affect one set of people, it affects everyone. African Americans, Babies, and even Muslims, education plays a role in everyone’s lives. Because education is a necessity for human survival, it primarily takes a toll on everyone, and people to come.

    What Should Be Done
    Troy Park

    Education in our nation has always been a controversial topic because of the mixed opinions on how much we should fund into improving it. The U.S. is slowly improving education evident by standardized test scores but that is not all we should consider when judging the direction we are headed toward. Nearly ten percent of our population cannot read proficiently yet we still consider ourselves on top of the world. The No Child Left Behind Act was either a great direction to point us toward higher and better education or the government’s way of leading us to believe we are headed in the right direction. Despite all of the dispute about education we still fail to pay teachers enough money to adequately prepare them to teach in our classrooms. A study by the national education association states, “Despite the rise in school enrollments and the chronic teacher shortages faced by many school districts, a state-by-state report released today by the National Education Association (NEA) shows teacher salary levels have barely budged, complicating the nation's efforts to attract and retain qualified teachers.” Without the money to lure more into the teaching profession we are losing out on some of the most qualified teachers. The No Child Left Behind Act is an immediate response to our education problems but if we look into the future we may be headed for even worse times, if we fall behind other countries and lose our current status as a super power. But where are all of our taxes and money going if we cannot pay teachers higher wages? Last year 74.6 billion dollars went into our education programs, while this number may seem high and adequate to improve our education first look at how much we are paying in other aspects. The military department got 483.9 billion dollars last year, Health and Human Services received 591.5 billion, the Treasury 410.2 billion, and Social Security Administrations 569.9 billion. Those four together totaled over two trillion of our nations two and a half trillion dollar budget in 2005.
    If we are looking to improve our education we need to increase the budget we spend on the program. By doing so we could increase the conditions of many of our schools and put students in a better learning environment which could lead to better education if kids and teens want to be there. The increased budget could also go into educating our teachers and better preparing them for classroom teaching. A huge part of the problem comes directly from the teachers who are not ready or properly qualified to teach. Educating the teachers on what to do and how to do it would greatly improve the quality of education being offered at all schools, not just the public ones.

    chart.jpg


    http://www.nea.org/newsreleases/2005/nr050623.html
    http://www.federalbudget.com/
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2007/pdf/spec.pdf

    What can be done?
    By Jordan Fujimoto

    What can be done about this issue?

    There is much that can be done about the failing public schools in America. First off, something needs to be done about the low standards for teaching. As Thomas Sowell described in his article Incompetent Teachers Harm Public Education, “the issue is not highly qualified teachers. The problem is getting teachers who are even decently competent”. (Thomas Sowell, pg. 21) Certification is one of the public’s issues with America’s failing school teachers. However, the problem should not be certification when the standards for certification are so low. In a wide variety of fields, many teachers fail to achieve tests scores above the bottom tier and many teachers score near the bottom of their class in college. As far as what can be done, there needs to be a higher requirement for the teaching position. This would force teachers to achieve their highest potential possible, and continue to do that to avoid losing their jobs. This could also help them where since they are undergoing more schooling and achievement, their salaries should go up as well. In order to raise the pay on teacher’s salaries, there needs to be more taxation of the public. Although this may not please the public, there is no other way possible. Due to the baby boomers and the rapidly increasing population, the need for higher education is becoming more desperate. In order for America’s economy to continue to prosper, the public needs to be better educated.
    The most important change that needs to take place is getting all public schools up to an “adequate” level. In a 2004-2005 report, nearly half of all public schools failed to meet adequate yearly progress (AYP). Nearly twelve-million kids across America suffer because of this sad fact. America’s public schools need to be regulated more consistently to avoid the under education of its youth. In fact, parents need to be more aware of this as well. In only 19 states do parents receive complete report cards from these schools, despite the fact that it is a regulation under law by the No Child Left Behind law. These schools need to be regulated and punished harshly if AYP is not made. Under the NCLB law, every child is required to be able to read and do math proficiently by the year 2014. If half of the public schools across America fail to meet AYP, the NCLB law will not meet its goal. In the same 2004-2005 study, 46 percent, or 68 of 149 public schools failed to meet AYP. The government needs to realize that they need to do something further about this issue. They need to find a way to push more government spending towards the education field. They need to start sending in representatives to monitor the public schools before they reach the 2-year warning. The well being of America is in jeopardy because of the failing public schools. In order for America to remain a world power, the next generations to come must be equally if not better educated than the current generations.

    What are the “powers at be” not doing?

    The powers at be are not regulating this issue consistently. The powers at be are taking too passive of a role on this issue, and are not taking the direct solutions as they should. They need to start putting more money into getting better qualified and competent teachers, and they need to start more programs to motivate and push America’s failing public schools. The No Child Left Behind law seems to be doing its job, yet seeing how 46% of public schools are not meeting the AYP, this law seems like it will not take its complete effect until something more direct happens. The government needs to put aside short term investments and worry about long term investments. Although our economy is in a massive deficit, I feel that education should be put before anything else. The government needs to take in more tax money and distribute that among the public schools. The government should tax those with children going to public schools, and put all of that money into the public education system.

    What impact could you have to change the current situation?

    I believe that I, as well as all citizens, could impact this issue harder than anyone else. Since it is our generation that is at stake, the government needs to hear from us and take in our views. This is why I propose that everyone become either a personally responsible citizen, or a participatory citizen. This will ensure that this issue has the support that it needs to gain speed. We all need to serve our country through citizenship and let congress know that this issue is in dire need of help, and we want that help now. The very well being of this country is at stake, and I feel that we owe it to our country and our generation to act now and act responsibly.


    What do you foresee in the future if the solution(s) you’re advocating is/are not implemented or if conditions continue in their present state indefinitely?

    What I foresee is a grim future with undereducated citizens running the government and other high end jobs. Other countries will begin to take over because of the lack of education in America. Currently, we are already at risk of losing our position as the world’s most powerful nation. If this continues, not only will we not be the most powerful nation in the world, we will eventually fall down the ladder and end up farther and farther away from that number one spot. I don’t understand how the government expects future generations to run the country when the majority of it will be undereducated and under motivated. Basically, if this problem persists indefinitely the American society will not survive, and we will be forced to take orders from the world superpowers, since we will not longer be one.

    Consequences?

    Fortunately, this plan does not have many consequences, and the consequences that will result are only temporary and small. The tax proposal will cut the taxpayers income and lower consumer spending. Economists might say that this could be devastating to the economy. I agree, however, that is a risk we must take. The American economy is slowly digging itself into a higher deficit. However, this is something that must be done to ensure a working society in future generations. We are basically sacrificing short term for long term, and that is what will keep us as a world superpower in future years to come.

    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1568/is_9_34/ai_96644885

    http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040829-114519-1566r.htm

    “Incompetent Teachers Harm Public Education” by Thomas Sowell. Education. Mary E. Williams, Ed. Opposing Viewpoints Series. Greenhaven Press, 2005. Thomas Sowell, “Teachers Are Why Johnny Can’t Read,” Conservative Chronicle, vol. 17, July 17, 2002, p.21. Copyright 2002 by Creators Syndicate, Inc. Reproduced by permission of the author and Creators Syndicate, Inc.
    Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 30 June 2006

    On a National Level: If Not Oil, Then What?

    By Taylour Pua Chang, Mary Daily, Cory Nicely, and Cindy Lanzas

    Issue:
    The gas prices in the United States are rising and are causing stress on the economy. As the high demand for oil in the United States remains unchanged, oil prices will continue to shoot up. In the long run, the U.S. cannot rely on oil forever. Someday, oil will be economically unfeasible as an energy source. If we continue our current rate of oil consumption, oil will eventually be too costly. In order to reduce dependence on oil and lower oil prices, the people of the United States must start looking at alternative types of transportation fuels.

    gas11.jpg

    Part 1. History of the Issue
    By Taylour Pua Chang

    The United State’s oil prices are rising mainly because (1) the rising global demand for oil, along with the inability of oil refineries to satisfy the demand, has caused gas prices to increase everywhere, (2) the United States is one of the most oil dependent nations in the world, and (3) the United States consumes more oil than exists under U.S. soil, so it has to import most of its oil from foreign land, keeping prices high.
    First, oil prices in the U.S. are directly affected by the global supply and demand. The global demand for oil has gone up, and the ability of oil refineries to satisfy the demand has gone down; thus, the price of oil has risen everywhere. Ever since the industrial revolution, the world’s demand for oil has increased. Harold Brubaker from the Knight Ridder Newspapers states that, today, we are a part of a world run by oil—the demand for oil is at a phenomenal high (1). More countries, for instance, are experiencing greater economic growth than ever before. Factories and industries demand more oil in order to increase production. More people rely on long-distance transportation, and more consumers are driving fuel-inefficient SUVs. Unfortunately, the demand for oil continues to rise. Jack Suyderhoud from the Star Bulletin notes that, basically, oil refineries today do not have the capacity to satisfy the people’s demand for oil (2). The resulting shortage of oil makes what oil refineries do more valuable, thus, raising oil prices everywhere.
    Second, the United States is particularly oil dependent, and this doesn’t help to lower gas prices. As the most industrial nation in the world, the U.S. demands an energy source such as oil to fuel its bursting economy. Certainly, the U.S. needs oil for its factories, machines, and transportation. Brendan Bell from the Washington Post notes that the United States consumes 25% of the world’s oil (3). In addition, the U.S. spends more than $250 billion dollars on oil each year according to Dan Ackman from Forbes magazine (4). Per capita, the oil consumption in the United States is approximately 3 gallons a day according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA also reports that the per capita oil consumption for the U.S. is far higher than that of rest of the world, which averages at less than 0.5 gallons a day (per capita) (5). This apparent high demand for oil in the U.S., along with the inability of U.S. oil refineries to satisfy the high demand for oil, is undoubtedly keeping the oil prices high.
    Third, the U.S. depends mostly on foreign oil because there isn’t enough crude oil under U.S. soil; therefore, it needs to import most of its oil from foreign countries. This requires additional costs for shipping and handling. Oil refineries, in order to regain the money lost to importing oil, raise the oil prices even higher. The U.S. Department of Energy says that the U.S. imports more than 10 million barrels of oil a day (6). According to Matthew L. Wald from the New York Times, 75% of imported oil comes from the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc.). The U.S. also imports crude oil from places such as Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, and Russia (7). Imported oil also causes problems because, since most of the imported oil comes from the conflict-stricken Middle East where war is prevalent, the price of crude oil is often unstable. The imported oil, therefore, is subject to rise based on the political and oil stability of the Middle East. Imported oil, indeed, contributes to the rising oil prices.
    According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2003, a barrel of oil cost $28.50, and the average national gas price was $1.56 per gallon. In 2004, a barrel of oil cost $36.97, and the average gas price was $1.85 per gallon. Today, each barrel of crude oil costs $70, and the gas price is $2.93 (8). Again, if demand continues to remain high and the inability of the oil refineries to satisfy the demand remains, then the price of oil will continue to rise. Certainly, we need to start looking at alternative energy sources.

    Footnotes for Part I:

    1. Brubaker, Harold. “Why are gas prices rising?” Knight Ridder Newspapers. (April 26, 2006). www.ledgerenquierer.com/brubaker/gas_prices.html.

    2. Suyderhoud, Jack. “Gasoline price cap will not lower prices or protect Hawaii consumers.” The Honolulu Advertiser. www.thehonoluluadvertiser.com/gas_cap/notworking.html

    3. Bell, Brendan. The Washington Post. “Rising gas prices.” August 26, 2005. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2005/08/25/DI2005082500756.html

    4. Oil expenditures from “America's Quarter Trillion Dollar Oil Bill” by Dan Ackman, Forbes.com, Sept. 27, 2004. U.S. oil imports from U.S. Dept. of Energy. U.S. trade deficit from CBS.

    5. Energy Information Administration. “Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government: Demand.” http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/analysis_publications/oil_market_basics/Demand_text.htm

    6. U.S. Department of Energy. “U.S. Crude Oil.” November 25, 2005. http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/info_glance/crudeoil.html

    7. Wald, L. Matthew. “"U.S. Dependence on Imported Oil Grows," New York Times, August 11, 1997. http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/oilimp.htm

    8. Energy Information Administration. “Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government: Demand.” http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/analysis_publications/oil_market_basics/Demand_text.htm

    gasprices1.jpg

    Part 2. The Current Situation: National oil and other fuel sources
    By Mary Daily

    The national attitude on gasoline and its prices is that gas is way too high. But beyond what it seems, is that really true? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (1), our gas pump prices today are 19 percent lower in relation to the price of everything else we buy like necessities, “…even with the recent rise in gas prices, gasoline prices are rising at a slower rate than many other necessities.” But if you ask many people on the street in the U.S. what they think of our current gasoline situation, a lot will say that it must be the huge gas company’s fault, and that they are purposely raising prices to get more money. In many cases, the oil companies are being solely blamed for the price raising- but if there is one thing I know about life, there is usually never one cause to a major problem.
    Crude oil prices are greatly influenced by the OPEC countries, (the oil producing countries) through their decisions of how much oil to produce. A good economic name for this is, supply and demand. If the OPEC companies gave oil distributors lots of oil, then in order to sell it they would have to lower their prices to get their crude oil sold. But, if the OPECs limit the amount being produced so that the amount produced is lower than the demand, people buying their oil will be more willing to buy their gasoline at a higher price, thus exibiting an example of supply and demand.
    Today, the U.S. government knows that the public wants lower gas prices, and, to a certain extent, the government is trying to satisfy the public. The government knows that the only way to lower gas prices is to lower demand for oil. Right now, the government has policies for lowering the public consumption/demand for oil, thus lowering gas prices. First, the government issues CAFE standards. Issued by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, CAFE standards must be met by all automobile manufactures that make more than 10,000 cars in a given year. For example, each car the manufacturer makes must meet an average fuel efficiency standard. Any producer who fails the standard must pay $5.50 per vehicle for every .1 mile per gallon that their fleet average falls below the relevant standard. This policy tries to keep the oil consumption of every car to a limit. Currently, the U.S. is trying to update the standards. (3)
    In addition to trying to lower the demand for oil, today, the U.S. has policies and plans for alternative energy sources (moving away from oil altogether). Whether or not the government will follow through with it is debatable. The U.S. government, for example, claims to be launching a state-of-the-art program to get hydrogen fuel cells on the roads by 2020. President Bush states that he’ll give $2.9 billion dollars to alternative energy research. In 2005, president Bush signed The Energy Policy Act or the EPACT (4). EPACT says that consumers and businesses will receive federal tax credits if they purchase fuel-efficient vehicles and appliances such as hybrid-electric cars. This bill was made and approved based on the many benefits it will enable. EPACT will ensure that consumers will have better gas mileage, less gasoline spending, less emissions by their vehicles, lower energy bills, and in the long run, reduced air pollution. Individual consumers or business consumers can receive a tax income credit of $250 to $3400 which depends on the vehicles weight and the fuel economy individual consumers or business consumers can receive a tax income credit of $250 to $3400 which depends on the vehicles weight and the fuel economy. There is also credit for alternative fuel vehicles and fuel cell vehicles, although those options are more rare. Right now, there is currently a $2000 tax deduction for buying a hybrid vehicle/car.
    Except for the small percentage of millionaires and billionaires who can afford anything, nearly everyone is being affected by high gas prices. People with low incomes are being affected the most because they need to greatly compromise other important aspects of their lives in order to afford gas. Middle class citizens also need to compromise their lives somewhat and are becoming more and more frustrated with the prices. Anyone who worries about money is affected by gas prices because gas is a necessity that people need to spend their money on. More people, therefore, should be interested in looking to alternative energy sources, which has great potential to cost less than gas in the long run. Many people actually don’t realize the options available to them to use alternative energies. There are over thirty ways a consumer can save energy in their house, but most people assume the hybrid car is the only option. According to the public, the current situation on gas prices in the U.S. is bad. $70 for a barrel of oil and the national average of $2.93 per gallon is not making the U.S. citizens happy. The situation will not get better if demand continues to stay high. Looking to alternative energy sources seems like the best public option.

    Footnotes for Part 2:

    1. Honolulu advertiser David Ridenour “Gas Prices can’t keep pace with Milk, Bread, and Water” June 18 2006

    2. “Reducing Gasoline Consumption: Three Policy Options.” November 22. http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=3991&sequence=2

    3. Miller, Gary. “Lowering Gas Prices: No Quick Fix.” http://www.house.gov/garymiller/GasPrices2005.html

    4. ”What the Energy Bill means to you” Energy Policy Act of 2005 www.ENERGYSTAR.gov

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    Part 3. What Should be Done About Oil in the U.S.?
    By Cory Nicely

    In the anticipation of the oil crises in the United States, researchers and scientists look toward alternative and renewable energy fuel sources, the efficiency of car tanks and hybrid cars, and also the turn to mass transportation. In the last decade, more has been done to promote and protect the health and environmental safety of our nation. As ethanol and bio-diesels are being developed, the closer and closer our nation is growing to a better sustainable future and to the energy independence we want. Also, as gas prices soar according to a recent survey, 40 percent of the population is turning away from their cars and instead relying on mass transportation or carpooling. There are endless possibilities and desires from the economic standpoint of the general public and the environmental viewpoint to what solutions we should choose to reduce oil consumption. However, there is also the controlling power of money, our national spending budget, and the short term, long term investment into these programs that weigh down when deciding what should be done for America’s future.
    One of the less mentioned solutions to oil consumption and use of alternative fuels is the personal benefits people could receive. Mostly, it is just the researches and scientists who get paid to find new alternatives to the current strain of oil. However, a more recent development in ideology, introduced by politicians such as Barack Obama, would make the consumers themselves eligible for cash back benefits. Whether the money comes from the government (tax payer dollars) or private companies, people who either ride a mass transportation unit or have low emission, hybrid type cars ought to be at the receiving end of a monetary or tax credit reward (1). Not only would this help the environment but also would encourage others to hop on the environment saving force in order to get their money back.
    With gas prices reaching all time average highs of $2.93 a gallon and $75.19 a barrel (2), the U.S. must end its dependence on the Middle East and foreign reserves. Ideally in the U.S. we must keep gas prices as is or lower for the future in order to provide for more research and development in the field of alternative sources. If we keep the prices as is and when technology improves, we will have extra needed money to invest into researching and developing other fuels for our country. The best effect we can hope for would be the eventual change to make the U.S. supply of oil and clean alternative energy, like ethanol-85 or super ethanol (3), appealing and competitive on the world market so that we would no longer need to rely upon the demands of the energy giants east of the Atlantic.
    Here in the U.S. we are continuing to take steps to a more self-sufficient, fuel-independent economy and to help us get to where we want to be, there are several important sources of aid we can tap in to. First, instead of fully relying upon the taxpayers dollar to invest into research, the government could issue a law stating that all oil producers in the U.S. have to pay a tax to fund alternative energy for the future. One example of that is arising in California with a vote proposed to pass an oil producers tax (4). A second step that could be taken by politicians would be to propose laws and future policies making oil market price-gouging a federal crime in the United States (5). Also, in order to maintain the guarantee of alternative energy producing companies, it would be the public’s duty to support the movement either through stock market investments or the adaptation of new technologically advanced products on the market. As a result of many similar steps, the U.S. could glide into the world market with a competitive fuel source and begin the price battle for oil overseas.
    With much to take into consideration within the next generation, one thing is clear, we need an efficient energy source and an answer to high gas prices. People must not only change their minds to be more energy savvy but more importantly change their lifestyles and habits. The choices this generation needs to make now will either make or break the economy of the world in say, fifty to a hundred years. That is why the little things that may not appear to be beneficial in the short run, will prove strong for the future.

    WHAT NOT TO DO!:
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    What can YOU do today?
    With a growing number of sentiments aimed toward America’s soaring gas prices, aware individuals ask themselves, “What can I do to better this situation?” It is easy to just respond with, “the same ole thing because what can I really do that can make a big impact or difference to this country?” but in actuality, there are small everyday things that, if done by many, will affect the general population. Her is a compacted list to generalize recommendations for now and for the future.

    1. Get Smart! Research facts, data, news articles (although watch for bias) and get to the bottom of the issue yourself
    2. Change your habits and lifestyle. Take matters into our own hands and buy the clean emission car or use the mass transit system.
    3. Get Involved! Become an advocate for the better cause; organize a strike or petition against oil producing companies, and lend active support for the companies who support and innovate new forms of alternative energy sources.
    4. Get Connected! Gear up with the policy makers of your community, district, state, and nation to spread the word and promote the health of the environment and condition for the future.

    Informative sites to get the facts:
    Department of Energy: www.energy.gov

    Who to contact:
    Email concerns, support, and/or questions on the issue of energy.
    Hawaii Senator Akaka: akaka.senate.gov/email.cfm
    Hawaii Senator Inouye: inouye.senate.gov/abtform.html
    Illinois Senator Obama: http://obama.senate.gov/contact
    Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman: The.Secretary@hq.doe.gov

    Footnotes for Part 3:

    1. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/03/senators_obama_.html

    2. http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2006-07-05-oil-record_x.htm

    3. http://money.cnn.com/2006/06/21/news/economy/cellulose_ethanol/index.htm

    4. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060705/NEWS01/607050312/1001

    5. www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2700/

    HYBRID CAR:
    hybrid_cars1.jpg


    Part 4. Realistically, what can be done about this issue?
    By Cindy Lanzas

    Illinois Senator Barack Obama proposed what seems like a reasonable solution for decreasing our dependency on oil and other countries during his podcast on Thursday, May 11, 2006. He explained his idea by outlining three points: using better, more efficient cars, changing to bio-fuel or other types of fuel, and reducing the risk of investing in renewable fuels. To read the full transcript of Obama’s podcast, click here. At this point, most plans will seem unrealistic because we’ve dug such a deep hole for ourselves and getting out now seems like a huge task, which it is. However, ignoring it isn’t going to make it easier. If it is this difficult now, imagine what it will be like in ten years, or even five years. Barack Obama clearly outlines his idea, setting requirements and goals and makes his plan seem possible (1).
    Many state leaders have shown their disapproval of the minimal action taken to decrease our dependency on oil and other countries. Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, expressed his disappointment during a congressional testimony. He criticizes the increasing prices saying, “‘After many years of not really doing as much as we should on the energy front, this situation has arisen,’ he said, calling for actions over a number of years to either increase supply or reduce demand in order to keep prices down.” He also critiques President Bush’s State of the Union speech in that it did not include increasing fuel-economy standards but proposed to decrease our dependency through technology (2). The Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, said “that the country’s oil addiction has ‘climbed steadily over the last four years and doubled the price of heat for our homes and gas for our cars because the vice president let big oil companies write our energy policy.’” Virginia Governor Tim Kaine said, “When it comes to energy, Americans are using more than ever, paying more for it, and are more dependent on the Middle East than ever before” (3). Taking a cue from tose leaders, it seems that the “powers at be” are not initiating a plan of action that shows results. This is understandable in one sense: fixing this problem is quite an undertaking and an intimidating one. However, in another sense, their lack of action is not acceptable. This is their job. We depend on them to get the wheels in motion on huge projects like this one and without clear cut guidelines and goals, the task will be more difficult than it is now.
    That which an individual can do is very similar to that on the local level. Perhaps, instead of writing to your own state representatives and senators, write to those of another state, sharing how the dependency on oil affects life in your state. This way, leaders from other states can hear it straight from the horses mouth instead of the processed product from your state leaders. When traveling in different states, choose to take walks to visitor attractions in the area instead of using a car. These suggestion and the ones stated previously will help to take pressure off the need for oil.
    If our dependency on oil is not remedied soon, our situation will basically become more extreme. Our nation will spend more and more money buying oil which will only hinder us when the oil supply runs out. We will be so dependent on the non-existent oil and have lost a lot of money to impairing ourselves. We are ultimately paying incredible amounts of money to handicap ourselves.
    Footnotes for Part 4:

    1) “A Real Solution for High Gas Prices.” Barack Obama U.S. Senator for Illinois.
    < http://obama.senate.gov/podcast/060511a_real_solution_for_
    high_gas_prices/index.html>

    2) “Bush: Raise fuel-efficiency standards.” CNN Politics. POLITICS/04/27/congress.oil/index.html>

    3) “Bush pushes fix for oil ‘addiction’.” CNN Politics. < http://www.cnn.com/2006/
    POLITICS/01/31/sotu.energy/index.html>

    comics.jpg

    July 7, 2006

    What Should be Done

    According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, about three million people in the U.S. experience homelessness each year (1). In order to fight this problem and finally bring an end to it, a number of steps must be taken.
    First, we need to prevent homelessness before it happens. It seems as though the number of homeless individuals never goes down since as soon as people leave the homeless system, others enter and replace them. Mainstream programs need to place more emphasis on preventing people from losing their homes; only they have resources necessary to address housing, income, and service needs of the homeless and the potentially homeless. Such programs include Medicaid, Job Training for Disadvantaged Adults, Social Services, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (1). Unfortunately, mainstream systems are in excessively high demand and are under-funded in comparison to their expected duties. The government must give more grants to them in order to prevent people from falling into homelessness. In addition, people at “immediate risk of homelessness” should be allowed access to the same services as actual homeless individuals. These people include those living in doubled up arrangements or motels, and people exiting metal health facilities, prisons, or addiction treatment programs. If this were allowed, these people would be eligible for services through HUD Kinney-Vento, an act designed to assist the homeless. As a result, they would have a smaller chance of actually becoming homeless (2).
    Another important step in ending homelessness is moving homeless individuals into permanent housing as soon as possible. In order to do this, most homeless require assistance. Programs helping people get back into housing need to do more than just assist them in finding and securing permanent homes. They also need to allow them continued access to services such as credit counseling for at least a year after they get a home and should conduct follow-up visits to check up on them and prevent problems that could lead to eviction and cause them to become homeless once again. Obtaining permanent housing is a crucial step for those trying to get their lives back on track and improve their futures. Increased funding should be used to build more permanent housing, either from HUD McKinney-Vento funds, or through taxes (3).
    Next, although in an ideal situation homeless individuals would be placed almost immediately into permanent housing, this is not a possibility. As a result, more funding is needed for Transitional and Supportive Housing. Transitional housing provides homeless with a temporary place to stay until they can find permanent housing. These shelters are especially necessary in areas where vacant permanent houses are scarce. Transition housing also gives shelter to people who are unable to make the “transition” to permanent homes quite yet as a result of problems such as mental illnesses or substance abuse. Furthermore, residents of transitional housing have access to services provided by the shelter with the intention of eventually getting them into permanent housing. These services include job training, education, and employment counseling. More federal grants need to be given to transitional housing to fund the services, as they are extremely important in training homeless individuals in skills they need to find and maintain employment (4)
    Now, while many homeless individuals can benefit greatly from transitional shelters, others require more assistance. Supportive housing can help to provide this. Currently, it is estimated that there are 150,000 chronically homeless individuals in the U.S. These are people who live in the shelter system, and are unlikely to ever earn a significant amount of money because of disabilities they possess. Yet, studies show that permanent supportive housing, housing with the appropriate services, can help them immensely in getting their lives back together and improving their futures (5). Therefore, we must create enough supportive housing for this group. This is extremely important, as about fifty percent of homeless adults have alcohol problems, thirty three percent have drug addictions, and between twenty and twenty five percent have major mental illnesses (3). These people need help that supportive housing can provide. To end the homelessness of the chronically homeless population, about 150,000 units of permanent supportive housing has to be built. However, in order for the creation of this additional housing to occur, organizations would need to acquire an increased number of service providers and funds. As with regular permanent housing, money for additional permanent supportive housing could come from HUD McKinney-Vento funds, or from taxes. Now, taxpayers may complain about having to pay increased taxes to finance the construction of permanent supportive housing. However, if they look at the amount of money they could save in the future on such things as homeless services and Medicaid if these people become stabilized, they will realize that this plan could be beneficial to them as well.
    Next, in order to discover the services most needed by the homeless population and find the best solutions, extensive research and data collection must be conducted. Information such as who is homeless, why and how they became homeless, and what mainstream assistance they receive must be gathered on a "city- or state-wide basis" (1). This allows "trends" to be discovered and can help to identify the main factors that lead to homelessness. It also tells service providers if they need to update certain services such as rent assistance and child-care programs to meet current needs. Furthermore, the data collected helps answer important questions such as "What assistance is most effective in facilitating the re-housing of homeless people?" and "What mainstream services do families need after they are housed so they don't become homeless again?" (1). Research and data collection is essential in the fight to end homelessness.
    One of the major problems preventing people from owning homes is the current scarcity of affordable houses accompanied by low wages. The supply of homes is unable to keep up with the demand and unfortunately, the shortage is increasing. Moreover, the number of households in need of housing support has increased as the cost of homes has also increased and wages have decreased. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, "there is no community in the nation in which a person working a minimum wage job can afford to rent a one-bedroom unit" (1). Yes, America is currently experiencing a strong economy. However, people with lower incomes are not benefiting nearly as much as those of higher incomes. Furthermore, what they do gain from America's economic growth is unable to keep up with the rising housing costs (4). Therefore, the government should increase the amount of affordable housing available to low-income individuals, as well as the grants given to housing programs.
    To help the homeless get their lives back on track and get back into homes, the communities throughout the U.S. must work together. In some cities, it is against the law to reside or loiter on public property and people are prohibited from begging. Basically, it is illegal to be homeless. However, this does nothing to solve the problem. By arresting homeless individuals, all police are doing is giving them a criminal record (or adding to them) and thus making it even more difficult for them to secure jobs. Without employment, the people will never be able to afford housing and get out of the homeless system. Instead of arresting homeless people, police should help them by directing them or taking them to shelters where they can also receive food and services.
    Finally, more funding needs to be granted to organizations providing services to homeless and low-income populations. As mentioned earlier, these services are essential in helping them to get their lives back together and improving their futures. Such services include job training so they can earn a living, substance abuse programs, and courses in money management. According to studies, only fifty percent of people who need substance abuse treatment receive it. These services are extremely important, and are crucial if an end to homelessness is ever hoped to be achieved. Therefore, the government must provide adequate funding for them so that they can help the homeless population as best as they can.
    Individuals can help by donating money to organizations helping the homeless such as Beyond Shelter or Help USA. As I mentioned earlier, services essential to homeless individuals such as job training and rent assistance are highly under funded and any donations to them would be welcome. Extra money for the construction of affordable low-income housing is also needed. According to research, the types of assistance homeless adults felt they needed most were help in finding affordable housing, securing jobs, and paying for housing. Yet, most of the assistance they received were clothing, transportation, and help with public benefits. In fact, only about seven percent of homeless adults had help in finding homes (1). Now, donating items such as clothes and new toothbrushes to homeless shelters is still helpful to them and needed. However, what homeless service organizations need most and are not getting enough of is funding. Therefore, if you really want to help out in the fight against homelessness, donate money to increase the amount of services and affordable housing available to homeless individuals.


    Beyond Shelter website: http://www.beyondshelter.org/home.html
    Help USA website: http://www.helpusa.org/site/PageServer


    Sources:
    1) http://www.endhomelessness.org
    2) http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/homeless/rulesandregs/laws/
    3) http://www.hud.gov/homeless
    4) http://www.nlihc.org
    5) http://www.nationalhomeless.org/housing

    Global Warming Opinion Poll

    National Childcare

    Please visit our website in order to view local, national, and soon to be global posts on childcare and early childhood education by Kelly Hee, Kelsey Miyasato-Tanioka, Andrew Ho, and Cat Manibog.

    Gracias and muchos amor!

    OUR PAGE

    The meaning of poverty.

    Our nation has continually been fighting for the turn away from poverty. There are many stories you hear, so many charities you hear about that support citizens in helping those who are poor.
    Poverty in the United States is something that has had led to significant disagreement. Some say that the "United States has eliminated poverty over the last century. "Others say, "that it has such a severe crisis of poverty that it ought to devore significantly more resources to the problem. "There is always a clash between advocats and the opponents of welfare programs and government regulation of the free-market."(1)
    The United States government has been trying to battle against every kind of poverty since its early ages. Since the 1960s the United States government had defined poverty in absolute terms. "The absolute poverty line, is the threshold below which families or individuals are considered to be lacking the resources to meet the basic needs for healthy living, having sufficient income to prived the food, shelter and clothing needed to preserve health."(1)
    In the year 2003 there was about 35 million poor people. But, what does it mean to be poor? "The word poverty suggests destitution: an innability to provide a familoy with nutricious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter." (2) But, it is said that out of those 35 million people, only a small percentage of them actually fall under the description of, "poor." "Today the expenditures per person of the lowest income, one fifth (or quintile) of households equal those of the median American houshold in the early 1970s."(2) It seems strange that our government and nation is constantly worried about how everyone is becoming poor, and we are worried taht many Americans are living under such low circumstances when in actuality, the average home for "poor persons" (46percent of them) is a three bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio. It's also shocking when 76 percent of poor households have air conditioning, seventy eight percent have cable or satellite television reception. So many people are said to not have enough food to nutritiously feed their families but here are families with VCR's, air conditioning, and cars.
    When people break down what "poor" means, some find that at times there are not many difference. We expect poor children to be mal-nourished. "The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle class chidren.

    Even though all of these facts may keep you thinking about what “poor” actually is, we should think about that other percent who don't live with air conditioning and good food. There are still people who live totally under the poverty level and could use some help. The government should definitely try to put aside money into taking action like they do for AIDS and for other issues in this world. We should raise awareness in every community and focus on communities that really need a helping hand. We think that many people don’t know how to help needy people because a lot of us have never been poor. Many people don't care because poverty isn’t affecting their lives or their families. Schools should become more active by holding food drives and clothes drives. Service is really important with something like this because people need to give in order for this to work. There needs to be people willing to do it for the betterment of other people without money in order for people to benefit. The government should help out definitely with the money and all, but we as citizens also need to show that we care. Afterall, this is our community and country. In order for our future generations to succeed we need to help the cause and make a difference.


    (2) http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/bg1713.cfm

    National Child care

    Question 1, The History of National Child care

    Early Education in America has grown very much in popularity since the
    idea was first brought up. In 1830, a petition was brought up to start
    an early education program in Boston. Psychologists at the time argued
    that too much stimulation at an early age could mentally disfigure a
    child. The petition did not pass, and a formal early education program
    did not start until much later. The first English speaking kindergarten
    in America was founded in 1860 in Boston. It was more appealing because
    the name didn’t seem to stress education as much as “preschool”
    In 1965, Headstart was founded. The purpose of it was to help give
    impoverished children a better opportunity to succeed in life. Studies
    had shown that children who attended preschool were much less likely to
    become criminals as adults.
    http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=8770

    The theories of Jean Piaget encouraged early education programs.
    Vygotsky also helped to encourage the founding of preschools. Both
    psychologists stated that young children need interaction in order to
    develop fully. Piaget stressed that children be allowed to explore with
    physical things as they cannot yet conceptualize. Vygostky stressed
    that children need to develop social skills to increase their learning
    capacity. Though they had conflicting views, both Jean Piaget and Lev
    Vygotsky provided valuable insight into the importance of early
    education.
    http://www.funderstanding.com/

    Maria Montessori, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, set up preschools in
    America. She stressed that children be able to learn by exploring
    rather than reading out of books. It can be said that modern preschools
    adopted some of her beliefs. Montessori set up many preschools around
    the world because she believed that education and peace go hand in
    hand.
    http://www.michaelolaf.net/1CW312MI.html

    Early Education is becoming more and more appealing in America. More
    stress is being put on education now than it was before, and research
    has shown that students who attended preschool have an edge over those
    who did not. New psychological theories are also popularizing
    preschools across the nation. As our country continues to advance, so
    will our early education program. Studies show that American students
    are falling behind foreign students. Many people are pushing for
    increased funding toward early education to help American Students
    catch up to foreign students.

    Question 2, The Current Situation of National Child care

    The further and further we go down the road of the future we are becoming more aware of what is “important” to become a successful person. Fifty years ago, early childhood development was not seen as a really priority to most Americans. Today, we are seeing a steep rise in education and the research of early childhood development. On a national level, we are seeing more money being devoted, a higher understanding of the importance of, and an overall want, for more early childhood development and education. There are more federally funded programs than ever for young children coming for low-income households. The government seems to be making significant steps to improve early childhood development and education in this country. According to President Bush’s State of the Union Address in January of 2002, President Bush outline what he was willing to spend on different federally funded early childhood education and development programs.


    http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/earlychildhood/earlychildhood.html

    The chart above shows a fairly large increase in the amount of government money spent on non-mandatory programs such as Head Start, over the past ten years. The amount of money has doubled within the past ten years of this report. This money for the Head Start programs help to provide a chance for low-income families to give their children a “head start” in the world.
    Some people argue that early childhood development is a waste of time and is not what is truly important. However, according to multiple studies, researchers have found that there are many long term advantages to early childhood development and education.
    • Fewer referrals for remedial classes or special education. Preschool graduates were more likely to remain in regular classes throughout their public school years (Berrueta-Clement, et al. 1985; Consortium for Longitudinal Studies 1983; Featherstone 1986; Gray, et al. 1982; Illinois State Board of Education 1985; Irvine 1982; Lazar and Darlington 1982; Schweinhart 1985; Stallings and Stipek 1986; Powell 1986).
    • Fewer retentions. Preschool graduates were less likely to repeat grades (Berrueta-Clement, et al. 1985; Consortium for Longitudinal Studies 1983; Gray, et al. 1982; Illinois State Board of Education 1985; Irvine 1982; Lazar and Darlington 1982; Schweinhart 1985; Stallings and Stipek 1986; Powell 1986).
    • Higher grades. Graduates had fewer failing grades throughout their school years (Berrueta-Clement, et al. 1985; Consortium for Longitudinal Studies 1983; Featherstone 1986; Illinois State Board of Education 1985; Schweinhart 1985).
    • Greater social and emotional maturity. Those who attended preschool received higher teacher ratings on measures of social and emotional maturity (BerruetaClement, et al. 1985; Illinois State Board of Education 1985; Irvine 1982).
    • More frequent high school graduation/GED completion. Preschool graduates completed high school in greater numbers (Berrueta-Clement, et al. 1985; Consortium for Longitudinal Studies 1983; Featherstone 1986; Illinois State Board of Education 1985; Schweinhart 1985).
    • Greater academic motivation, on-task behavior, capacity for independent work, and time spent on homework. Preschool participants were rated higher than nonparticipants on these measures (Bronson, et al. 1985; Illinois State Board of Education 1985; Irvine 1982; Lazar and Darlington 1982; Schweinhart 1985; Stallings and Stipek 1986; Consortium for Longitudinal Studies; Berrueta-Clement, et al. 1985; Miller and Dyer 1975).
    • Lower incidence of absenteeism/detentions. Graduates had lower incidences of absenteeism and detentions (Illinois State Board of Education 1985).
    • Better attitudes toward school. Preschool graduates had much higher scores on measures of attitude toward school and toward particular subject areas (BerruetaClement, et al. 1985; Consortium for Longitudinal Studies 1983; Lazar and Darlington 1982; Miller and Dyer 1975).
    • Better self-esteem, greater internal locus of control. Those who attended preschool had higher scores on self-esteem and locus of control measures than did those who did not attend preschool (BerruetaClement, et al. 1985; Consortium for Longitudinal Studies; Illinois State Board of Education 1985).
    • Lower incidence of illegitimate pregnancy, drug abuse, and delinquent acts. Older students who had attended preschool as small children had lower incidences of these behaviors, according to selfreports (Featherstone 1986; Stallings and Stipek 1986; Consortium for Longitudinal Studies 1983; BerruetaClement 1985; Powell 1986; Schweinhart, et al. 1986; Gersten 1986).
    • More sports participation. Preschool graduates were more likely to engage in school-sponsored sports (Powell 1986; Gray, et al. 1982).
    • Higher future aspirations, more postsecondary education. Preschool graduates had higher aspirations for their futures than nonparticipants and were more likely to enroll in postsecondary programs (Featherstone 1986; Consortium for Longitudinal Studies; Berrueta-Clement, et al. 1985; Schweinhart 1985; Lazar and Darlington; Stallings and Stipek 1986).

    Author- Austin Ames


    Question 3 and 4, What can be done about this issue


    Nationalizing childcare would allow more children to go to child care. Since child care is so beneficial to parents and to the children themselves later in life this would be an excellent way to fix the current problems with child care. While children are in child care, both parents would be able to work therefore allowing even more economic growth. With a nationalized child care system there would have to be even more employees for the child care therefore helping the economy again. “The formal child care sector enables parents to earn approximately $102.5 billion annually”1 Finally the benefits of children going to childcare far outnumber the costs. By going to child care they reduce the cost of special education, (by not needing to attend) lower school drop out rates, decrease the level of criminal activity, and reduce the risk of entering poverty. All of these reduce costs. With lower criminal activity less money will be stolen and less people will have to go to jail; therefore limiting costs. If we reduce the risk of people entering poverty not as many people will enter poverty. Then we won’t have to spend as much money on helping those people in poverty because not as many people will be in poverty. 2

    Realistically a nationalized child care system would not be possible. A nationalized child care system would be too intricate to be possible. It would be more feasible to have the national government regulate standards for child care. Currently there are many child care facilities that just make up their own standards. There might be some child care services that don’t even have standards. For example we work at Jefferson Orthopedic Elementary; the government does not tell the school what they have to teach or have available to students. The school itself comes up with its own standards. The national government also has to help pay for the child care services. The national government already helps pay for childcare with several programs including the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) which is an “Integrated entitlement and discretionary child care funding program created in 1996 as a result of PRWORA”3 , The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) which is the act that formed the CCDF and the TANF, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) which is “a comprehensive welfare reform program with time-limited assistance that focuses on moving recipients into work and supporting family formation” 4 But more money in the form of bills/acts while would help enormously. Once child care gets going we will have to spend less money in other places. By spending the money on children early on we will save money later. As shown in the figure below government spending for child care related costs in the CCDF and the TANF have increased since 1996 but more money needs to be spent to increase the quality of the child care that children receive.

    The quality of childcare today needs to be improved. This could be done by making national standards for child care facilities and the employees that work at child care facilities. By improving the facilities of child care providers we can improve the quality of child care. We also need to improve the quality of child care employees. Now it is up to the individual states to come up with the educational standards for the employees of child care services. Some states require training, some require ongoing annual training, and some require both.5 The government would need to have an educational standard to work at a child care facility. Another way to get people with a higher education to work at child care facilities would be to increase wages.

    Graphs
    preservice.gif

    annualongoing.gif
    6

    The demand for child care will always be increasing. This is because the population keeps on increasing. More children are being born so it’s natural that more children will be going to child care. The demand for child care goes up even more because it is now more normal to have both parents working where before woman didn’t work as much as men. Therefore more people will be sending their children to child care. Government aid for children who are needy that go to child care also helps a lot because their parents will be able to go to work without having to worry about their children.

    Author- Josh Cutts with help by Zach Cutts

    1 http:/www.nccanet.org/NCCA%20Impact%20Study.pdf
    2 http:/www.nccanet.org/NCCA%20Impact%20Study.pdf
    3 http:/www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ccb/policy1/congressreport/2001CCDFreport.doc
    4 http:/www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ccb/policy1/congressreport/2001CCDFreport.doc
    5 http:/nccic.acf.hhs.gov/ccb/issue28.html#1
    6 http://nccic.acf.hhs.gov/ccb/issue28.html#1
    How can we help?

    Here are our local Senators.

    Akaka, Daniel K.- (D - HI)
    141 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
    (202) 224-6361
    Web Form: akaka.senate.gov/email.cfm

    Inouye, Daniel K.- (D - HI)
    722 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
    202) 224-3934
    Web Form: inouye.senate.gov/abtform.html

    To reach your own Senators you can go to this site and get contact information. http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm


    Here are our local Representatives
    Ed Case
    Washington DC Office
    115 Cannon HOB, Washington D.C. 20515, 202-225-4906 (tel), 202-225-4987 (fax)
    Honolulu Office
    5104 Prince Kuhio Fed. Bldg., Honolulu, HI 96850, 808-541-1986 (tel), 808-538-0233 (fax)

    Neil Abercrombie
    Washington, DC
    1502 Longworth House Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20515
    phone: (202) 225-2726 fax: (202) 225-4580

    Honolulu Office
    Prince Kuhio Federal Building
    300 Ala Moana Blvd.
    Room 4-104
    Honolulu, HI 96850
    phone: (808) 541-2570 fax: (808) 533-0133

    To reach your own Representatives you can go to this site and get contact information. http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shtml


    Places to Donate for Child Care:
    http://www.childcareservices.org/donations.html
    http://www.naccrra.org/emergency/donations.php
    http://www.childcare.org/donors/ways-to-give.htm
    http://www.childrensdefense.org/donations/default.aspx
    www.children-inc.org
    http://www.zerotothree.org/ztt_donate.html
    http://www.shelteringarmsforkids.com/donate.html


    Useful Site to find more places to donate to Childcare, or other national charities.
    http://www.give.org/reports/index.asp


    Most Websites have graphs and data on how they are spending their resources. But this website gives you specific breakdowns on some facilities.
    http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.results&keyword_list=child+care&sortby=rtg


    Only some of the websites above provide national research for Child Care, or national assistance for Child Care. Many of the websites provide only local Child Care.

    Here is a sample letter that you might send:

    Dear, (Inset own Senator/Representative)


    I have become aware of how important quality Child care is. It provides a large amount of jobs in the United States, and it has been shown the benefits of early child care outweigh the costs. In The National Economic Impacts of the Child Care Sector prepared by M.Cubed and sponsored by The National Child Care Association they say, “By making it possible for parent to work, the formal child care sector enables Americans to earn more than $100 billion annually.” “ The study also says that quality child care has been shown to contribute to reductions in special education costs, lower school drop out rates, and decrease levels of criminal activity.”

    I also found research that says the demand for child care is going to continue to stay high, so there should be more child care otherwise the demand will exceed the supply and it will drive the price of childcare higher. Still in the same study it says, “The population of Americans aged four or younger is expected to increase by 1.2 million over the next decade, a six percent rise” According to this information if there is an increase in child care it would benefit the entire economy, the parents would be earning more and the students would be learning more.

    (This is just a sample letter, there are many other reasons to improve childcare but you can come up with your own reasons and use some of the facts that I found in the Study. There have also been local studies in most states on childcare, since I live in Hawaii if I wanted to send this letter I would use some research from the government that I found.)


    Author- Zach Cutts

    Poverty: National

    Background Information
    Although the United States is one of the richest nations in the world, the issues of poverty are very surreal. In fact, the issues of poverty are one of the most important and emotional issues that the government has to deal with today. When the issue of poverty comes up, many U.S. citizens tend to connect the word poverty, to destitution; an inability to provide a family with nutritous food, clothing, and reasonable shelter. However, almost a third of the total number of people living in poverty is directed to children. Child poverty in the United States is usually double than that of other major western industrialized countries. Each day in the United States, 2,019 babies are born into poverty; meaning that a baby is born into povery every 48 seconds. Realizing that one out of five children are poor during their first three years of their life, the greatest downfall of children born into poverty is the fact that these first few years is the time of brain development. Almost 90 percent of children are born without health insurance every minute. By being more specific about these children living in poverty, we can categorize them into sections by race. Bringing the poverty rate at a record high, is the children of African American decent, with 26.1 percent. Not to far behind them are the Hispanics with 25.6 percent. Following them are the Asians and Pacific Islanders with 12.5 percent, and the lowest rate of child poverty is the non-Hispanic whites with 8.2 percent. (1) Making a comparison to the amount of elderly 65+ years in America living in poverty, the child poverty rate is significantly higher. The people that are less likely to be in poverty, and have the lowest poverty rates are the people in America within the ages of 18-54. (2)
    People always wonder how the American government determines the official poverty level, and the validity of those numbers that are calculated. It turns out that the Census Bureau uses a set of money income entry that varies by the size of a family and composition to determine the poverty rates of different age groups. Although many people believe that the poverty levels are caused by geographic locations, is rather updated yearly, calculating inflation using the method of Consumer Price Index.


    http://www.freethechildren.org/getinvolved/geteducated/images/08_geteducated_poverty.gif


    http://www.sptimes.ru/archive/img/739/6336.jpg


    (Aubrie Lau)

    (1) http://www.soundvision.com/Info/poor/statistics.asp
    (2) http://www.osjspm.org/101_poverty.htm

    Current Situation
    See Christina's Post. :)

    Individual Action

    Poverty could quite possibly be one of the most controversial, frustrating, and confusing topics that a person could ever come across or try to solve. The fact is that almost 35.9 million people live below the poverty line in America, remembering that America is still one of the richest nations in the world. So where does all of our money go? (1) It is the little things that greatly affect our economy and the people living from pay check to pay check, for example, each year 100 billion pounds of food is wasted in America, making it about 14% of the total food purchases per household. (2) Not to mention the billions of dollars spent to pay of yearly interest rates on the debts that our government officials have created that could be spent on creating more jobs for people who are unemployed, or creating more programs to help families provide for their children. These all seem like big ideas, and may be overwhelming to a seventeen year old, but if we don't do something soon, this problem will only get worse and worse. Children and teens of America need to look into the future and decide what kind of world we want our children to grow up in, and how we can help to improve these things.
    Ultimately we can spend hours trying to discuss how we can decrease the poverty rate in the United States by using food more efficiently and giving tax cuts to the poor, but the reality is that during those 9 hours that we just spent debating on the perfect percentages that would most benefit the poor, we haven’t really done anything to help. The best way that kids and adults can help is to become active. You must start small, and slowly work your way up to the top, for example, by first beginning within your community. You could go to different schools and talk to children and share with them the reality of poverty, a direct cause of starvation and homelessness. Raising awareness within your community is an excellent place to start, because if you get people interested the farther your voice will travel, hopefully far enough to become a national message. Another great way to get involved is to start a program or a food drive that helps families who are in financial trouble get the things they need. For example you could go around to local restaurants and tell them about your cause and ask if they wanted to help by donating left over food at the end of the night, or giving jobs to the many unemployed people who have a hard time finding a job. Ultimately your goal would to get these people on a good path where they can succeed on their own, and if your programs become effective they too can expand and become nationally recognized organizations. Lastly, the best people who can help a national cause are the people that run the government and make the laws. I think that the hardest, but more rewarding way to help is to talk to senators and congressmen in the United States of America government, because they are the people with all of the power. If you can get them to understand the growing problems of this situation, and come up with solutions that would be effective, the possibilities are endless.
    (Megan Ching)


    http://www.pust.edu/oikonomia/pages/2005/2005_ottobre/c-graf2.jpg

    Looking at this graph we can see that with the exception of decrease in numbers of elderly poverty, the number of people living in poverty has remained pretty constant since about 1965. This is really sad because this means that no one has really done anything to handle this issue, and I personally think that the government should intervene and help the United States’s poor people.

    (1) http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/002484.html
    (2) http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/news/ng.asp?id=56376

    What can be done about homelessness Nationally?

    What can be done about homelessness?

    Realistically, what can be done about homelessness on a national level? This question has been posed time and time again with many proposed solutions. Unfortunately in our day and age there are more pressing subjects and matters to attend to, but here’s a list of small solutions that I’ve come up with.

    1) We, as a nation need to start getting the homeless off the street and into shelters or homes.

    2) The government should offer a stipend to the homeless community to help “get them back on their feet”

    3) Many homeless are unable to get jobs simply because employers are uncomfortable with the concept of a homeless employee. An act could be passed that created equality for the homeless in job situations, or a union could be created that did something similar.

    4) A good deal of the homeless community have addictions to either illicit substances or alcohol. Rehabilitation centers could be developed all over the nation along with the one’s we already have to help the homeless break these old habits.

    5) A mere $1.7 billion a year is spent on solving homelessness[1], this may sound like a lot, but in comparison to the $450+ billion spent on the military alone, the budget for homelessness in trivial. If we were to divert 0.01% of the military budget to help combat homelessness, that alone would double the funds.

    6) With inevitable growth in GDP, we face gradually rising inflation, which means higher prices. The government could start a program that lowers the taxes homeless have to pay, similar to welfare, or other forms of government financial aid.

    What are the “powers at be” not doing?

    The government is not paying enough attention to domestic problems we have. Our politicians are too focused on “the war abroad” that they are unable to attend to problems like homelessness. Even when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans our government did not intervene until much later in the crisis, and efforts made to prevent the disaster were apparently minimal[2]. If our government cannot make the proper efforts to prevent something as cataclysmic as the flooding of an entire state, how are we to expect the government to make efforts toward solving homelessness?

    What impact could we have to change the current situation?

    Sadly none of us could do much more for the national homeless community than raise a couple thousand dollars for donation. Though it is indeed the thought that counts, $5,000 thrown at the national homeless problem does little more than a scratch. Our abilities to solve homelessness in Hawaii are much stronger. We could donate food, money, old clothes, backpacks and all kinds of useful items to local homeless shelters. We could also volunteer to erect new shelters that could house even more homeless. Another thing we could do is raise awareness to local businesses that the homeless are people too, and deserve to be employed as well. All of the efforts I’ve proposed could be done on a national level, but would have a much smaller impact. It would be more helpful if all of our efforts were focused on solving homelessness in Hawaii first, then we can play Bono and save the rest of the nation. For more information on what you can do to help homelessness in Hawaii read Tierney’s article on what can be done on a local level.

    What does the future situation look like?

    If the nation continues down the path its going, homelessness will be in the exact same place it’s at right now in 5 years, or even 10 years. However, if our government has an epiphany and decides to stop our wars abroad, this would free up a lot of government funds and allow some of it to be spent on domestic problems like homelessness. If our nation were to travel down this path, I can foresee bright skies in the future of our nations homeless.

    http://www.ucc.org/justice/witness/wfj051302.htm[1]
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/katrina/story/0,16441,1561909,00.html[2]

    The Cons of Increasing the Minimum Wage

    Minimum wage jobs are important because they allow workers to develop basic employment skills such as being on time, interacting peaceably with fellow employees and following instructions. Studies have shown that the salaries for these workers tend to rapidly increase if they stick to their starting jobs. “About 90 percent of workers hired at minimum wage earn more than the minimum after one year” (1). However, according to the Small Business Administration, employers of small businesses tend to increase the income of their minimum wage workers less after minimum wage increases.

    Small businesses employ the majority of minimum wage workers, not large corporations. Since many of these businesses are already struggling with expenses, an increase in wage will only make it increasingly difficult for these businesses to survive. In fact, "among all minimum wage workers, 54 percent work in businesses with fewer than 100 employees and two-thirds work in businesses with fewer than 500 employees" (1). These small businesses will be forced to make layoffs and unemployment will rise. In face, many opponents argue that "every ten percent increase in the minimum wage results in a loss of 100,000 jobs" (2).

    A majority of the workers who receive minimum wage are teenagers in households with below average incomes (2). They desperately need the money to help support their already struggling families and a layoff could really hurt them and the families they are trying to help support.

    Since studies have shown that an increase in the minimum wage would causes employers to raise the salaries of their employees less rapidly, the early careers of many will be hindered. Also, many small businesses would have to make layoffs due to an inability to pay all of their workers. Finally, many teenagers, or people from low income households are already struggling on the minimum wage (3). They are the people most desperate for money and a layoff, even if only temporary, will have a detrimental affect on their life.

    (1) http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba/ba499/
    (2) http://www.policyalmanac.org/economic/minimum_wage.shtml
    (3) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/21/AR2006062101069.html

    Drug Abuse- National Level

    History of Drugs in the US (Christine Ibaraki)

    For the most part, the origins of the now uncontrollable drug problem in the US are relatively innocent. For example, Marijuana. The recreational use of Marijuana became significantly popular only in the late 19th century and early twentieth century (after the Mexican Revolution of 1910) when along with TexMex Mexican immigrants introduced America to the recreational use of the herb(1). But prior to this, our friend Marijuana more commonly served other purposes and was present in the early life of our country. In the mid 17th century several New World colonies passed legislation requiring farmers to grow and cultivate Indian hemp seed in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Hemp fibers were important in the production of clothing, paper, and rope, etc. In the mid to late 19th century marijuana was used for medicinal purposes and was a common ingredient in over the counter medicine, and in 1895 the Indian Hemp Drug Commission stated that “cannabis has no addictive properties, some medical uses, and a number of positive emotional and social benefits”(2). But as stated earlier the recreational use and abuse of marijuana only began around the turn of the 20th century as the “positive emotional and social benefits” began to have widespread appeal.

    After this, the popularity and demand for the drug (which was also increased by the prohibition of alcohol) saw significant increase. The anti drug movement also began to increase, as especially during the Great Depression, people began to connect drug use and violence/crime and fear spread(1). In 1937 Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act which restricted the legal possession of marijuana to those authorized to posses it for medicinal/industrial purposes and required them to pay a tax(3). In the 50s Congress passed laws that established mandatory sentences and fines for drug related offenses. These however, did not have as significant a stint on drug use as intended. In the 60s, Marijuana was a huge part of the counterculture movement and use as well as acceptance of the drug spread. Research refuted old notions that the drug bred violence and crime. The drug became a large part of pop culture.

    This is a poster for a concert/rally to vote yes to proposition 19 in California (1972). It proposed that “No person in the State of California 18 years of age or older shall be punished criminally, or be denied any right or privilege, by reason or such person's planting, cultivating, harvesting, drying, processing, otherwise preparing, transporting, or possessing marijuana for personal use, or by reason of that use”(4). The particular proposition failed, but in the 70s many states decriminalized marijuana, reduced penalties, and repealed minimum sentences that didn’t seem to have an effective hamper on drug use anyway. In the late 80s Reagan reestablished mandatory sentences in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act (1986) followed by Bush’s War on Drugs, but it seems obvious that the government’s previous inconsistency with enforcing and establishing anti drug acts played a large role in the creation of the nation’s current problem with the illegal use of Marijuana.

    Cocaine has a similar history – it came to our country for uses other than recreation, faced legislation threatening its popularity, and despite that, has become one of the most popular drug choices in our nation. After centuries of coca leaf chewing in Central and South Americas, pure cocaine in powder and liquid form was extracted from the coca leaf in 1855(5). Until the 20th century, around 1905, when snorting became the most popular use for cocaine, the infamous stimulant was used for medicinal purposes (e.g. an anesthetic, antidote for morphine addicts, antidepressant etc)(6). In 1886 cocaine was an ingredient in Coca-cola, until it was removed in 1901(5). Much like marijuana, in the early 20th century, after recreational use of the drug increased, opposition to the drug also increased.

    In 1910 society began to see the nasal damage that snorting cocaine was causing and in 1912 the government reported 5,000 cocaine related deaths in the period of one year. Not surprisingly the drug was illegalized in 1914 with the Harrison Act (1914) except for medicinal purposes. The rise of cheaper and more available amphetamines took the place of cocaine which was no longer widely used. However, like Marijuana and most other drugs, Cocaine became increasingly popular in the 60 and 70s, with the rise of the counter culture and lack of prescription amphetamines available. Crack cocaine and other types of freebase cocaine, for which ignition and vaporization requires less heat (making them more ideal for smoking and convenient), was developed in the 70s and in the years following became increasingly popular(7). In the same period the popularity of the drug in its pure form also increased as people like George Jung helped Columbians to import their cocaine to Americans in the 70s and 80s(8).



    This is an example of cocaine for medicinal purposes.

    Of the three, Crystal Methamphetamine has the shortest history. It was not until 1919 that a Japanese chemist synthesized the drug (however, Amphetamine was first synthesized in 1887 by a Romanian[9]. The chemical difference between the two is an additional methyl group in Methamphetamine[10]). In the 30s Amphetamine was sold as an over the counter decongestant, and was prescribed to treat narcolepsy and ADHD[11]. During WWII both the Allie and Axis troops used methamphetamine, and following the war, an epidemic broke out in Japan. In the 50s as methamphetamine became more available, people began to abuse it and use it for non-medical purposes. The drug was again used by troops in the Vietnam War[11]. In the 60s there was an increase in meth use, as there was with the Marijuana and Cocaine. Synthesizing the drug in home clandestine labs using ephedrine (found in over the counter decongestants like Sudafed). These home meth labs continued to spread around the country especially as it became increasingly popular to smoke methamphetamine. Later in the 80s and 90s the government discovered that Mexican cartels were trafficking Meth in the US[12]. With the Drug Abuse Regulation and Control Act in 1970 the government illegalized non-prescription Amphetamine and in the Methamphetamine Control Act in 1996 they established restrictions on purchasing commonly used ingredients in meth labs, but meth use continued to soar[11].


    Home meth lab


    1.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marijuana_Tax_Act
    2.http://www.a1b2c3.com/drugs/mj004.htm
    3.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marijuana_Tax_Act
    4.http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/dll/1972calmjprop.htm
    5.http://www.cocaineaddiction.com/cocaine_timeline.html
    6.http://www.cocaineabuse.net/cocaine_crack.html
    7.http://www.intheknowzone.com/cocaine/history.htm
    8.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Jung
    9.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methamphetamine
    10.http://www.totse.com/en/drugs/speedy_drugs/ice.html
    11.http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/meth/meth_timeline.php
    12.http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meth/etc/cron.html
    *hover over images for urls


    Current Situation of Drug Abuse in America: by Chandara Humphry
    drugs1.bmp
    (http://www.marijuanalibrary.org)
    Drugs in America are a part of the mainstream; they are a part of our culture. As we most know, drugs have been here for hundreds of years, the uses and abuses changing constantly. Because of the media, availability and overall appeal, drugs have taken over America. The most used illicit drug in America comes from the Cannabis sativa plant and is known as marijuana or weed. (1) Other drugs found in use in the U.S. are Methamphetamine, LSD, Ecstasy, Cocaine, GHB, Heroin, and even now OxyContin. (2) More than 20 million people in America are current users of some sort of illicit drug. (1) Many of these users are youths and young people starting at ages below 10 years old. The War on drugs that we previously talked about happening in Hawaii is occurring at a much larger scale all throughout the nation.
    drugs3.jpg
    (http://www.dea.gov/concern/concern.htm)
    Of all the drugs used throughout the nation, Marijuana is the most prominent. “According to the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 96.8 million Americans ages 12 and older reported trying marijuana at least once during their lifetimes, representing 40.2% of the population ages 12 and older.” (3) Marijuana is widely available throughout our nation, seeing as how the majority of the Marijuana is grown here in the states. Some Marijuana sneaks in from Mexico and Canada, but there are “Major outdoor cultivation areas are found in Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, California, and New York” (4) Marijuana I believe is so popular because of the many myths surrounding the plant. Most youths believe, and are told that marijuana is the least dangerous drug. It is not addictive, and it is used in medicine so it must be safe. Both of these and many others are false, but people still listen to them and that is why they begin smoking marijuana. Marijuana is a gateway drug, “the younger children are when they first use marijuana, the more likely they are to use cocaine and heroin and become dependent on drugs as adults.” (3) The statistics on the rest of the drugs America uses are only increasing. There are many more methamphetamine users, cocaine users and club drug users. Back in the 1960’s to the 1980’s there was a peak in drug abuse in America and there has been a decline, but now it seems that the fame and fortune of drugs are picking up speed. “Drug-related illness, death, and crime cost the nation approximately $66.9 billion. Every man, woman, and child in America pays nearly $1,000 annually to cover the expense of unnecessary health care, extra law enforcement, auto accidents, crime, and lost productivity resulting from substance abuse.” (4) “Approximately 34.2 million Americans ages 12 and older had tried cocaine at least once in their lifetimes, representing 14.2% of the population ages 12 and older.” (5) And, “approximately 3.1 million Americans ages 12 and older reported trying heroin at least once during their lifetimes, representing 1.3% of the population ages 12 and older.” (6) “11.7 million Americans ages 12 and older reported trying methamphetamine at least once during their lifetimes, representing 4.9% of the population ages 12 and older,” (7) where as, “an estimated 11.1 million Americans aged 12 or older tried MDMA (ecstasy) at least once in their lifetimes” (8) Right now, “Approximately 45 percent of Americans know someone with a substance abuse problem.” (2) A percentage that is much too high.
    drugs5.jpg
    (http://www.moviepaostershop.com)
    Currently there are many administrations and agencies focusing on drugs in America. The Drug Enforcement Agency being the primary force has many completed drug eradication operations, and policies concerning drug use in the states. Some of these policies are the Controlled Substance act, the Federal Trafficking Penalties, and Drug Scheduling. The Controlled Substance Act deals with controlling the distribution and enforcement of drugs and drug related activities. Federal Trafficking Penalties detail consequences of being caught possessing or using specific drugs, where as drug scheduling describes each specific drug. (9) The Office of National Drug Control Policy, an organization under the executive branch of the United States, has many programs also concerning drug prevention and drug use reduction. (10) Some programs such as the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program focuses on collecting data and research findings relating to drug use, marketing and rehabilitation. These programs aid policymakers to help think to the future. (11) Among these government operations and agencies are the non governmental, profitable and non-profitable situations, like the plethora of drug rehab clinics open for the public. (“non-governmental organizations such as Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CACDA); the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA); Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and substance-abuse (CASA), the National Center for the Advancement of Prevention (NCAP), the Parent’s Resource Institute for Drug Education (PRIDE), and many others.”) (4) These programs while affective are not enough to solve this growing problem. Not enough people are admitting themselves in for treatment, and too many deals are going down without any intervention. The major attitude of America is for drugs not against.

    One of the main ways drug abuse is being treated in America is awareness. Americans deny the drug problem, and claim either they have no problem, or the problem is not theirs. To combat this enemy America must aid in the prevention and rehabilitation of our youth, young adults and lifetime users. “Our children also dropped their guard as drugs became less prevalent and first-hand knowledge of dangerous substances became scarce. Consequently, disapproval of drugs and the perception of risk on the part of young people has declined throughout this decade.” (4) Parents and teachers must be aware that drugs can happen to their children/students. Drug testing in schools should be more numerous, as they have proven to lower percentages of users. (12) There are now stronger drugs then were available 15 years ago, and there are more and more youths trying them each day. Another way to begin to decrease the number of drug users in America is either to decrease supply or demand. Demand Reduction would be a difficult task to handle, seeing how though people are aware of the risks they still feel the need to take them, awareness, as I spoke previously about though, can help stop a select few from making a wrong choice. Slowing supply could be done to the least. Supply routes must be cut of, from cultivation till the market; the road way must be blocked. Law enforcement and international cooperation must be increased. (13) The drug problem will not solve itself, and will not end over night. A continuous effort must be made by all American citizens to remedy this disease.
    drugs21.jpg
    (http://drugs.goleshet.com)

    (1)Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
    Administration, 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2003:
    http://www.samhsa.gov/oas/nhsda.htm#NHSDAinfo
    (2) U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Drug Information. http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/concern/concern.htm
    (3) Drug Facts: Marijuana, Office of National Drug Control Policy http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/marijuana/index.html
    (4) II. America’s Drug Abuse Profile, The National Drug Control Strategy (1997)
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/htm/chapter2.htm
    (5) Drug Facts: Cocaine, Office of National Drug Control Policy.
    http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/cocaine/index.html
    (6) Drug Facts: Heroin, Office of National Drug Control Policy.http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/heroin/index.html
    (7) Drug Facts: Methamphetamine, Office of National Drug Control Policy.
    http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/methamphetamine /index.html
    (8) Drug Facts: Club Drugs, Office of National Drug Control Policy.
    http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/clubdrugs /index.html
    (9) Drug Enforcement Administration, Home page.
    http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/index.htm
    (10) Office of National Drug Control Policy, Home Page.
    http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/
    (11)Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program, National Institute of Justice
    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/adam/welcome.html
    (12) What Americans Need to Know About Marijuana, Office of National Drug Control Policy. http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/policy/ndcs05/intro.html
    (13) III. Strategic Goals and Objectives, The National Drug Control Strategy (1997)
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/htm/chapter3.htm

    View image
    (http://www.onlinepot.org)

    Realistic Solutions: by Chanel Funakoshi
    At this point, the drug war is completely out of control. No matter how many people complain of the government neglecting the drug situation, there is no possible way the government could dramatically decrease the number of drug users in America right now. The government’s effort to alleviate the drug problem is indeed a huge effort made by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. And despite all of their attempts to reform the current situation, it has come to the point beyond help. There are just too many drug users, drug imports, and people fueling the constant flow of drugs into America to end the cycle. My initial proposition to “fix” the problem was to target the sites where drugs are imported. As I researched more and more, I found that the DEA is ten steps ahead of this idea. They know exactly where the import sites are and they have also strategically set up operations to catch the drug importers. On May 17, 2006, the DEA executed Operation Twin Oceans. This was a 3-year long investigation that resulted in arresting 100 people, and seizing approximately 52 tons of cocaine as well (1). Obviously the government is investing a lot of time to target the foreign imports of drugs.
    map6.gif (http://www.dea.gov/concern/18862/appenda.htm)

    Not only does the DEA have complete information on sites of imported drugs, they also have a very complete list of “wanted” drug importers (2). These are people all over America, as well as the world, who are major promoters of the drug war. The DEA knows exactly who they’re looking for and have definitely made this one of their major priorities. I personally feel that the U.S. government has been making a huge effort to end the drug war. Realistically, there is no way the government could stop the drug problem with their current funds and limited time. I’m also pretty certain that if the DEA had more money, more time, and more people, the problem would continue to persist.

    I feel the drug issue is a matter of personal responsibility. People all have control over their own actions and decisions. And although it sounds like I’m coming from a very idealistic place (i.e. everyone change the way they think and act, and then the problem will be fixed), I do believe there are steps to make this a viable solution. There needs to be more responsibility in each community to keep their children away from drugs. This can be done by instituting more recreational activities for kids, as well improving the public school environment. The rural areas all over America are more prone to getting involved with drugs (3). This can be changed with the improvement of rural areas. I believe that the improvement in school settings and social settings could easily bring about a positive change in the drug trend. I think the government is too focused on the actual drugs in America; therefore they’re too distracted to look for solutions that will directly affect the number of drug users in the long-run. If they were able to see that the source of the drug problem is not enough education, or bad environments, the government could focus more of their attention to these types of solutions.

    This directly relates to my community service project, which is working at Head Start. These types of preschools encourage young men and women to be good role models for the preschoolers. By showing and modeling to these kids what correct behavior looks like, I think we’re able to curve society’s drug problem. I feel that people my age and even younger could really affect these children’s lives and protect them from getting involved with drugs and whatnot. Mentoring programs are another excellent way that teenagers like us can help end the drug problem. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a nation wide organization that has focused on having a positive impact on young children. They have actually found that 46% of the kids are less likely to get involved with illegal drugs (5). They've also found all types of positive results when it comes to going to school and getting good grades. Children just need a good role model sometimes. The problem isn’t the drugs. They fuel the problem and keep the problem alive, but what starts the whole cycle are the decisions we all choose to make.

    Below is a link to the BBBS organization. Here you can sign up to volunteer at the Honolulu Branch.
    http://hosted.bbbsa.org/big/ZipSearchResults.asp

    1. http://www.dea.gov/pubs/pressrel/pr051706.html
    2. http://www.dea.gov/fugitives/fuglist.htm
    3. http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofacts/nationtrends.html
    4. http://www.dea.gov/concern/18862/appenda.htm
    5. http://www.bbbs.org/site/c.diJKKYPLJvH/b.1632631/k.3195/Our_Impact.htm

    Ideal Solutions: By Sasha Fuller
    Drug related arrests have been slowly going up for adults and juveniles over the years, but less people have been using drugs over the years.(1) http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/drug.htm (1) (Graph of drug arrests since 1970 of adults and juveniles.) Over 1/3 of all Americans twelve and up have at least tried some kind of illicit drug. Out of those people 90% used marijuana or hashish, 1/3 used cocaine, and 1/5 used LSD. Luckily about half of the juveniles that try an illicit drug during youth will reject drugs during adulthood. I guess the government and society is doing something sort of right because with less people using drugs and more people getting arrested for the use of drugs that causes a dramatic drop of drug users on the streets.(4) With the overall drug use down that leaves room for certain illicit drugs to become more common than others.

    Out of three drugs, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, which at one point were all very popular, have now gone in different directions. Cocaine has drastically lost its popularity from its peak in 1985. By 1995 there was a 74% decline in cocaine users and about a 60% decline in first time users.(4) Within the United States we have done a good job getting the number of cocaine users down, but we haven’t cut out how much cocaine circulates through the U.S., which unfortunately allows the chronic users to consume more and more.

    Heroin on the other hand has got about 600,000 people addicted to it. Because there are many ways to consume heroin the different forms of it have different prices. The low-purity, cheap heroin is most efficiently injected, while the high-purity, more expensive heroin is more commonly snorted or smoked. The number of heroin users has increasingly gone up since 1970 and 1980. (4)

    The most popular drug among teens and adults is marijuana. About 54% of all illicit drug users restrict their drug consumption to only marijuana. The use of marijuana has gone up and down over the years, but is still the most frequently used drug in the U.S. (4)
    drugs.gif
    (http://www.marijuanaparty.com)
    With these drugs, and all of the others out there, the easiest way to stop people from doing them is by teaching kids about the dangers of doing these drugs. Most times teenagers try drugs because they are just curious of the outcome, but then find it fun and addicting. One thing that the government is already doing is putting together drug court rehab groups. There are about 16,000 courts that help addicts get clean through rehab, frequent drug tests, and if they break down and are found with drugs in their system they are automatically sent to jail. http://www.ndci.org/images/Figure2smaller.jpg (5) (A map of the U.S. and where these drug courts are located.) So far approximately 20,000 have completed the 18 month program and are living on their own now. About 5,000 will fall back into their old ways and get arrested for some sort of drug related issue. This drug court helps those who have already fallen to illicit drugs. If we want to cut down on the number of users in the U.S. we need to reach out to those who have yet to even start thinking about drugs via commercials and awareness classes in schools. The sooner we can teach kids about the dangers of drugs the more time we have to mold their thoughts and mentality about drugs so that when they become teenagers and can get their hands on illicit drugs they can say “NO” with confidence.

    I believe that although it will cost a lot of money the government needs to spend more time confiscating drugs. If drugs weren’t out there for juveniles and adults to buy then we wouldn’t have a drug problem now would we? School teachers and principles, along with parents, are also a huge factor in decreasing the number of drug users in the United States. If a student is caught with drugs in school they should have all of their drugs taken away and then instead of automatically getting kicked out should be helped to get rehab. If the child is just kicked out of school with all of their drugs in hand, what’s to stop them from continuing to do drugs? One of the reasons people do drugs is to make themselves feel better. I’m pretty sure getting kicked out of school and getting yelled at by all of the adult figures that surround you doesn’t make you feel so great. http://www.ashaust.org.au/Pictures/victims.jpg (6) (A cartoon drawing of two teenagers smoking their lives away.)

    1) http://www.drugabusestatistics.samhsa.gov/NHSDA/2k3tabs/Sect1peTabs1to66.htm#tab1.2a
    2) http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/
    3) http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/drug.htm
    4) http://www.ncjrs.gov/htm/chapter2.htm
    5) http://www.ndci.org/images/Figure2smaller.jpg
    6) http://www.ashaust.org.au/Pictures/victims.jpg

    What can YOU do about minimum wage?

    Obviously, if a person works forty hours a week and still is unable to afford a livable wage, there is a problem. What can you do to help solve this problem?

    TELL PEOPLE about this issue. At the very least, increasing awareness will promote appreciation of the work members of our community do.
    SUPPORT advocates of minimum wages, living wages, or increased government funding to help the working poor (which do you think is the best solution?)
    Decide which you think is the best solution and BE AN ADVOCATE.
    HOLD POLITICIANS ACCOUNTABLE for the decisions they make, and the issues they ignore. Let them know how you, the future of Hawaii, want to be represented. If politicians start caring about workers' issues, more low- and middle-income people would become involved in the political process. This would lead to a more just democratic system where people could elect officials who could improve their quality of life enormously.
    BOYCOTT businesses who are known to pay low wages. Your tax dollars are paying for their food stamps, health care, and welfare. The employers should food the bill, while our public money could be used for long-overdue public school repairs or research on alternative energy sources. If you purchase these businesses' products or services, you are supporting keeping their workers in poverty.
    HAVE COMPASSION for other human beings.
    VOLUNTEER at a headstart, homeless shelter, or other institution where the majority of the clientele is negatively affected by low wages. It won't solve the problem, but you can help to lessen the effects.
    UNDERSTAND that many poor and homeless people, especially in Hawaii, are not poor due to their own laziness. Many are hard-working full- or part-time employees and still are not affording enough to make ends meet.


    The Current Situation of the Federal Minimum Wage

    On September 1, 1997, the federal minimum wage increased to its current rate of $5.15 per hour from $4.75 per hour set the year before. Interestingly, the minimum wage has not changed in almost a decade. After a steady rise from $2.65 in 1978 to $5.15 in 1997, the minimum wage halted to a stop even though the cost of living did not. (1)
    Responding to the lack of change to the minimum wage, many states have increased their local minimum wages. Eighteen states currently have minimum wages above the federal level, the highest being Oregon at $7.50. Even with the minimum wages far exceeding the national floor, these states are projecting increases to their present rates. (2) With the initiatives taken by the states, the federal government still has not changed its minimum wage.
    One attempt to increase the minimum wage occurred in June of 2006. The Senate was split between the Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats argued that the minimum wage hasn’t been changed in 9 years and should therefore be increased to $7.25, but the Republicans argued that this increase would lead to less job opportunities. In the end, the Republicans won with eight votes shy of passing the new bill. (3) Obviously, the federal government is involved with increasing the minimum wage; yet, with the difficulties of passing such a bill, nothing has been done.
    Controversy over the minimum wage is escalating as years since the last minimum wage increase reaches a decade. With inflation rates and costs of living rising, people question if $5.15 an hour can sustain a family. Using a graph made by CPI, the 2003 poverty line, set at $15,260, is noticeably higher than what a federal minimum wage worker could earn in a year, 10,700. (4) Three years later, this poverty line is set at $16,600 for a family of three with no raise in the federal minimum wage. Another graph shows the value of the minimum wage pay over time in terms of current dollars. The results are startling. The value of the minimum wage is at an all time low and decreasing with tiem. Without the minimum wage following the trends of inflation, people working at minimum wage will find it increasingly difficult to make a living as time goes by.

    minimu2.gif

    http://www.cepr.net/misc/fedminwage

    fedminwage

    http://www.policyalmanac.org/economic/archive/minimum_wage02.shtml

    One possible problem of the minimum wage is the system for creating a new minimum wage. Currently, instead of having the minimum wage follow inflation, poverty levels, or a calculated sustainable income, the minimum wage is decided by Congress, with each increase requiring a new bill passed through both houses before being enacted. The process of increasing the minimum wage takes time and therefore can’t follow statistics related to the minimum wage. (5)
    So, how does the minimum wage reflect our current situation? It doesn’t. With a nine year old minimum wage, the statistics show steady declines of living for those depending on minimum wage. The trouble with the minimum wage involves the lack of change or increase and the rise in costs of living. Consequently, many more issues exist today than a few years ago. Something must be done.


    (1) http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/chart.htm
    (2) http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/america.htm
    (3) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/21/AR2006062101069.html
    (4) http://www.policyalmanac.org/economic/archive/minimum_wage02.shtml
    (5) http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguides_minwage_minwagefaq

    July 6, 2006

    Current Situation of Drug Abuse in America


    drugs1.bmp
    (http://www.marijuanalibrary.org)
    Drugs in America are a part of the mainstream; they are a part of our culture. As we most know, drugs have been here for hundreds of years, the uses and abuses changing constantly. Because of the media, availability and overall appeal, drugs have taken over America. The most used illicit drug in America comes from the Cannabis sativa plant and is known as marijuana or weed. (1) Other drugs found in use in the U.S. are Methamphetamine, LSD, Ecstasy, Cocaine, GHB, Heroin, and even now OxyContin. (2) More than 20 million people in America are current users of some sort of illicit drug. (1) Many of these users are youths and young people starting at ages below 10 years old. The War on drugs that we previously talked about happening in Hawaii is occurring at a much larger scale all throughout the nation.
    drugs3.jpg
    (http://www.dea.gov/concern/concern.htm)
    Of all the drugs used throughout the nation, Marijuana is the most prominent. “According to the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 96.8 million Americans ages 12 and older reported trying marijuana at least once during their lifetimes, representing 40.2% of the population ages 12 and older.” (3) Marijuana is widely available throughout our nation, seeing as how the majority of the Marijuana is grown here in the states. Some Marijuana sneaks in from Mexico and Canada, but there are “Major outdoor cultivation areas are found in Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, California, and New York” (4) Marijuana I believe is so popular because of the many myths surrounding the plant. Most youths believe, and are told that marijuana is the least dangerous drug. It is not addictive, and it is used in medicine so it must be safe. Both of these and many others are false, but people still listen to them and that is why they begin smoking marijuana. Marijuana is a gateway drug, “the younger children are when they first use marijuana, the more likely they are to use cocaine and heroin and become dependent on drugs as adults.” (3) The statistics on the rest of the drugs America uses are only increasing. There are many more methamphetamine users, cocaine users and club drug users. Back in the 1960’s to the 1980’s there was a peak in drug abuse in America and there has been a decline, but now it seems that the fame and fortune of drugs are picking up speed. “Drug-related illness, death, and crime cost the nation approximately $66.9 billion. Every man, woman, and child in America pays nearly $1,000 annually to cover the expense of unnecessary health care, extra law enforcement, auto accidents, crime, and lost productivity resulting from substance abuse.” (4) Approximately 34.2 million Americans ages 12 and older had tried cocaine at least once in their lifetimes, representing 14.2% of the population ages 12 and older.” (5) And, “approximately 3.1 million Americans ages 12 and older reported trying heroin at least once during their lifetimes, representing 1.3% of the population ages 12 and older. (6) “11.7 million Americans ages 12 and older reported trying methamphetamine at least once during their lifetimes, representing 4.9% of the population ages 12 and older,” (7) ” where as, “an estimated 11.1 million Americans aged 12 or older tried MDMA at least once in their lifetimes” (8)
    drugs5.jpg
    (http://www.moviepaostershop.com)
    Currently there are many administrations and agencies focusing on drugs in America. The Drug Enforcement Agency being the primary force has many completed drug eradication operations, and policies concerning drug use in the states. Some of these policies are the Controlled Substance act, the Federal Trafficking Penalties, and Drug Scheduling. The Controlled Substance Act deals with controlling the distribution and enforcement of drugs and drug related activities. Federal Trafficking Penalties detail consequences of being caught possessing or using specific drugs, where as drug scheduling describes each specific drug. (9) The Office of National Drug Control Policy, an organization under the executive branch of the United States, has many programs also concerning drug prevention and drug use reduction. (10) Some programs such as the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program focuses on collecting data and research findings relating to drug use, marketing and rehabilitation. These programs aid policymakers to help think to the future. (11) Among these government operations and agencies are the non governmental, profitable and non-profitable situations, like the plethora of drug rehab clinics open for the public. (non-governmental organizations such as Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CACDA); the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA); Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and substance-abuse (CASA), the National Center for the Advancement of Prevention (NCAP), the Parent’s Resource Institute for Drug Education (PRIDE), and many others.) (4)
    One of the main ways drug abuse is being treated in America is awareness. Americans deny the drug problem, and claim either they have no problem, or the problem is not theirs. To combat this enemy America must aid in the prevention and rehabilitation of our youth, young adults and lifetime users. “Our children also dropped their guard as drugs became less prevalent and first-hand knowledge of dangerous substances became scarce. Consequently, disapproval of drugs and the perception of risk on the part of young people has declined throughout this decade.” (4) Parents and teachers must be aware that drugs can happen to their children/students. Drug testing in schools should be more numerous, as they have proven to lower percentages of users. (12) There are now stronger drugs then were available 15 years ago, and there are more and more youths trying them each day. Another way to begin to decrease the number of drug users in America is either to decrease supply or demand. Demand Reduction would be a difficult task to handle, seeing how though people are aware of the risks they still feel the need to take them, awareness, as I spoke previously about though, can help stop a select few from making a wrong choice. Slowing supply could be done to the least. Supply routes must be cut of, from cultivation till the market; the road way must be blocked. Law enforcement and international cooperation must be increased. (13) The drug problem will not solve itself, and will not end over night. A continuous effort must be made by all American citizens to remedy this disease.

    (1)Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
    Administration, 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2003:
    http://www.samhsa.gov/oas/nhsda.htm#NHSDAinfo

    (2) U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Drug Information. http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/concern/concern.htm

    (3) Drug Facts: Marijuana, Office of National Drug Control Policy http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/marijuana/index.html

    (4) II. America’s Drug Abuse Profile, The National Drug Control Strategy (1997)
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/htm/chapter2.htm

    (5) Drug Facts: Cocaine, Office of National Drug Control Policy.
    http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/cocaine/index.html

    (6) Drug Facts: Heroin, Office of National Drug Control Policy.http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/heroin/index.html

    (7) Drug Facts: Methamphetamine, Office of National Drug Control Policy.
    http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/methamphetamine /index.html

    (8) Drug Facts: Club Drugs, Office of National Drug Control Policy.
    http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/clubdrugs /index.html

    (9) Drug Enforcement Administration, Home page.
    http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/index.htm

    (10) Office of National Drug Control Policy, Home Page.
    http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/

    (11)Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program, National Institute of Justice
    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/adam/welcome.html

    (12) What Americans Need to Know About Marijuana, Office of National Drug Control Policy. http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/policy/ndcs05/intro.html


    (13) III. Strategic Goals and Objectives, The National Drug Control Strategy (1997)
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/htm/chapter3.htm

    Solution to Minimum Wage

    The simplest solution to the inadequacy of minimum wages in the United States is to raise the required minimum wage. If the federal minimum wage was raised to $7.25 an hour by 2008, 14.9 million workers would be directly affected. Many oppose these changes, believing an increase in production costs would cause an increase prices, creating a never-ending cycle of inflation and keeping the minimum wage workers struggling for survival. Opponents of minimum wage also believe it would cause job loss. However, many studies debunk these claims. When Baltimore raised its minimum wage to a living wage, two separate studies found that the city contract costs increased less than the rate of inflation (7). The Economic Policy Institute published the results of a minimum wage study entitled "The Sky Hasn't Fallen," which concluded an enforced minimum wage benefits all workers affected by it (4). These main beneficiaries are not teenagers, as most believe, but low-income families. More than seventy percent of the minimum wage work force are adults, many of whom rely on a full-time minimum wage job to support their families.
    Supporters of a minimum wage increase believe higher wages also improve worker morale, increase productivity, and make minimum wage jobs more desirable. Supporters disagree with the claim that a minimum wage hurts small businesses and is bad for the economy; they believe a minimum wage would increase the amount of spending money and increase businesses' revenues, supporting the local economy. Supporters of a minimum wage increase claim opponents of a minimum wage get most of their evidence from studies by David Neumark and Scott Adams, and that the "method of these studies has been severely criticized, and the findings discredited by many researchers"(7).
    There are many advocates of raising the minimum wage to a [em]living[/em] wage. Supporters of this movement base their argument on the fact that a full-time minimum wage worker is not able to support a family. One who works 2,080 hours per year at $5.15 (a full-time job at minimum wage) earns a yearly income of $10,712 (5). The federal poverty guideline for the 48 contiguous states is $20,000 (Alaska and Hawaii are a little higher), nearly twice as much a full-time worker earns at minimum wage (6). They aim to increase wages so that anyone who works forty hours a week would be able to afford food, clothing, shelter, and medical services necessary for survival.
    However, there are still more options. For instance, more government programs could be created to benefit workers with low incomes. This would increase minimum wage workers' incomes without increasing production costs. One of these programs already in existence is the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF), which provides monetary relief in the form of welfare(1). Workers and their families are assisted by the government in other ways, including food stamps, housing assistance, and Medicaid.
    An important way government can help is through tax credits. Workers may recieve certain tax credits including child tax credits, energy tax credits, and the earned income tax credit. These allow deductions in low-income families' federal taxes. The earned income tax credit is the most important for minimum wage workers. Workers recieve a refundable income tax credit depending on how much money they made that year(3). This tax credit applies only to workers who recieve less money than they need to survive. If the funding for this program were increased, it could be a viable solution to the inadequacies of minimum wages. This program must be extended, because anyone working a forty hour week should be able to afford food and services necessary for survival. However, supporters of a minimum wage believe this kind of federal support should be passed on to the employers. The businesses, not the public, should pay their employess wages that are substantial enough to pay for food, shelter, and medical services.


    (1) http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/
    (2) http://www.epionline.org/lw_solutions.cfm
    (3) http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96406,00.html
    (4) http://www.epinet.org/briefingpapers/bp67_1997.pdf
    (5)http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguides_minwage_minwagefaq
    (6) http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/06poverty.shtml
    (7) http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/bp170

    Current Situation in America


    Picture found at: http://www.studentsagainsthunger.org/images/homeless_alley.jpg

    Homelessness has increased in the past years and there are many factors economically, politically, socially and medically, that cause it to occur. Under the economic factors, there is the issue of a lack of affordable housing. The National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness stated, "According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, families across the country would need to earn a 'housing wage' of $15.37 an hour, nearly three times the current minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the average fair market rent. West Virginia has the least expensive rental state, but the wage of $8.78 an hour would be needed just to afford a two-bedroom apartment." Everyone in America is facing this housing problem. There are also the issues of low incomes and lack of affordable medical care that falls underneath the economic factors. The current minimum wage nationally is 27% less than it was in 1968, making it harder to live a standard life. For health care, a family could spend up to $8000 a year. These issues lead to the question of, what should be sacrificed, food, health care or housing?
    Politically, there is a lack of government intervention. There are cuts in federal assistance for housing programs and social services and that is definitely not needed. The campaign also said, "Without a safety net to help, many of the lowest income people must choose between things like food, medical care, and housing to make ends meet." There has been many requests from the homeless for more emergency shelters.(3) There is a very high lack of awareness of programs. Nationally, only 19% of respondents taking a survey created by the Los Angeles Mission could name an agency or program that provides rehabilitation or job training for the homeless. At least 56% of the respondents were able to recognize food and/or shelter for the homeless. (2)
    Due to mental illness, drug addiction, and alcoholism, poverty is a possibility and people are at a greater risk of becoming homeless. 25% of the homeless population suffer from some form of mental illness and because of the high cost of health insurance, homeless people have no access to proper care to treat their mental illness. Also, 20% of the homeless population have a drug and/or alcohol addiction, but without affordable medical care, there's no way to help them with their addictions. (3)


    - In the U.S., more than 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year.
    - 35% of the homeless population are families with children, which is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.
    - 25% are U.S. military veterans.
    - 25% are children under the age of 18 years.
    - 30% have experienced domestic violence
    - 20-25% suffer from mental illness
    - In urban communities, people experience homelessness for an average of eight months.
    - 22% are employed
    - On average, people remain homeless for 6 months. (4)

    (compiled by the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness)

    More fact sheets on some states can be found here. (5)

    Twenty-four cities (Boston, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Providence, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Seattle, St. Paul and Trenton) took a "Hunger and Homelessness Survey" and compiled a list of their combined homelessness percentages.

    - Requests for emergency shelter increased by an average of 6% with 71% of the cities registering an increase. Requests for shelter by homeless families alone increased by 5% with 63% of the cities reporting an increase.
    - An average of 14% of the requests for emergency shelter by homeless people overall and 32% of the requests by homeless families alone are estimated to have gone unmet during the last year.
    - In 88% of the cities, emergency shelters may have to turn away homeless families due to lack of resources; 79% may also have to turn away other homeless people
    - People remain homeless an average of seven months and 87% of the cities stated that the length of time people were homeless increased during the last year
    - 22% of homeless people in the cities are considered mentally ill; 30% are substance abusers; 15% are substance abusers; 15% are employed; 11% are veterans
    - In 57% of the cities, families may have to break up in order to be sheltered. In 48% of the cities families may have to spend their daytime hours outside of the shelter they use at night.
    - Requests for assisted housing by low-income families and individuals increased in 86% of the cities in the past year. (1)

    [Click to enlarge.]


    (1) http://www.naeh.org/back/MayorsReport2005.pdf
    (2) http://www.agrm.org/statistics/homerpt1.html
    (3) http://www.nscahh.org/hunger.asp?id2=8802
    (4) http://www.studentsagainsthunger.org/hunger.asp?id2=15770
    (5) http://www.studentsagainsthunger.org/hunger.asp?id2=15771

    http://iws.punahou.edu/user/JStevens/project/bedshousing.JPG
    http://iws.punahou.edu/user/JStevens/project/composition.JPG
    http://iws.punahou.edu/user/JStevens/project/data.JPG
    http://iws.punahou.edu/user/JStevens/project/cities.jpg
    http://www.studentsagainsthunger.org/images/homeless_alley.jpg

    Homelessness in America

    The History of Homelessness in America (Written by Tierney Morikawa)

    Background Information

    homeless person.jpg
    Picture found at: http://www.studentsagainsthunger.org/advocacy/advocacy.asp?id2=15797

    Homelessness has existed in America for centuries, but it was not recognized as a national problem until just two decades ago. The truth is that homelessness became a national issue in the 1980’s because of the tremendous impact of the 1973 recession that led to an increase in unemployment and underemployment throughout the country. Approximately 40 million people lost their jobs, and new employment opportunities that arose after the recession did not offer employees financial stability. Many people, unable to pay their bills, became homeless, and others who were homeless prior to the recession only suffered more during times of reconstruction (1). Furthermore, as the National Alliance to End Homelessness stated, “mainstream social programs such as welfare, health care, subsidized housing, and substance abuse treatment—programs that provide long-term income and services support—started shifting responsibility for very poor people to this small and under-funded homeless assistance system. This left homeless assistance programs overburdened and unable to address prevention or move the masses of newly homeless people back into housing.” Therefore, the number of homeless Americans continued to rise, and has increased by about 100% in the last decade (2).

    Researchers have had a difficult time calculating the exact number of homeless citizens each year, but they estimate that in the 1990s, there were about 700,000 homeless citizens each night and up to 2 million each year. In the last few years, that number has escalated even more. Today, as many as 3.5 million Americans (11% of the poor population) are homeless each year (3).

    How has the federal government impacted homelessness in America?

    In the mid 1980’s the federal government began to receive pressure from groups of people across the nation that wanted to see effective remedies for the homelessness problem. Thus, in order to deal with the issues at hand, Congress passed the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, the first major piece of legislation to deal with homelessness. The act includes fifteen programs and works with over 3,700 agencies to deal with homelessness issues ranging from adequate work benefits and payment, to accessible health care, to emergency shelter and housing (4). However, despite the positive efforts made by the federal government to remedy the homelessness issue, the law has, unfortunately, had a negative impact on the homeless, as well. Many people refer to the negative impact of the law as the criminalization of America’s homeless.
    A fact sheet on homelessness published by the National Alliance to End Homelessness states that “most people who experience homelessness (80%) are homeless for a short period of time, and usually need help finding housing or a rent subsidy.” Nevertheless, according to the organization’s research, a “portion of the homeless population (20%) is homeless for long periods of time or cycle in and out of homelessness” (5). This cycle that causes long-term homelessness is often caused by significant barriers to exit. Because many cities across the nation have established anti-lodging and anti-panhandling laws in order to discourage solicitation and loitering, numerous homeless have been jailed for breaking these laws. As a result, many of America’s homeless have criminal records. Therefore, when homeless go to seek employment or government assistance, officials see the blemishes on their records and automatically turn them away (6).

    Homeless washington.jpg
    Less than a mile from the nation's capital, American citizens have made the street their home.
    (Picture found at: http://www.icresource.com/WGNS/PHOTO/images/HomelessManonGrate-288.jpg)

    Causes of Homelessness

    Homelessness in America is primarily caused by one or more of the following:

    (a) A lack of affordable housing
    (b) A shortage in work opportunities that offer decent wages
    (c) Drug or alcohol misuse
    (d) Mental Illness
    (e) Limited public and government assistance (7)


    Nevertheless, of all the roots of homelessness in America, lack of affordable housing and low income are, by far, the leading causes. Year after year the price of housing in America significantly increases, yet the average wages remain relatively the same. Because of these conditions, many Americans have had difficulty paying their housing bills and other living expenses each year. As freelance journalist, Silja J.A. Talvi, wrote in an article entitled Homelessness Is a Serious Problem, “Low-income people are confronted with soaring housing costs and tight rental markets nationwide. A recent national survey from the National Low Income Housing Coalition revealed that nowhere in the U.S. can a minimum wage worker afford fair market rental costs for a modest two-bedroom housing unit. In order to afford the median fair market rent for a two-bedroom rental unit, a worker would have to earn $13.87 per hour, or 269 percent of the federal minimum wage. (In 2000, roughly 2.7 million Americans earned minimum wage which, on a federal level, has remained at $5.15 since 1997.) Simultaneously, the number of housing units affordable to low-income households has dropped, year by year. According to a 2001 HUD [Housing and Urban Development] report, 1.14 million affordable housing units were lost between 1997 and 1999.” Talvi also reported that since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there have been many layoffs nationwide in the retail, hotel, and air transportation industries—industries in which many low-income minorities work (8). Therefore, many Americans are having challenges, not only bringing in a reasonable income, but maintaining jobs as well. Even those who work overtime have found it difficult to cover their housing bills every month, let alone the remainder of their living expenses.
    Moreover, the housing issue appears to worsen every year in America. In January 2006, Naomi Spencer wrote an article for the World Socialist Web Site entitled US living standards in 2005 continued downward trend. In the article, she talked about the attempts made by Americans to meet rising housing costs by taking out additional loans. Spencer said, “Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, in its State of the Nation’s Housing report, found that net growth in second mortgage debt nearly doubled in 2005 to $178 billion. The Federal Reserve pegged total noncommercial mortgage debt at $641 billion by the end of the third quarter. The heavy use of housing mortgages to meet daily expenses puts homeowners at considerable risk of an avalanche of debt or foreclosure in the event of an unexpected medical expense or job loss. It also increases the possibility that when the housing market deflates, as many economists project will occur in 2006, homeowners will be locked into paying enormously high amounts for homes worth significantly less upon resale” (9). Thus, the rising price of homes has not only worsened the nation’s homelessness problem over the past two decades, but is, at present, continuing to threaten a copious number of American citizens. The housing issue has been, and continues to be, a major threat to both the destitute and the average American civilian.

    Another leading cause of homelessness is drug addiction. It is estimated that 34 percent of the homeless population suffers from alcohol or chemical addiction, and director of Street Outreach Services, Kris Nyrop, says that “waiting lists for publicly subsidized drug treatment can be as long as a year-and-a-half in major urban cities” (10). The addiction in itself causes major problems for Americans, because addicts will often use their housing funds to purchase drugs rather than pay the rent. Consequently, when they are evicted from their homes, there are not enough drug treatment centers to meet the needs of the addicts. Those who are sent to treatment centers rather than jail are the fortunate ones, but the transition from both the treatment centers and jail to the streets is tremendously difficult. Some addicts successfully recover, but they, too, have barriers to housing and employment. Most employers do not want to hire people with criminal records, and many public housing units turn away people who have committed drug misdemeanors. Therefore, many former drug addicts have no choice but to return to the streets.

    Sources:
    (1) http://www.usm.maine.edu/~Isavage/UrbanGeographyProjects/Homeless/homelessness_in_the_us.htm

    (2) http://www.endhomelessness.org/pub/tenyear/NAEH_10yrplan.pdf
    (3) http://www.answers.com/topic/homelessness
    (4) http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/homeless/rulesandregs/laws/
    (5) http://www.endhomelessness.org/pub/tollkit/facts.pdf
    (6) http://www.answers.com/topic/homelessness
    (7) http://www.usm.maine.edu/~Isavage/UrbanGeographyProjects/Homeless/homelessness_in_the_us.htm

    (8) “Homelessness Is a Serious Problem” by Silja J.A. Talvi. Poverty and the Homeless. Mary E. Williams, Ed. Current Controversies Series. Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 30 June 2006 Document Number: X3010342207

    (9) http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/jan2006/hous-j16_prn.shtml

    (10) “Homelessness Is a Serious Problem” by Silja J.A. Talvi. Poverty and the Homeless. Mary E. Williams, Ed. Current Controversies Series. Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 30 June 2006 Document Number: X3010342207


    What is the current situation regarding homelessness in America? (Written by Myrel Agbayani)




    Picture found at: http://www.studentsagainsthunger.org/images/homeless_alley.jpg

    Homelessness has increased in the past years and there are many factors economically, politically, socially and medically, that cause it to occur. Under the economic factors, there is the issue of a lack of affordable housing. The National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness stated, "According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, families across the country would need to earn a 'housing wage' of $15.37 an hour, nearly three times the current minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the average fair market rent. West Virginia has the least expensive rental state, but the wage of $8.78 an hour would be needed just to afford a two-bedroom apartment." Everyone in America is facing this housing problem. There are also the issues of low incomes and lack of affordable medical care that falls underneath the economic factors. The current minimum wage nationally is 27% less than it was in 1968, making it harder to live a standard life. For health care, a family could spend up to $8000 a year. These issues lead to the question of, what should be sacrificed, food, health care or housing?
    Politically, there is a lack of government intervention. There are cuts in federal assistance for housing programs and social services and that is definitely not needed. The campaign also said, "Without a safety net to help, many of the lowest income people must choose between things like food, medical care, and housing to make ends meet." There has been many requests from the homeless for more emergency shelters (3). There is a very high lack of awareness of programs. Nationally, only 19% of respondents taking a survey created by the Los Angeles Mission could name an agency or program that provides rehabilitation or job training for the homeless. At least 56% of the respondents were able to recognize food and/or shelter for the homeless (2).
    Due to mental illness, drug addiction, and alcoholism, poverty is a possibility and people are at a greater risk of becoming homeless. 25% of the homeless population suffers from some form of mental illness and because of the high cost of health insurance, homeless people have no access to proper care to treat their mental illness. Also, 20% of the homeless population has a drug and/or alcohol addiction, but without affordable medical care, there's no way to help them with their addictions (3).


    - In the U.S., more than 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year.
    - 35% of the homeless population are families with children, which is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.
    - 25% are U.S. military veterans.
    - 25% are children under the age of 18 years.
    - 30% have experienced domestic violence
    - 20-25% suffer from mental illness
    - In urban communities, people experience homelessness for an average of eight months.
    - 22% are employed
    - On average, people remain homeless for 6 months (4).

    (compiled by the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness)

    More fact sheets on some states can be found here (5).

    Twenty-four cities (Boston, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Providence, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Seattle, St. Paul and Trenton) took a "Hunger and Homelessness Survey" and compiled a list of their combined homelessness percentages.

    - Requests for emergency shelter increased by an average of 6% with 71% of the cities registering an increase. Requests for shelter by homeless families alone increased by 5% with 63% of the cities reporting an increase.
    - An average of 14% of the requests for emergency shelter by homeless people overall and 32% of the requests by homeless families alone are estimated to have gone unmet during the last year.
    - In 88% of the cities, emergency shelters may have to turn away homeless families due to lack of resources; 79% may also have to turn away other homeless people
    - People remain homeless an average of seven months and 87% of the cities stated that the length of time people were homeless increased during the last year
    - 22% of homeless people in the cities are considered mentally ill; 30% are substance abusers; 15% are substance abusers; 15% are employed; 11% are veterans
    - In 57% of the cities, families may have to break up in order to be sheltered. In 48% of the cities families may have to spend their daytime hours outside of the shelter they use at night.
    - Requests for assisted housing by low-income families and individuals increased in 86% of the cities in the past year (1).

    [Click to enlarge.]


    Sources:

    (1) http://www.naeh.org/back/MayorsReport2005.pdf
    (2) http://www.agrm.org/statistics/homerpt1.html
    (3) http://www.nscahh.org/hunger.asp?id2=8802
    (4) http://www.studentsagainsthunger.org/hunger.asp?id2=15770
    (5) http://www.studentsagainsthunger.org/hunger.asp?id2=15771

    (Pictures)
    http://iws.punahou.edu/user/JStevens/project/bedshousing.JPG
    http://iws.punahou.edu/user/JStevens/project/composition.JPG
    http://iws.punahou.edu/user/JStevens/project/data.JPG
    http://iws.punahou.edu/user/JStevens/project/cities.jpg
    http://www.studentsagainsthunger.org/images/homeless_alley.jpg


    What should be done about the national homelessness issue? (Written by Traci Aoki)

    housing pic.gif
    Picture found at: http://www.fanniemaefoundation.org/programs/hff/images/v4i5-homeless2.gif


    According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, about three million people in the U.S. experience homelessness each year (1). In order to fight this problem and finally bring an end to it, a number of steps must be taken.
    First, we need to prevent homelessness before it happens. It seems as though the number of homeless individuals never goes down since as soon as people leave the homeless system, others enter and replace them. Mainstream programs need to place more emphasis on preventing people from losing their homes; only they have resources necessary to address housing, income, and service needs of the homeless and the potentially homeless. Such programs include Medicaid, Job Training for Disadvantaged Adults, Social Services, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (1). Unfortunately, mainstream systems are in excessively high demand and are under-funded in comparison to their expected duties. The government must give more grants to them in order to prevent people from falling into homelessness. In addition, people at “immediate risk of homelessness” should be allowed access to the same services as actual homeless individuals. These people include those living in doubled up arrangements or motels, and people exiting metal health facilities, prisons, or addiction treatment programs. If this were allowed, these people would be eligible for services through HUD Kinney-Vento, an act designed to assist the homeless. As a result, they would have a smaller chance of actually becoming homeless (2).
    Another important step in ending homelessness is moving homeless individuals into permanent housing as soon as possible. In order to do this, most homeless require assistance. Programs helping people get back into housing need to do more than just assist them in finding and securing permanent homes. They also need to allow them continued access to services such as credit counseling for at least a year after they get a home and should conduct follow-up visits to check up on them and prevent problems that could lead to eviction and cause them to become homeless once again. Obtaining permanent housing is a crucial step for those trying to get their lives back on track and improve their futures. Increased funding should be used to build more permanent housing, either from HUD McKinney-Vento funds, or through taxes (3).
    Next, although in an ideal situation homeless individuals would be placed almost immediately into permanent housing, this is not a possibility. As a result, more funding is needed for Transitional and Supportive Housing. Transitional housing provides homeless with a temporary place to stay until they can find permanent housing. These shelters are especially necessary in areas where vacant permanent houses are scarce. Transition housing also gives shelter to people who are unable to make the “transition” to permanent homes quite yet as a result of problems such as mental illnesses or substance abuse. Furthermore, residents of transitional housing have access to services provided by the shelter with the intention of eventually getting them into permanent housing. These services include job training, education, and employment counseling. More federal grants need to be given to transitional housing to fund the services, as they are extremely important in training homeless individuals in skills they need to find and maintain employment (4)
    Now, while many homeless individuals can benefit greatly from transitional shelters, others require more assistance. Supportive housing can help to provide this. Currently, it is estimated that there are 150,000 chronically homeless individuals in the U.S. These are people who live in the shelter system, and are unlikely to ever earn a significant amount of money because of disabilities they possess. Yet, studies show that permanent supportive housing, housing with the appropriate services, can help them immensely in getting their lives back together and improving their futures (5). Therefore, we must create enough supportive housing for this group. This is extremely important, as about fifty percent of homeless adults have alcohol problems, thirty three percent have drug addictions, and between twenty and twenty five percent have major mental illnesses (3). These people need help that supportive housing can provide. To end the homelessness of the chronically homeless population, about 150,000 units of permanent supportive housing has to be built. However, in order for the creation of this additional housing to occur, organizations would need to acquire an increased number of service providers and funds. As with regular permanent housing, money for additional permanent supportive housing could come from HUD McKinney-Vento funds, or from taxes. Now, taxpayers may complain about having to pay increased taxes to finance the construction of permanent supportive housing. However, if they look at the amount of money they could save in the future on such things as homeless services and Medicaid if these people become stabilized, they will realize that this plan could be beneficial to them as well.
    Next, in order to discover the services most needed by the homeless population and find the best solutions, extensive research and data collection must be conducted. Information such as who is homeless, why and how they became homeless, and what mainstream assistance they receive must be gathered on a "city- or state-wide basis" (1). This allows "trends" to be discovered and can help to identify the main factors that lead to homelessness. It also tells service providers if they need to update certain services such as rent assistance and child-care programs to meet current needs. Furthermore, the data collected helps answer important questions such as "What assistance is most effective in facilitating the re-housing of homeless people?" and "What mainstream services do families need after they are housed so they don't become homeless again?" (1). Research and data collection is essential in the fight to end homelessness.
    One of the major problems preventing people from owning homes is the current scarcity of affordable houses accompanied by low wages. The supply of homes is unable to keep up with the demand and unfortunately, the shortage is increasing. Moreover, the number of households in need of housing support has increased as the cost of homes has also increased and wages have decreased. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, "there is no community in the nation in which a person working a minimum wage job can afford to rent a one-bedroom unit" (1). Yes, America is currently experiencing a strong economy. However, people with lower incomes are not benefiting nearly as much as those of higher incomes. Furthermore, what they do gain from America's economic growth is unable to keep up with the rising housing costs (4). Therefore, the government should increase the amount of affordable housing available to low-income individuals, as well as the grants given to housing programs.
    To help the homeless get their lives back on track and get back into homes, the communities throughout the U.S. must work together. In some cities, it is against the law to reside or loiter on public property and people are prohibited from begging. Basically, it is illegal to be homeless. However, this does nothing to solve the problem. By arresting homeless individuals, all police are doing is giving them a criminal record (or adding to them) and thus making it even more difficult for them to secure jobs. Without employment, the people will never be able to afford housing and get out of the homeless system. Instead of arresting homeless people, police should help them by directing them or taking them to shelters where they can also receive food and services.
    Finally, more funding needs to be granted to organizations providing services to homeless and low-income populations. As mentioned earlier, these services are essential in helping them to get their lives back together and improving their futures. Such services include job training so they can earn a living, substance abuse programs, and courses in money management. According to studies, only fifty percent of people who need substance abuse treatment receive it. These services are extremely important, and are crucial if an end to homelessness is ever hoped to be achieved. Therefore, the government must provide adequate funding for them so that they can help the homeless population as best as they can.
    Individuals can help by donating money to organizations helping the homeless such as Beyond Shelter or Help USA. As I mentioned earlier, services essential to homeless individuals such as job training and rent assistance are highly under funded and any donations to them would be welcome. Extra money for the construction of affordable low-income housing is also needed. According to research, the types of assistance homeless adults felt they needed most were help in finding affordable housing, securing jobs, and paying for housing. Yet, most of the assistance they received were clothing, transportation, and help with public benefits. In fact, only about seven percent of homeless adults had help in finding homes (1). Now, donating items such as clothes and new toothbrushes to homeless shelters is still helpful to them and needed. However, what homeless service organizations need most and are not getting enough of is funding. Therefore, if you really want to help out in the fight against homelessness, donate money to increase the amount of services and affordable housing available to homeless individuals.


    Beyond Shelter website: http://www.beyondshelter.org/home.html

    Help USA website: http://www.helpusa.org/site/PageServer


    Sources:
    1) http://www.endhomelessness.org
    2) http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/homeless/rulesandregs/laws/
    3) http://www.hud.gov/homeless
    4) http://www.nlihc.org
    5) http://www.nationalhomeless.org/housing

    What can be done about homelessness in America? (Written by Shaun Chang)

    Realistically, what can be done about homelessness on a national level? This question has been posed time and time again with many proposed solutions. Unfortunately, in our day and age, many people believe there are more pressing subjects and matters to attend to; but here’s a list of small solutions that I’ve come up with.

    1) We, as a nation need to start getting the homeless off the street and into shelters or homes.

    2) The government could offer a stipend to the homeless community to help “get them back on their feet”

    3) Many homeless are unable to get jobs simply because employers are uncomfortable with the concept of a homeless employee. An act could be passed that created equality for the homeless in job situations, or a union could be created that did something similar.

    4) A good deal of the homeless community have addictions to either illicit substances or alcohol. Rehabilitation centers could be developed all over the nation along with the one’s we already have to help the homeless break these old habits.

    5) Only $1.7 billion a year is spent on solving homelessness, this may sound like a lot, but in comparison to the $175+ billion spent on the military alone, the budget for homelessness is trivial. If we were to divert 0.01% of the military budget to help combat homelessness, that alone would double the funds.

    What are the “powers at be” not doing?

    The government is not paying enough attention to domestic problems we have. Our politicians are so focused on “the war abroad” that they are unable to attend to problems like homelessness. Even when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, our government did not intervene until much later in the crisis, and efforts made to prevent the disaster were apparently minimal. If our government cannot make the proper efforts to prevent something as cataclysmic as the flooding of an entire state, how are we to expect the government to make efforts toward solving homelessness?

    What impact could we have to change the current situation?

    Sadly none of us could do much more for the national homeless community than raise a couple thousand dollars for donation. Though it is indeed the thought that counts, $5,000 thrown at the national homeless problem does little more than a scratch. Our abilities to solve homelessness in Hawaii are much stronger. We could donate food, money, old clothes, backpacks and all kinds of useful items to local homeless shelters. We could also volunteer to erect new shelters that could house even more homeless. Another thing we could do is raise awareness to local businesses that the homeless are people too, and deserve to be employed as well. All of the efforts I’ve proposed could be done on a national level, but would have a much smaller impact. It would be more helpful if all of our efforts were focused on solving homelessness in Hawaii first, then we can play Bono and save the rest of the nation. For more information on what you can do to help homelessness in Hawaii read Tierney’s article on what can be done on a local level.

    What does the future situation look like?

    If the nation continues down the path its going, homelessness will be in the exact same place it’s at right now in 5 years, or even 10 years. However, if our government has an epiphany and decides to stop our wars abroad, this would free up a lot of government funds and allow some of it to be spent on domestic problems like homelessness. If our nation were to travel down this path, I can foresee bright skies in the future of our nation’s homeless.


    Sources:

    http://www.ucc.org/justice/witness/wfj051302.htm
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/katrina/story/0,16441,1561909,00.html


    My Country 'Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Poverty

    230+ years and still going strong(Chris Alm - History)

    Poverty has always existed in America and to this day it continues to be a persistent problem with no end in sight. There are many reasons for why people have been in poverty throughout our country’s history. One reason which was often given by those not in poverty is part of a social theory called Social Darwinism which was created around the turn of the 20th century. The Social Darwinists, like so many people in American society before and after them, believed that those in poverty were living in that condition because of their own faults and immoral values. However, this was not always the case. A second reason for people’s poverty was the circumstances and the times that people found themselves living in. (10)
    One of the greatest set of challenging circumstances that was likely to push people into poverty occurred for those who were not, at least at first, considered to be true Americans, that is, immigrants and even more so, African slaves. Immigrants have poured into America in waves throughout our country’s history. During the 1800’s immigrants from all over Europe arrived in America searching for prosperity and a better life than the one they had had back in their native country. One group who came in especially large numbers were the Irish. Unfortunately for the Irish, they often came to America with little money and were often viewed by many of those already living in America as a group barely above slaves. In general, the Irish, along with many other immigrant groups, were only able to get low paying, unskilled jobs, and as a result had low standards of living. In the South, the Irish, along with the Scottish, made up the social class commonly known today as Rednecks. Sometimes, these people lived in total poverty and were seen to be at the lowest level of society, besides slaves, that is. (5)
    African slaves, and later, African freedmen, almost always had difficult lives and were more often than not subject to lifestyles of poverty. Of course, when they were slaves, many African-Americans lived under harsh conditions with little food and sometimes inadequate housing as a result of their masters choosing that lifestyle for them. However, even after 1965 and the end of the Civil War, life didn’t really improve for African Americans and many of them remained in poverty. This continued impoverishment was in part due to some of the laws that were established, namely the Black Codes, and later, the Jim Crowe Segregation Laws. These laws placed the newly freed African Americans back into living situations of poverty and almost comparable to the slavery they had just been liberated from. Many of the freedmen became sharecroppers in the South, meaning that they often did not own their own land or even their own tools and as a result had to rent them out from their white employers who did own them. Also, because they were sharecroppers, they had to pay their employers a large sum of the profits for each year’s harvest. Often, the freedmen sharecroppers had to buy all of their living necessities from a single store and as a result the storeowner could set prices as high as he liked and this pushed the freedmen into even deeper poverty. Also, the crop-lien system, in which the freedmen used their crops as credit in order to get loans and be able to buy more goods caused the freedmen’s lives to decline more into poverty. (2) (10)
    lange_2.jpg
    A thirteen year old sharecropper in Georgia.
    http://www.amarilloart.org/images/lange_2.jpg

    The years before and after the turn of the 20th century brought another source of poverty to America. During this time of the Gilded Age, big corporations and monopolies were flourishing in America and the elite were becoming richer and richer. However, the same could not be said for those at the lower levels of society. For those who were working in the factories at very low paying jobs, and for those who could not even get one of those low paying jobs, life was very difficult. The poverty line around the turn of the century was $500 and 40% of those in the working class were below that line. (4) Also, one third of the workers in America at that time were immigrants and as mentioned earlier that led to problems of its own. (4) A good example of the lives and of the poverty of working people at this time can be found in the book, The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair. Written in 1906, The Jungle was meant to alert people to the horrible and squalid working conditions of the Chicago Meat Packing Industriey. (3) (10)
    During the Roaring 1920’s many Americans reached new levels of prosperity. The stock market was booming and agriculture in the West was producing more than it had it years. However, not everybody was faring quite as well. During this time, 60% of Americans did not make enough money to sustain a minimal lifestyle. (1) African-Americans and sharecroppers were still struggling although many people at the time tried to ignore those in poverty and focus on the successes that America was having after its recent victory in the First World War. (6) (10)
    All of this prosperity came to an end on October 29th 1929, however, as the stock markets crashed and America entered its lowest point in economic history, the Great Depression. During the Great Depression, salaries fell by 40% and industrial wages by 60%. (8) Also, one third of Americans were below the poverty line. 12,000 people lost their jobs each day and 12 millions people were out of work in total, the unemployment rate rising to an estimated 25% and possibly even higher. (7) The few jobs that were available would first go to White unemployed people before going to unemployed African-Americans, thus perpetuating the poverty of African-Americans brought on at least partially for racial reasons. In agriculture, farmers had been very successful in growing a large quantity of crops, however, the supply was far greater than the demand and as a result prices dropped and farmers ran into trouble during this time as well. Many farmers were eventually forced to burn much of their crops because they simply didn’t have any use for it. (1) (9) (10)
    Bread Line.jpg
    Unemployed people standing in a bread line during the Great Depression.
    http://www.freedomsfoundationaz.org/ffvfactiv/ffvfprog/Bread%20Line.jpg

    In the 1960’s, President Lyndon Johnson launched a war on poverty known as the Great Society. Johnson organized the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) to create housing and educational programs to benefit the poor. Medicaid was one of the programs that Johnson created through the Great Society. Medicaid is a welfare program which gives medical care to the poor. Although it did help in some respects, Johnson’s Great Society eventually disappeared, partly as a result of Republican’s combating it in Congress and partly because of the Vietnam War. However, there are still programs, such as Medicaid which have survived until today and are still beneficial to people living in poverty. (10)
    johnson.jpg
    President Lyndon Johnson, creator of the Great Society.
    http://www.historyplace.com/specials/calendar/docs-pix/johnson.jpg

    Poverty has been a part of American society for centuries and will probably continue to be in the centuries to come. There will always be people who are unable to get jobs, for whatever reasons, and there will always be people who can only get jobs which will not sustain a standard of living above the national poverty level. Fortunately, a person’s race is beginning to contribute less to poverty and maybe some day it will not be a factor at all. Hopefully, poverty will improve overtime for the people of America.

    (1) http://inlet.org/esp//chapvi.htm
    (2) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/sharecrop/sf_economy.html
    (3) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carnegie/gildedage.html
    (4) http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA01/Davis/photography/reform/gildedage.html
    (5) http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:ioJvmkgauakJ:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redneck+irish+clay+eaters&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1
    (6) http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/America_economy_1920's.htm
    (7) http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/wall_street_crash.htm
    (8) http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:i4c7cwzwaH4J:www.britannica.com/eb/article-77868+great+depression+poverty+level&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1
    (9) http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:Fu6AIJgdlRoJ:us.history.wisc.edu/hist102/lectures/lecture18.html+great+depression+poverty+line&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1
    (10) Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People. New York, New York: Mcgraw-Hill Companies Inc., 2004

    The Current Situation of National Poverty (Samantha Ng - Current State)

    The United States of America measures poverty in terms of poverty threasholds. A family is considered in poverty if their total income is below the poverty threashold determined every year.(1) In 2004, 37 million people were in poverty, and the national poverty rate was 12.7%. The rate has been slowly increasing since 2000, where the rate was 11.3%. While the rate has increased in recent years, the overall trend for poverty in the United States is declining. In 1959, the average poverty rate was 22.4%. The rate soon dropped to around 11-12% and maintained that rate until 1980, where it increased to 13-14% until the mid 90’s. In 1995, the rate began to drop again, and has remained at around 11-12% ever since.(2) America looks at poverty in absolute terms. This means that a person in poverty is “lacking the resources to meet the basic needs for healthy living; having insufficient income to provide the food, shelter and clothing needed to preserve health.”(3)

    poverty level graph.jpg
    (1)

    A few of the major factors that influence national poverty are: lack of education, unemployment, population growth, and race. Poverty has a much larger impact on African Americans and Hispanics than on those who are White or Asian. For 2004, the poverty rate for African Americans was 24.7% and 21.9% for Hispanics. Both the White and Asian poverty rates were below 10%. These differences in poverty rates can be explained through history. As Chris mentioned, African Americans began their economic struggle as slaves, and were at a huge disadvantage compared to their White owners. Hispanics and other immigrants also were at a disadvantage when they immigrated to America because they did not speak much english, they were discriminated against and they were only given low paying jobs. Most of the Asians came to America for the gold rush in California or to work on plantations in Hawaii. While they also began with little money and low-end jobs, they worked hard, saved up money, and overcame their most of their economic struggles.(4) These early racial circumstances have contributed greatly to the current poverty situation.
    Lack of education is another large factor in poverty. Many people who have not completed high school cannot get high paying jobs, and often have difficulty paying bills and supporting their families. Those in families with a female householder and no husband are especially affected by poverty in America. In 2004, 30.5% of these families were in poverty, and the poverty rates for these families who were African American or Hispanic were even higher.(2) We saw an example of people who are extremely close to living in poverty in the Walmart video we watched in class. Most of the employees did not have college degrees and therefore had no hope for getting a higher paying job.

    graph 2 time.gif
    (1)

    Unemployment is related to a lack of education in that many people with out a high school diploma cannot find jobs. The United States’ unemployment rate is at about 5%, but as we learned in econ, this does not mean that 95% of the population has a steady or sufficient income. Unemployment is a large contributor to the national poverty level, and is made worse when the population increases. It is unfortunate when one person is living under the poverty level, but it is much worse when that person has three or four children to support as well.(5)
    The government tries to help those in poverty by setting up programs, such as welfare. These programs are meant to help those living in or close to poverty overcome their financial strains and get them back on their feet. Welfare does help, but some feel that people abuse it and take advantage of tax payers’ money. The government also tries to help by encouraging students to stay in school. They create programs such as “No Child Left Behind” in order to keep more kids in school.(6)
    The current situation on national poverty is getting better, yet there is still room for much improvement. Hopefully, by examening what we can do to help this situation, we will be able to continue to lower the poverty rate until it is no longer an issue.

    Sources:
    1)http://www.npc.umich.edu/poverty/
    2)http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/histpov/hstpov2.html
    3)http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:xMUgQ9hC0ukJ:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_the_United_States+united+states+poverty+2005&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=2
    4)The Unfinished Nation by Alan Brinkley
    5) http://whirlwind.he.net/~ercarlso/student/Poverty_and_rapid_population_growth.html
    6) http://www.ed.gov/nclb/landing.jhtml

    Just a Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Poverty Go Down(Mark Ohara - What Should Be Done)

    When analyzing what can be done about our nation’s poverty problem, I was stumped as to what could be done even if we had the resources and the control to accomplish anything. I wondered where to find suggestions on what to write about and decided that in order to find solutions, I must first discover what causes the poverty.

    Inflation:
    According to an article in the Honolulu Advertiser, one of the reasons for poverty in the United States is that jobs that used to provide enough money to support families have become insufficient because of inflation. We can see the effect of this inflation by looking at some statistics given by the article. It says, “About 35 million Americans lived in poverty in 2002, which is 1.7 million more people than in 2001, according to census data. The federal poverty threshold for a family of four was yearly earnings of $18,392 in 2002. Almost 40 percent of working-age poor people were employed, and the percentage working full-time all year increased 45 percent from 1978 to 2002” (http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Jun/13/bz/bz12a.html). We can see the immediate effects of inflation and how it continues to hurt our nation’s poor.
    4_2a_checkout-1.jpg
    http://www.midamericanenergy.com/eew/help/images/4_2a_checkout.jpg
    If we had unlimited resources and control, I would regulate inflation. There have been many proposals on how to stop inflation. I read an article in the July 2006 edition of BusinessWeek magazine that mentions a way to, at the very least, restrain inflation. It says, “The Fed’s goal has been to find the level of interest rates that will bring down the economy’s growth rate just enough to restrain inflation but not so much to harm the economy” (Cooper 29). So far this process has been hard to control, but I believe that if the Fed’s have enough power and control over interest rates and the overall flow of money, then managing America’s inflation should be a relatively easy task. I will increase the funding going to the Fed’s research and create a division of the Federal Government whose sole purpose is to observe the GDP and monitor inflation. That way we will be able to find other methods of keeping inflation manegable.
    By doing this, the poverty-stricken would have an easier time finding stable jobs that will support their families. Also, inflation makes it harder to buy necessities such as groceries, clothes and shelter. The amount people can buy with their minimum wage salaries cannot keep up with the rapidly changing inflation.
    Inflation has become an increasingly worrying to the United States and controlling it would benefit many Americans. We need to put a leash on this before it gets out of hand and we are unable to do anything about it.
    We can see the history of America's inflation in this graph:
    us_in_h.jpg
    http://www.csus.edu/indiv/j/jensena/sfp/us/us_in_h.jpg

    Education:
    In our current world, education is priceless especially when dealing with poverty, and I believe that we need to emphasize that fact now more than ever. One reason that Americans are in poverty is that they are uneducated. It has been proven that when employers see the college degrees they tend to pay higher salaries and offer better positions. It says in an article written by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that the relationship between the decline in the poverty level and the decline in the unemployment rate, “seems primarily to reflect the effects of the lowest unemployment rate since 1969, as well as rising wages... The Census report demonstrates the power of the beneficial effects of a strong economy and especially of a low unemployment rate” (http://www.cbpp.org/9-26-00pov.htm). That means that if the young men and women of the United States went to college, our unemployment rate would decrease because companies would hire people from our nation instead of immigrants from places such as China and India. That is why if there were unlimited resources and control, we could make getting higher education a reality for the American people who once believed that it was too expensive or a waste of time.
    One thing that would definitely be done is the creation of more scholarships for people from families with low incomes. Also, to make the idea of college more appealing, the government could reward families with one or more of their family members in college with tax cuts, tax refunds or other helpful monetary compensations.
    Another thing another thing we could do is educate the people. If we teach Americans about poverty and how to avoid it, there will definitely be a change in the way people use their money and deal with poverty. I would create more Public Service Announcements and create more organizations that go around to schools and workplaces giving seminars on poverty.
    class_outside.jpg
    http://departments.oxy.edu/registrar/catalog/images/class_outside.jpg

    Charity:
    Another way to help fight poverty would be getting more people involved to try to stop it. We could start giving a lot more of the money the rich earn to the poor in the form of taxes so that they will be able to get new equiptment for the public schools in low-income areas and youth guidance programs for orphans or families that utilize the services of Big Brothers Big Sisters. If we could make the families with higher incomes more willing to understand the needs of the poor by having them share their wealth with them, there would be a decrease in the level of poverty and more people would get involved in fighting it. This would be done the same way that the education of the people would be done. There will be explanations and future compensations for all the high-income families that are being taxed to help the Americans in need.

    Poor People Are Lazy; I Know So 'Cause I'm Edumacated: The Need To Dispel Misconceptions (Garret Nakata - What Should Be Done)

    Education

    Poverty on the local level and the national level aren’t much different. One thing that remains constant is that the education our children receive is unacceptably poor. The president of the Organization for Economic and Development released a study that the United States is losing ground in education compared to other countries. The study also shows that,

    Among adults ages 25 to 34, the United States now ranks ninth among industrialized nations for the share of its population with at least a high school education and eighth for the percentage of citizens who hold a college degree. Moreover, the OECD found that 15-year-olds in this country are below average compared with their peers in Europe and Asia when it comes to applying math skills to real-life situations.(1) Without higher education, youths cannot attain higher level jobs and therefore must settle for low-income jobs. And with a supply of cheap, foreign labor readily available from Mexico, India, and other countries, these low-income jobs might not be so plentiful, which would lead to a rise in unemployment, or at the very least they’d only be able to get even lower-income jobs. As David Lazarus, a writer for the San Francisco Tribune who wrote an article on the relation between education and poverty, said,

    To accomplish [the end of poverty], we need schools that adequately prepare youngsters to seize whatever opportunities come their way and to prosper through personal achievement. That means classrooms that aren't overcrowded or physically deteriorating. It means facilities stocked with the supplies and resources kids need to develop intellectually, socially and emotionally. (1)
    This means we need to put more money into supporting our schools and funding educations reforms. But, the closest thing to education reform in recent years is Bush’s ‘No Child Left Behind Act’, which bases success on test scores alone and does not provide adequate funding nor does it lay out standard academic criteria to be taught.
    badge.bmp

    We have to do more than a test. We need to entertain the idea of having each state handle its own education system, instead of nationally coordinated standards, academic programs, and spending. Then we can focus on a state’s specific needs, as opposed to issuing broad solutions that may only apply to a few states. And speaking of education, the public needs to be educated as well. But I’m not talking about formal education; I’m talking about education about poverty itself.

    How many people do you think are living in poverty? One million? Two million? Surely the number can’t be any higher than that. Or can it? According to the U.S. Census figures released in 2004, a total of 37 million Americans are affected by poverty.(2)
    poverty_graph.gif

    The fact is that most people just don’t know that much about poverty in America, or have a misguided picture of it. According to surveys given out by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development(CCHD), most people said they believed at the most five million people were affected by poverty. Also, when asked to identify the biggest issues facing the United States only 3% mentioned poverty.(3) How can we solve a problem that the majority of the public doesn’t even know is a problem? By educating the public on this issue, we can spread awareness and increase desire to do something about it. And through education, we can dispel myths surrounding the poor, such as the ever popular, “They are poor because they’re lazy. They could get a job if they really wanted to.” My own mother has told me this. Dr. Vendana Shiva, the author of over 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals, says that, “The poor are not poor because they are lazy or their governments are corrupt. They are poor because their wealth has been appropriated and wealth creating capacity destroyed.”(4) As we have seen, because of poor education systems, many are unable to get a decent education and higher level jobs are cut off because of that. But, there are those who don’t believe that and shun the poor. A Missouri woman interviewed by the CCHD told them that, “Society tends to believe that if people are poor it is their fault...poor children are not treated as well in school because the teachers seem to feel they are a waste of time anyway.”(3) So, children are being punished for others’ ignorance. This is unacceptable. It comes down to knowing what the real problems are so that everyone is on the same page and can work to a solution that will work. But, simply improving education will not solve our problem. We need to take a look at welfare and the situation of families in poverty.

    Welfare and Families

    In 1996, The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act proposed to change the welfare system into one based in the American ideals of independence and self-sufficiency. It was met with harsh criticism and was predicted to result in more damage than good. However, the welfare reform proved to be a roaring success, consistently lowering poverty rates all across the country. But there is still room for improvement. To increase self-sufficiency, we need to recognize and alleviate problems related to marriage and family formation. A proposal by President Bush in 2002 shows examples of what we could do. His plan had three parts to it: The first involved requiring welfare recipients to devote 40 hours in a week to work and programs designed to help them achieve independence. Twenty-four of the 40 hours would be devoted to work, and the rest would be spent in education, job training, and substance abuse programs. By increasing this number to say, 50 hours a week, just think of how much more they could accomplish by working more and spending more time in such programs. The second part involved increasing child care programs, to help alleviate the cost that would come out of the parent(s)’ pockets. It seeks to increase the spending by $800 million by 2007. We could even further increase spending beyond the year 2007 to even further assist families who need it. The third and final part of the proposal involved marriage and family issues. Problems such as teen pregnancies and unstable families are detrimental to the overall well-being of the family and contributes to that family going into poverty. Whether it be through substance abuse or simply the inability to pay for a child because the parents are too young, it is a problem that needs to be addressed. We can solve this problem by funding programs that deal with these types of problems and funding research to find better ways to solve them. Poverty Research News reports that, "Studies have found, for instance, that communication and conflict resolution are key skills in strong, enduring marriages. Other promising approaches include couple-to-couple mentoring, interventions for couples in crisis, and programs to prevent domestic violence. Some states have achieved noteworthy results, as have a good many faith-based and other private organizations." By giving even more funding to these types of programs, that have already shown success, and research that can produce even more success, we can attain stronger and longer-lasting families that will be independent and self-sufficient and provide a nurturing environment for their children. And again, I talk about putting more and more money into existing programs and promoting the creation of even more programs and the question of ‘Where shall we find the money?’ once again rears its oh-so-lovely head.

    Funding

    Once again, we can find more than enough money in our government’s waste. The Heritage Foundation, “whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense”, reports that if we seriously pursued remedying government waste, we could easily recover $100 billion and listed ten ways that this could be achieved.(5) I shall go into detail about one: According to the Department of Treasury’s 2003 Financial Report of the United States Government, we lost $25 billion in unreconciled transactions, which are funds for which auditors cannot account for. In other words, the government knows that $25 billion was spent by someone, somewhere, and on something, but not who, when, or what.(6) That’s $25 billion that just went down the toilet.

    The Congressional Budget Options report presents options for altering federal spending and revenues. By cutting certain programs, we gain hundreds of millions of dollars. For example, there is a proposal to add two new active army divisions, in response to the prolonged conflict in Iraq. This proposal would cost $77.6 billion over nine years. The problem with this proposal is that it would take too long and cost too much to create these divisions for a problem that may not last long enough for them to be of any use. The burden that is created by the current conflict may be lessened in five years and the need for these extra divisions will no longer be necessary. There is also the problem of long-term fiscal obligations that come with this proposal, some of which may last decades after. Proposals such as this can be cut and the money saved can be spent on social programs.(7)

    What Can You As An Individual Do?

    You as an individual can help the process of alleviating poverty by donating money to organization such as the CCHD or the Center on Poverty or volunteering your time for such organizations. You can visit the World Volunteer Web @ http://www.worldvolunteerweb.org to search for service events in your community. You can also find and contact your local senators here and write to them about any questions you may have about this or other issues.




    Center on Poverty @ The University of North Carolina




    Sources
    1) http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/09/16/BUG5BEOD4L1.DTL
    2) http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/poverty04/pov04fig03.pdf
    3) http://www.usccb.org/cchd/issueone.pdf
    4) http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2005-05/11shiva.cfm
    5) http://www.jcpr.org/newsletters/vol6_no3/index.html
    6) http://fms.treas.gov/fr/03frusg.html
    7) http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=6075&sequence=2

    Picture Sources
    No Child Left Behind Badge - http://doe.k12.hi.us/nclb/images/NoChildLeftBehind147.jpg
    Poverty Level Graph - http://geocities.com/mooshly3/poverty_graph.gif
    CCHD Button - http://www.nccbuscc.org/cchd/images/logo-1-eng.gif
    World Volunteer Web Button - http://www.worldvolunteerweb.org/fileadmin/img/wvw/wvw6.gif

    National Education

    National Education


    The “Baby Boomer” generation as we like to call it led the world in new born babies producing over hundreds and hundreds of new borne at a rapid rate. As the United States population increases, the amount of children as well as adults who needs schooling grows as well. Education in the United States is provided by the government, with three primary levels who fund the education program: Federal, State and Local. Schooling in most states of America is not mandatory, based on a families beliefs or situations, they are able to freely decide whether or not they send their children to school or not too school, to a public school or a private school. In the United states, our country bases its education programming on a system where there is a grade school, middle school, high school, and depending on the person they can pursue their education further into college. Before elementary or grade school, kids are usually sent to Kindergarten or a place where ABC’s basic morals values are taught. Grade school is your basic grammar school, teaching kids from the age of about five to eleven, depending on the grade the child is in. The United States bases its beliefs on the Constitution, where basic morals and norms are written down. In Kindergarten, teachers are to teach young kids the simple rules that adults use everyday such as the “Golden Rule,” or how to share, simple things such as that. The education of a child is very important because it is not only about book smarts or their IQ, but it teaches them right from wrong, and how to make their way into the fast pace society that the people of the United States live in. Next in a Childs education after elementary is middle school. Middle school is those good old teenage days that you’re parents always talk about. “Back in the day, I remember when a can of coke used to be ten cents,” the good old days. Middle school is where the learning and more complex issues are introduced. After grammar school, kids should know the basic principles of math, English, social studies and science. They are taught to memorize information and to retain it, but in Middle school they are taught to question, to ask why? The educational system that America abides by is a carefully thought through program, developing a Childs brain not at rapid paces, but at a slow and more hands on approach. Last but not the end of the road when it comes to education is high school. The years where grades start to count, studying becomes long and late agonizing hours that carry on throughout the night and even into the morning that is what high school is all about. Prep for college and the real world, high school teaches kids about how to manage their money, how to write a thesis paper for college and how to give back to their community. You may agree that the way the United States decides to teach their kids is a full proof method, which it may expect for there are many underlying issues. Money, teachers, and facilities are just a couple to the name the few as to why the education in America is not all that it could be.

    schoolbus.jpg

    Education in America is suffering, not only locally but nationally, with a low literacy rate compared to other developed country with a reading rate of about 86-98% of people over the age of 15 who can read (Education). This may not seem low but compared to the size of America, the maybe ten percent of those who cannot read are actually in the millions. But has anyone ever asked the question why? Like we were taught in middle school, ask the question why. Why is it that America prides itself on being one of the most dominate countries in the world when around ten percent of its nation can’t even read? As much of an illusion as it may seem, the United States is no longer the riches country in the world, in fact it’s not even close. Funding plays not only a big role in local educational systems but plays a major factor in national education systems. Pay checks for teachers don’t just cut it anymore, and without teachers, how can schools continue? (NEA) Lack of funding for the teachers are not only the problem, but school supplies, facilities, and transportation for kids also play a role in this complex issue. If a kid can’t get to school how are they expected to attend and learn? Because the government doesn’t make schooling more accessible to people who can’t afford cars, or even to ride the bus, the children along with adults of America suffer. Because funding is such a problem when it comes to education, you wonder what the country spends all the tax payers’ dollars on. You see some money going to education, you see even more money going to the war, and you see more going to buildings and comfortable living for the president. Right now in this day and age, one of the biggest costs we are currently dealing with is the war in Iraq. Draining money from the government for missiles, top secret cameras and more ammo that can fit in a state, the money left over is not much to deal with, a couple dollars here and there to the homeless, to some education programs, and some to a new jet for the white house. The funding from the government isn’t adequately distributed, and people wonder why the United States is one day going to no longer lead the world in technology. Education doesn’t only affect one set of people, it affects everyone. African Americans, Babies, and even Muslims, education plays a role in everyone’s lives. An act passed in 2001 called the “No Child Left Behind” law which raises the bar and sets a higher standard, motivating teachers and kids a like is lacking funding because the president cut money in order to be able to provide for the war in Iraq (White House)

    nclb_banner.jpg

    Because education is a necessity for human survival, it primarily takes a toll on everyone, and people to come. Through the past and projecting into the future, education will always play a vital role in the world whether it is from the Chinese to the Filipinos or from the babies to adults. Because education is what got humans to where we are today such as the invention of the cars, to more pressing discoveries such as medical cures or procedures, we need kids and future generations to get good educations so they can carry on the legacy and continue to grow and a whole world, not just countries.


    http://www.nea.org/index.html
    http://cnets.iste.org/
    http://www.nationaled.net/
    http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/technology/plan/2004/site/edlite-default.html
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/education/

    History of Pre-K and Primary Education in America

    Horace Mann (1796-1859), the “Father of American Education”, started federal education as we know it. As Secretary of the Board of Education, Mann started the first public school and instigated the first mandatory sixth-month school year for children ages 8-14 in 1839. While in office, Mann established fifty public schools throughout the country. He believed that through public education, children from families who could not afford costly private education could escape poverty and other social vices. He called education the “great equalizer”.¹
    mann.jpg

    The McGuffey Readers were one of the primary tools used by educators in the middle of the 19th century. These were books that many teachers used in the classroom to teach children. The books encouraged young children to be “prompt, good, kind and honest”. They also included basic education such as, English, math and science.²
    Kindergarten was originally started in Germany by Friedrich Froebel in 1837. Kindergarten taught young children (ages 3-5) basic social skills, such as sharing and basic skills for learning through play. It did not gain popularity in the United States until the end of the 19th century when the National Education Association started the Department of Kindergarten Instruction in 1884.³
    Although public education in America was primarily started in the mid 1800s, it underwent significant change in the late 1800s and the early 1900s from the Progressive movement. During this time period, a substantial number of immigrants arrived from Europe every year. The schools were therefore used as a method of Americanizing the immigrants’ children. The children were taught English and encouraged to be and act American.&sup4 For African Americans, schools were segregated as a result of Plessy v. Ferguson. Although in theory the schools were equal, the African American schools were vastly inferior to the schools for white children. During the Progressive period, what were previously one-room schoolhouses containing children of all ages, were divided up into grades. Hiring children to work in factories became illegal and thusly the enrollment in public schools increased.&sup5
    After World War II the federal government changed its goals for public education. Once the Soviets had launched Sputnik, Americans realized that Russia was out competing them in the math and science department. Therefore, President Eisenhower emphasized math and science in primary schools and high schools.&sup6
    In the 1960’s Lyndon Johnston began the War on Poverty. As part of this war, Johnston started the Head Start preschools. These preschools received government money and were managed by local charity organizations.&sup7 At the time studies showed that students who went to preschool performed better in high school. Some recent studies now suggest that although children who went to preschool do better in Kindergarten and grade school, the beneficial effects decrease until they are nullified by the time they get to high school.&sup8 The results of these studies are controversial and are not conclusive. Head Start is still in effect today.
    Ever since the 1980’s, America’s schools have lagged behind the schools of the rest of the world. What was once the king of the public educational hill is now ranked below Japan and many of the rest of the developed nations. No one knows for certain how our schools deteriorated to such a degree. Some blame mismanagement; some blame the lack of federal spending; others attribute our pour performance to the improvement of education in other countries. Regardless of the cause(s), America has attempted to remedy its educational woes.
    In the late 80s and early 90s the federal government started the Goals 2000 program. Officially signed into law in 1994, this program set goals that should be met by the public school system by the year 2000. To see a list of these goals, one can go to the following website:
    . Goals 2000 met limited success and, ironically, did not reach all of its goals.&sup9
    The current national program for public education is the No Child Left Behind Act. While the actual bill is hundreds of pages long, the short version is as follows. The schools that improve the most (this includes not just the average but also sub-groups such as minorities and children from low-income families) receive the most funding. Teachers for primary schools must have at least a bachelor’s degree and pass the state tests for various subjects including reading, writing, and mathematics. If schools do not improve and receive a poor rating, the parents will be contacted and given the option of transferring their children to another school in the district. Instead of just giving schools with a poor record more and more money, the No Child Left Behind Act holds schools partially accountable for their poor performance. Critics claim that No Child Left Behind gives the federal government too much power and takes control away from the community, which is arguably the most influential factor in public education. Despite the criticism, test scores are improving. Unlike Goals 2000 and other efforts to reform education, this act may actually live up to expectations.¹0
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    ¹ http://www.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/mann.html
    ² http://www.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/mcguffey.html
    ³ http://www.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/kindergarten.html
    &sup4 Brinkley, Alan The Unfinished Nation (487)
    &sup5 http://www.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/grading.html
    &sup6 Brinkley, Alan (788)
    &sup7 http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/hsb/about/history.htm
    &sup8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_Start
    &sup9 http://www.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/goals200.html
    ¹0 http://en.www.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_child_left_behind


    National Standard of Living/Drug Abuse

    National Standard of Living/Drug Abuse: What Should Be Done;
    Stacie Holguin

    What should be done to help destroy the close relationship between poverty and drug abuse nationally is very similar to what should be done locally. More opportunities to escape the poor quality of life would be the ideal way to improve the current situation.
    Some of the poorest cities in the country have the highest rate of drug abuse. Areas in the mid-west in rural conditions and low populations are surprisingly becoming very highly ranked among drug users. States such as Texas are experiencing an influx of Mexican immigrants, creating an ‘underclass,’ are now experiencing a decline of average income and an increase in drug abuse.
    Not only is there a flourish in illegal drug markets, but in these neighborhoods there is rampant crime and violence. Drug related crimes should begin to have harsher penalties and sentences so that potential users could think twice before they ever snort their first line of cocaine. Illicit drug use hurts innocent families, businesses, and cities as a whole. It hinders education and suffocates criminal justice, health, and social service systems. Children who are forced to grow up in these awful conditions should undergo counseling and aid however possible to insure that they have a chance to choose a different life from their parents.
    It is essential that public education becomes more widespread and frequent. Many potential users don’t understand the dangers of drugs, and how it is a choice between life and drugs. People often think that they are a lot stronger than they really are, they think that they’re different and won’t get addicted. This is human nature, but they are not educated enough to realize that drugs will break them down and can easily take complete control of their life. Drugs can be especially appealing if one is struggling with getting through their daily life because of the bad situation they are living in due to a lack of money. Drugs can appear to be an escape, something that makes them feel content for a change, you can’t blame someone for trying to cling onto that feeling. With little to no income, not being able to provide for yourself and/or family must make one feel like a failure. It is in this vulnerable position that people frequently turn to drugs. This is why more opportunities for individuals must be accessible so that at least they make the choice on which path to follow. Drug education in poor areas and public schools is a must because that way we have a chance to prevent children from beginning to use. That way hopefully the cycle of drug abuse will gradually weaken, and potentially even stop.

    160_meth_use_050811.jpg

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lowest_income_counties_in_the_United_States
    http://www.answers.com/topic/lowest-income-counties-in-the-united-states
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/htm/chapter2.htm

    National: Standard of Living/Drug Abuse: What Can Be Done?
    Kate Ganiron

    A startling 12.8 million Americans use illegal drugs on a current basis and about 45% of all Americans know someone with a drug problem, A lot can be done to prevent this problem of drug abuse. Treatment and therapy can be available for no cost. Considering these people are already struggling financially, free drug abuse therapy is ideal. A variety of different kinds of drug abuse treatment are also ideal. Mental and physical therapy is much needed in these poverty stricken lives.
    Although the government addresses the issue of drug abuse, they are not doing enough. The government can make sure that nationwide, treatment is readily available and that everyone and anyone who needs treatment get helped. Drug addiction can be treated with behavioral therapy, and even medication. However, the use of medication should be carefully prescribed because the drug users are used to addiction and might become dependent on their medication.
    The drug users themselves can be doing so much more to fight their addiction. It is a stigma that some doctors won’t treat addicts, but they do. Drug users are also afraid of seeking professional help because of embarrassment, laziness, or fear of failure. Therefore, many people don’t seek help at all. Americans believe that drug abuse is not their problem. They are unemployed because of the fear of rejection because of their drug use. However, what’s scary is that almost 75% of drug users are indeed employed. People tend to turn to drugs to manage stress, improve their social skills, and to just feel good for one moment in time. However, in the long run, this spells out trouble. Drug use leads to numerous health problems, personal problems, and violence.
    The only impact we could have on this situation is to have available free drug abuse therapy and to educate children about the effects on drug abuse early on. In therapy sessions, resistance, decision and social skills can be improved. Users can learn to say no to drugs, set high goals and standards for themselves, and learn how to live a life drug free. Decision-making skills are crucial in the drug prevention process. Understanding the importance of good decisions and alternatives to drug abuse are key to a successful recovery.
    Studies have shown that early drug use in the home leads to drug use in the next generation. Early drug use leads to umpteen health related problems, unproductive and out of control behavior, delinquency, premature sexual activity, and violence and involvement in the criminal justice system.
    If conditions don’t change in the future, we are looking at an even bigger problem for America because if drug abuse grows, we are a society doomed for poverty and stupidity.

    addiction.jpg

    America’s Drug Abuse Problem. http://www.ncjrs.gov/htm/chapter2.htm
    National Institute on Drug Abuse. http://www.nida.nih.gov/about/welcome/aboutdrugabuse/stigma/
    Prevention Programs: What Are the Critical Factors That Spell Success?. http://www.nida.nih.gov/MeetSum/CODA/Critical.html


    National: Standard of Living/Drug Abuse: History/Current Issue
    Brooke Ehrman

    Drug abuse has been an issue in America for an extensive period of time. It did not just come about one day and grow as an issue for our country. The use of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and other substances in America can be dated all the way back to 1919. Data can show anyone that in 1919, however, the issue of drug abuse was nowhere near where it is today. Like many other issues, it has grown gradually over time into the huge problem it is considered today by many American citizens.
    According to studies conducted by the NHSDA, World War 2, which took place in the 1940s, changed the amount of drug use for the majority of users in America greatly. Not only did people use more and more of the already-existing drugs, but new drugs were also introduced that became largely popular to many. From 1930 to 1940, only 3 drugs were used more than 1% by people before the age of 35, including alcohol, cigarettes (tobacco), and marijuana. During the postwar period, 10 drugs were used more than 5% by people before the age of 35, including alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens like LSD, inhalants, stimulants, tranquilizers, sedatives, and analgesics. The use of heroin also increased from 0.2% to 3% during/shortly following the war.
    What caused the increase in nationwide drug use, you ask? In that time period, there may have been different reasons for drug abuse than the reasons people have today. That is not to say that any reason for using illicit drugs is substantial or acceptable. After all, we must remember that use of these drugs is entirely illegal. It was not always illegal, however, for people to use these kinds of drugs. For example, during the hippie era (the 1960s), when LSD was first introduced, it was not illegal, and people used it freely as an “escape” from the harsh realities of the society they lived in. Eventually, it became illegal due to the health problems and dangers it created, just like all the other illicit drugs in America today.
    Decades ago, people, especially young people, used drugs to escape. Today, people still use drugs as a form of escape, but it is believed that what these people are escaping from has changed drastically over time. Before, users were trying to escape from strict societies, rough life changes, and what they believed was an unjust ruling government. Users were trying to take a stand and show people that complete freedom brought more happiness. In turn, they used drugs to let their minds go wild. While on drugs, people could think of new and original ideas or concepts as to how to live their lives, and the flow of originality and freedom that they got from the drugs left them wanting more... and more... and more.
    It is clear that using drugs are said to help in alleviating the pressure put on people to obey guidelines for living, but today, there are different kinds of pressures that people are trying to get away from, and those pressures have a lot to do with the need to succeed, the need for money, the need for power, the need to be better than others, and the need to survive. Money can make people or break people. The American economy runs the American society, in a sense, and it has come to this: all people care about is how much money they have and how much “stuff” they can get with their money. The standard of living has gotten much higher over the years, and the value of the dollar can easily be considered the same as the value of a life.
    Everyday you hear people saying, “money can’t buy happiness,” but have you ever really taken a look at the kinds of people saying that? The people saying “money can’t buy happiness” are the people with the money. Those without money, the people experiencing poverty, are living their lives on the other end of the spectrum, and we usually notice that the people without money are the people with more “problems,” including drug abuse.
    That doesn’t necassarily mean poverty leads straight to drug abuse. However, poverty leads to certain attitudes, behaviors, and life conditionsthat can easily lead to drug abuse.
    In 2001, and estimated 15.9 million Americans over the age of 12 were using illicit drugs. Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in America, being used by 76% of the users in 2001. Among adults over the age of 18 in 2001, college graduates had the lowest rate of drug use. A good education leads to a good job with a good income. Many uneducated people end up experiencing poverty moreso than people who have an education to fall back on.
    People experiencing poverty tend to lose hope in themselves and start to believe they have nowhere to go in life. That is when drugs come into the picture. People start using drugs and continue using drugs to the point where they need drugs to sleep at night and to wake up in the morning.
    This issue is a very unfortunate one that will not be solved if we do not take action. We must save not only our local community from this monster we have created ourselves, but the whole nation, let alone world is in dire need of our help!

    sources:
    1)http://www.policyalmanac.org/crime/archive/drug_abuse.shtml
    2)http://www.bookrags.com/other/drugs/poverty-and-drug-use-dat-03.html
    3)http://web21.epnet.com/citation.asp?

    National Energy Crisis

    National Energy Crisis
    1. The History of Energy Use in America:
    Kim Takata

    Imagine using a candle to lighten your work space or to lighten an entire city street. It’s hard to imagine a world with out electricity or any kind of current source of energy. America is one of the most modernized and industrialized nations in the world and relies so heavily on fossil fuels and power plants. However our nation was not always so advanced. Before the Industrial Revolution we were dependent on organic and natural sources of energy like the sun, the water, and the wind.
    Prior to the Industrial Revolution people were dependent on fire for heating water, cooking food, extracting metals, firing clay and making any changes to raw materials. They also used animals to help in transportation and to harvest the agriculture. As time went on they began to use the water and wind for transportation across the seas and for more advanced technology like the water powered mills. Fossil fuels and coal mining became popular during the Industrial Revolution as they were both major contributors to the building of the transcontinental railroad and smaller steam engines. As transportation across the nation became more frequent people were able to transport coal and fuel outside of their former localized sites.
    In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century electricity became a necessity in most American households, and oil and gas burning engines became popular. People enjoyed the new technologies because they did not require as much physical labor our reliance on natural substances. By the mid twentieth century the oil fields of the Middle East and North Africa were discovered and the United States as well as many other developing nations became totally dependent on their abundance. After World War II nuclear energy sources also became very popular and the research for alternative energy started. Up until this point people were using oil and fuel like water. No one cared or noticed the effects of burning fuels on the environment and sustainability didn’t seem like a practical problem.
    The late twentieth century, also known as the “post- industrial” era, turned its focus toward the future of energy use and it effects on the environment. The nations focus moved from manufacturing goods to providing services, communication techniques, and providing public information through increased research and technology. People became educated about conservation and the negative effects that were connected to the burning of fossil fuels and started to worry about the depletion of the ozone.
    Currently people are still worried about these negative effects and research for renewable and alternative energy sources continues.

    2. The Current Energy Situation:
    Kim Takata

    Over the past few decades the United States industrial growth has paralleled its use of large-scale fuels. Americans are well aware of the unhealthy fuel practices because they are either directly involved in the practices or are indirectly affected by them. Currently the environment is most affected by the use of fossil fuels and oils; however, America’s next long term problem is sustainability and social tensions. The energy problems of modern society affect everyone because we are all consumers of commercial goods which are dependent on energy sources and our lives and comfort may quickly be affected by a potential energy crisis if matters are not controlled soon.
    The environment is a very fragile because it requires very specific conditions to maintain the life that it supports. Global warming, acid rain, oil pollution and radioactive/ nuclear waste are the main environmental concerns of the twenty first century. Global warming refers to the gradual increase in the Earth’s surface temperature due to the increased concentration of “greenhouse” gases. The most significant and hazardous gas to our environment is the carbon dioxide that is released through the burning of fossil fuels. Global warming has the potential to affect all life on Earth, and the conditions that sustain a comfortable and cooperative living environment between the various living creatures.
    Acid rain is also an environmental problem that is a result of burning fossil fuels that release sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. When the gases mix with the water in our atmosphere they precipitate highly acidic forms of water, which can be extremely hazardous to the environment. Approximately 71% of sulfur dioxide pollution comes from power stations and 51% of nitrogen dioxide comes from road transport. The acid poses many threats to the environment and our agriculture. Acid rain also has the potential to deplete entire forests and to corrode metal objects.
    Although oil pollution has had great impacts on the seas it is not limited to the impact it has on marine creatures. At the mid- twentieth century when the oil industry became increasingly competitive suppliers were quick to find ways that would maximize their sales and efficiency. As oil was demanded and traded internationally the oil tankers quickly became the biggest commercial water vehicles. Americans are constantly made aware of the amount of pollution that fills its coast because headlines have consistently reported oil spills from tankers, rigs, and storage facilities. Marine life is killed, and societies dependence on seafood and transport is also hindered.
    After the introduction of nuclear weapons in World War II scientists and engineers have researched and tried to promote the “green” technology. They call it green because it doesn’t emit any carbon dioxide, but current problems have lead Americans to question what is more dangerous, carbon dioxide pollution or nuclear waste. One of the driving forces behind our industrial evolution is the development of new materials. However, technology has become far more advanced than can be controlled, especially in the case of nuclear and radioactive energy that is highly unpredictable. Many of the first generation reactors are ageing and have cracks which may release radioactive material or which may breakdown and force materials to react inappropriately.
    Sustainability has haunted America ever since its first fuel crisis in 1973, when we transitioned from being a huge oil exporter to an importer. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was able to exploit the oil industry when Texas oil rigs went dry, and the demand from both America and its recipients went up. Since the crisis government has had to consider fuel opportunities as a factor in its international relationships. Since 1992 no major reserves have been found, yet the world’s supply was only predicted to last it 65 years at the time. One of the major issues with sustainability is that all of the cheap, easily accessed, and most promising reservoirs have already been found and the skepticism of finding the next is a daunting burden.
    Some of the social problems which are linked to energy supply are the political and economic tensions between trading nations, the vulnerability that many refineries and power stations face due to centralization, and the development of nuclear weapons from power plants. Currently 60% of the world’s oil reserves are in the Middle East; 25% being in Saudi Arabia. Because most of the world’s large oil reserves are in third world countries, the big industrializing nations have become dependent on the smaller supplying ones. Because America is so dependent on the Middle East it must dominate and or control those nations politically, economically, and militarily, to prevent any exploitation our lack of future supply. The foreign nations have a great impact on many of America nations through fuel supplies and so it is therefore important for the government to have good relations with those countries.
    After the terrorist attacks on America in 2001 the government has focused on improving our national homeland security and must continue to ponder these threats as we continue to live through a nuclear age. The fear is that large oil refineries and power plants have the potential to be vulnerable targets because there demolition would have such a major impact on our society, and economy.
    And lastly, the nuclear electricity industry creates an opportunity for nuclear weapons development. Many countries have used the nuclear energy industry to create nuclear weapons. Many nations including America have already developed enough nuclear weapons to destroy all of the populated land on Earth. Yet we keep those weapons and publicly reveal our collections as a source of power and potential capabilities. When many nations end up with the same idea, the littlest dispute or struggle for power may resort in the use of the dangerous weapons which are extremely unpredictable and dangerous to our society.

    3. What can potentially be done?
    Kim Takata

    The nation’s reliance on fossil fuels and oil poses many threats to the environment and social policies, as well as the sustainability issue. If anything could be done to solve these problems, the use of and research for renewable energy sources would certainly be focused on. Renewable energy comes in many forms, is generally recycled, natural, distributed reasonably throughout our nation, and is limitless when it comes to availability. We have already solved the problem of have to worry about foreign countries holding the power to our economic and political system and of running out of it. So why haven’t we resorted to the renewable sources?
    Renewable energy sources are quite new, although many forms are already used across the nation. In order for major industries to run on renewable sources we must develop ways of converting the natural energies into usable forms. If it were possible to run the entire nation on renewable energy sources our country would be a lot more independent. For example if every single household in America used solar water heaters and photovoltaics we would be able to naturally heat our water as long as the sun existed. Another way to create free and sustainable energy is by using wind turbines. The kinetic energy that comes from the wind is converted into mechanical energy which can be generated into electricity. So why don’t we use solar and wind energy? Many parts of our nation don’t receive adequate solar or wind sources and the cost of building the converters is very discouraging to taxpayers who don’t see the long term sustainability benefits.
    Another potential solution to our energy crisis would be to use biomass as a major energy source. Biomass is all natural and its current sources are mainly wood, animal dung, and straw. One of the problems with biomass is that we cannot use it faster than we can supply it because it can easily destroy many of our forests and natural lands. Biomass also includes the converting of carbohydrates into liquid fuel. America currently uses ethanol from sugar cane and corn as a fuel additive to decrease the amount of pure fossil fuel that is used. Another idea that has been experimented with but not probable to support the entire nation is automobiles run on vegetable oil. Automobiles can run on many diesel alternatives including used vegetable oil. Many of the fast food industries who use oil for frying have donated their used oil to the ‘biodiesel’ industry who run their equipment on renewable sources. Wouldn’t it be cool if vegetable oil was a more regular diesel choice across the country? (Especially since most people just store their old oil in jars under their sinks).
    To solution to most of our current problems is to be careful and to use our resources efficiently. In order to continue running on fossil fuels and power stations we must tend to the environmental hazards such as air and water pollution. Whether it would be worth it to create pollution filtering systems or to move toward renewable sources is one debate that includes the consideration of our economy, our political and international relationships, and our ability to sustain these sources.

    4. Realistically what can/should be done?
    Edward Vause

    Realistically speaking, there is a great deal that can be done for alternative energy and relieving reliance on oil. The commonly heard ideas include nuclear, geothermal, wind, solar, hydrogen, hydro-, bio-, and natural gas energy. Believe it or not, all of the above are being used today, but most are used in insignificant quantity. As I browsed their website, I found it amusing how the Department of Energy (DOE) commonly states something like, the DOE “supports the U.S. geothermal industry” or “seeks the advancement of” some alternative energy source, etc. It seems very political, in that they are saying things that people want to hear. It’s not as if they are not doing what they are saying, but the results have yet to arrive, due simply to the low level of commitment that authorities have been giving energy issues.
    I would now like to bring our attention to the last State of the Union address. The president touched on the topic of alternative energy, mainly to address the issue of reliance on Middle-Eastern oil. He stated that “Breakthroughs on this [ethanol energy] and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.” As you can see, the president mentions things like breakthroughs and the American technological talent.
    Of course, the State of the Union address is designed to be a bit of a pep rally. But honestly, all that is really necessary to move to Bush’s goals is the incentive to put in the necessary resources, which means money. And with a stifling trade deficit and a huge portion of the American populace screaming to leave Iraq, neither the country’s officials or the masses have the opportunity to anything major about energy.
    I’m sorry if this sounds political, but the heart of the issue is just that. The fundamental point that I am trying to get across here is that the solution to this problem does not lie in the technological advance, but in the heads of people. Realistically speaking, then, we must simply put massive funds into producing alternative energy sources, rather than being shy and politically engaged around the topic, and this can only be accomplished through the demands of the public

    Sources:
    1. Berger, John J. Charging Ahead: The Business of Renewable Energy and What it Means for America. Henry Holt and Company Inc: New York, 1997.

    2. Boyle, Godfrey. Renewable Energy: Power for a Sustainable Future. Oxford University Press: New York, 1998.

    3. Hostetter, Martha. Energy Policy. H.W. Wilson Company: USA, 2002.

    4. http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2006/index.html

    5. http://www.energy.gov/

    6. http://www.eia.doe.gov/ (Random statistics)

    Special Education on a National Level

    The History
    Rachel Yamashita

    Children with disabilities had it rough. During the 1800's, most people, because they didn't have a thorough understanding of what disabilities were, labeled people with disabilities "morons" or "feeble-minded" and thought that they were beyond human ability to teach. However, certain individuals like Samuel Gridley Howe (director of the Perkins School for the Blind whom established the Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feeble-Minded Youth in 1848) helped create schools for people with disabilities. These people tried to help these disabled kids become "productive members of their communities."

    Helen Keller is a famous example of a disabled child who overcame her disabilities. When Helen was 19 months old, she fell extremely ill, so ill that her parents thought she would die. When she recovered, Helen lost her sight and her sense of hearing. It would be difficult and frustrating to live life without the sense of sight and/or hearing. She would throw tantrums and break dishes; her relatives saw her as a monster. Helen's family, desperate to help Helen, looked for help for their daughter. Anne Sullivan, a woman who lost most of her sight by the time she was five (because of her poor sight, she had trouble finding a job), took the offer to teach Helen Keller. Helen Keller was still a problem child, eating food with her hands and taking food from other people's plates and throwing tantrums. Anne and Helen moved to a cottage for a quiet environment to work in to help improve Helen's behavior. During their stay at the cottage, Helen learned how to behave, but still didn't understand the meaning of the words that Anne tried to teach her. Then one day...

    "As Anne pumped the water over Helen’s hand, Anne spelled out the word “water” in the girl’s free hand. Something about this explained the meaning of words within Helen, and Anne could immediately see in her face that she finally understood. Helen later recounted the incident:

    'We walked down the path to the well house, attracted by the fragrance of the honey-suckle with which it was covered. Someone was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten, a thrill of returning thought, and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me.'

    Helen immediately asked Anne for the name of the pump to be spelt on her hand and then the name of the trellis. All the way back to the house Helen learned the name of everything she touched and also asked for Anne’s name. Anne spelled the name “Teacher” on Helen’s hand. Within the next few hours Helen learnt the spelling of thirty new words. Helen’s progress from then on was astonishing. Her ability to learn was far in advance of anything that anybody had seen before in someone without sight or hearing. It wasn’t long before Anne was teaching Helen to read, firstly with raised letters and later with Braille, and to write with both ordinary and Braille typewriters."

    Though Helen Keller was (and still is) a very famous figure in her time, it didn't help the other disabled kids during the war. Institutions were being built for children with disabilities; there was at least one state-supported institution in each state. Parents would usually send their kids to these institutions because of the "inability of many families to meet the financial needs of their sons or daughters with disabilities; the lack of educational services contributed" and the parents' belief that their (disabled) children were able to receive an education only when put in an institution. However, during the war, many of the people working in these institutions were drafted for the war, leaving the institutions with an insufficient number of workers. "Admissions to public institutions, however, continued to increase." This led to packed rooms and worse living conditions for (disabled) people residing at the institution(s).

    "During the late 1940s and early 1950s, there was a reawakening of hope and possibilities for persons with disabilities. Frustrated and angry over poor living conditions and the lack of community services, parents began to organize and demand services for their sons and daughters." These parents also tried to improve the conditions of the institutions. "President John F. Kennedy, whose sister Rosemary had mental retardation, launched the President's Panel on Mental Retardation and developed a 'plan to combat mental retardation.' "

    A story related to the above sentence is the story of the nurses at the Corcoran Cottage at Sonoma State Hospital in California who made an effort to improve the lives of the severely mentally retarded children, most (or all) of which were considered "hopeless cases". The nurses went to work feeding the children, changing their diapers, and so forth; it wasn't a very exciting job. The trained specialists that worked with the children only worked with the children that had "some hope of improvement". Most children were left to die in the beds because people thought that there was nothing more they could do for the children. The nurses then decided to find ways to make life more pleasant for the children at Corcoran Cottage. A trained specialist came over once in a while to Corcoran Cottage to teach the nurses (and the parents) how they could fix the atrophy of the children's muscles and correct some of the children's body structures. The nurses took thorough interest in these lessons and implemented them on the children. As time passed, the children, who before could only lie on their backs, learned how to sit up and support their heads; they also learned how to chew their food when they didn't know how to before. The children's parents started interacting with the kids. Instead of looking at a white ceiling all day, the children got to see many different things: the sun, the blue sky, water in the pool, etc. They got to feel things they never felt before like grass, globs of paint on a piece of paper, the familiar touch of a family member or the nice, warm fur of a pet. To most people, it doesn't seem a lot, but it meant the world to these special kids.

    "In the 1960s, advocates sought a Federal role in providing leadership and funding for efforts to provide a free appropriate public education, or FAPE, to children with disabilities." Parent groups also worked to close institutions due to the institutions lack of providing the needs for their children. "IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, mandates that eligible children with disabilities have available to them special education and related services designed to address their unique educational needs." Yet, even with this Act passed in1965, Congress had determined that millions of disabled Americans were still not getting the education they needed a decade later. "The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 mandated a free appropriate public education for all children with disabilities, ensured due process rights, and mandated IEPs (Individual Education Programs) and LRE (Least Restrictive Environment)."

    http://www.parentsinc.org/spedhist.html
    http://ericec.org/faq/spedhist.html
    http://www.mncdd.org/parallels/menu.html
    http://www.rnib.org.uk/xpedio/groups/public/documents/publicwebsite/public_keller.hcsp
    Somebody Waiting

    The Current Situation
    Becky Himuro

    In America, the law defines a child with a disability as “A child evaluated according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as having mental retardation, a hearing impairment including deafness, a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment including blindness, serious emotional disturbance (referred to in IDEA as emotional disturbance), an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, an other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services”.¹ Although the current situation concerning the education for children with special needs in America consists of some problems, the government has recently been trying to improve the status of the issue. Some of the problems that exist in the issue of education for children with special needs are the lack of number in teachers and racial inequity in special education. However, in recent years, the government has stepped in to try and fix these problems in special education along with many others. The government has done this by passing Acts such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act, and the Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act.

    One of the greatest problems in which the issue of education for children with special needs consists is the lack of teachers and volunteers that are available to these children. There are only a small number of teachers who work with students with mental retardation or autism. These teachers primarily teach these children things such as basic literacy and life skills. Most of the teachers who are involved in special education programs deal with children with mild to moderate disabilities.² In order to be a teacher, you must want to make a difference in the lives of children and be very devoted to your job, especially in the field of special education. However, even though special education teachers have a passion for working with students with disabilities and making an impact on their lives, work can be both emotionally and physically tiring. Since they are under so much stress for the most part of the school year teaching these children while also completing paperwork on the progress each child has made so far, many teachers can no longer endure this job. Sadly, many teachers who are involved with special education programs have come to the decision that the low wages that they are earning aren’t worth the draining job of a special education teacher.

    Another problem that relates to the issue of education for children with special needs in American is racial inequity in special education. Racism has been a problem in America for years, and although it has decreased in popularity, it has managed to spread into the area of special education. It has been proven that children of minority, especially African Americans, are more likely to be classified as a child with a disability than white children.³ Because of this and the influence of racism in America, minority children that are enrolled in special education often do not receive the same amount of attention as white children that are enrolled in special education do.

    Because of problems such as these and many more, in 1997, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law. “IDEA guarantees to each child with a disability and in need of special education services, the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) appropriate”.&sup4; The person who decides whether or not a child is eligible for special education and related services is the parent of the child and a team or qualified professionals. If they are indeed eligible for these services, IDEA assures that each of these children will be able to get special education services that are of no cost to the child’s parents. Also, the education that they receive will be based on a public school curriculum and the services they will be offered are “appropriate” for the child’s needs. Since IDEA was passed into law in 1997, it has proven to help with the education for children with special needs around America.

    Another act that was passed in order to better the quality of education for children with special needs in America was the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act, which was passed in 2001. The act was very useful to parents especially because it included that a local education authority must meet with the parents of the child with the disability to discuss the child’s disability and provide advice and information on how to handle certain situations.&sup5; Although the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act hasn’t been as popular as IDEA, it has made quite an impact on the lives of children with disabilities as well as their parents.

    A third act that was passed which was relevant to the issue of education for children with special needs in America was the Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act, which was passed in 2003. This bill had a lot in common with IDEA and also reduced the overwhelming amount of paperwork that special education teachers were required to complete. It also gave new options to parents with children who had disabilities, reduce the number of children who are mistakenly acknowledged for special education, discourage lawsuits, and bring together IDEA and the No Child Left Behind law that was passed in 2002.&sup6;

    Over the past few years, the government has taken initiative and started towards the goal of bettering education for children with special needs in America by passing different laws and acts. However, the government cannot do it on its own. People in different communities all over America need to get involved in order for changes to reach a more personal level.

    SOURCES:
    1. http://www.ldanatl.org/aboutld/parents/special_ed/eligibility.asp
    2. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos070.htm
    3. http://www.gse.harvard.edu/hepg/racialinequity.html
    4. http://www.ldanatl.org.aboutld/parents/special_ed/principles.asp
    5. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2001/20010010.htm 6.http://www.house.gov/ed_workforce/press/press108/04apr/ideaph043003.htm

    What Should We Do?
    Michelle Spitzer

    Have you ever gone to the US department of education website and tried to find information on special education? Probably not, but take it from someone who went to the site with the sole intention of finding information on SpEd programs on a national level, the information is not exactly readily available. After clicking through many seemingly unrelated links, I found one that linked me to an index of SpEd links (check out the second link under sources if you are interested).

    What should we do about the situation of special education in America? Our country has programs set up to help parents, students, and educators give children with special needs an equal quality education.

    One current issue on the special education scene is parent involvement. As an article found on the “Current Issues in Education” Website states, we take it for granted that parents should be involved in their children’s learning and education. The USDOE is now making it mandatory for “local school districts to develop written policies for involving parents in their children's education” (CIE) This sounds great on paper but how will it work when we try to enforce it? A little acknowledged problem is that many parents of children with special needs view school as a way to get that problem off their back. They do not know how to get through to their children so they let the school take the burden and do not continue the education at home. It is important for every child to get a good educational experience at home as well as in the classroom, but when a child has special needs, this need is magnified

    Okay, so parents need to be involved, but what else needs to be done? Homework seems to be a hot topic with special education right now and there is a good reason. Homework is a great learning tool, both for “normal” kids and those with disabilities. It is widely recognized that homework helps to enforce what is learned in the classroom. However, when a child has special needs, homework becomes quite a chore because many things can take these kids much longer to learn than they would a child in a normal situation. Parents complain constantly of how their children have hours upon hours of homework each night, which the parents must help them with. A balance must be found for each child between what should be done each night and what can reasonably be done each night, every child is different in this respect and schools and teachers should be aware and consider that.

    One other problem is the fixation on “normal” families. Research and parental advice through independent firms and schools focus heavily on normal situations. This can make it very hard for the parent of a child with special needs to find the information and support they need to make the best of their student’s situation. As a nation we should have a better awareness and acceptance of the situations of families around us

    So in summary, what should we do? We should become more aware about the situations around us, acknowledge and support not only students with special needs but their parents as well, and evaluate each child individually because every kid is different and when they have special needs this is even more true.

    Sources:
    US DOE Homepage
    US DOE SpEd Index
    Current Issues in Education
    How School Troubles Come Home: The Impact of Homework on Families of Struggling Learners

    What Can We Do?
    Kim Teruya

    What Has Been Done:
    In 2001 President Bush announced his nation wide plan that No Child Be Left Behind (NCLB). His plan for this country acknowledged the growing concern for those children who were being educationally, left behind. This plan put special needs children at the center. ¹ There have been many laws created to help and support those who have special needs. In 1975, Congress passed a law (Education for All Handicapped Children Act) that specifically focused on providing support to states and local organizations so that they could help the children and their families. Since then other acts such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) have been passed and have benefited many children. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) have partnered together to hold schools accountable to high standards. The programs and foundations that are established nation wide help insure local success. The work that the US department of Education does allows for the function and funding of local schools and organizations that help meet the needs of special needs children. ²

    In addition to these helpful acts, the nation has also been split up into 6 different regions. Each region has a head parent center, and within each state there is at least one local parent center. This center allows parents and even teacher to receive information, especially those that are helpful actions when dealing with special needs children. ³


    What Can Be Done:
    In addition to providing organizations to improve the training of teachers, there also needs to be nation wide organizations created to help the parents of special needs children. Each special needs child needs to have a circle of well-equipped guardian angles. Parents are the most important figures in a special needs child’s life. However, being a parent of such a child is not easy. Many parents do not know how to attack such situations and circumstances. If parent support and accountability was heavily encouraged and organizations created at a national level, the chances of it occurring at a local level will increases. ² Currently there are some organizations that help parents cope with their children, but there needs to be an abundance of such organizations. Parents are the first line of defense for children and the possibilities of them living a close to normal life. &sup4;

    Work Cited
    1) http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/leg/idea/history30.html
    2) http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/index.html
    3) http://www.taalliance.org/centers/index.htm
    4) http://www.nasponline.org/neat/terrorism.html


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    In the United States, public school education is primarily the responsibility of each individual state. The state delegates the task of day-to-day operations to school districts at the local level.¹ In addition, the state establishes colleges, develops criteria, and determines requirements for enrollment and graduation.² Basically, the national public school education system is powered by the states.

    This educational system can be traced all the way back to the foundation of the country. After the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson proposed that Americans give a high priority to a "crusade against ignorance".³ Jefferson was also the first to propose a system of free schools for all persons that would be publicly supported by taxes, which basically means that he was the first to propose a school system.³ Then in 1785, the Land Ordinance of 1785 came about. This established a mechanism for funding public education in the United States. Then after a somewhat long recession of education, the Department of Education was founded in 1867 to collect information on schools and teaching that would help the states establish effective school systems.² The foundation of the Department of Education was the start of what would eventually become modern education. However, even though the Department of Education was founded in 1867, the first public school was actually founded in 1821 in Boston.[4]

    The 19th century turned out to be a rather big century for education. The two major changes that came about were kindergarten and teacher training programs. In 1839, Horace Mann began the nation's first teacher-training school in Massachusetts.[4] This was obviously to ensure that teachers would be qualified to teach the youth, foreshadowing what would become a big part of modern education (the qualification of teachers in the classroom) And in 1873, the nation's first kindergarten opened in St. Louis, paving the way for the future.[4] In addition to kindergarten and teacher-training, some minor changes also came about around this time. For example, the Morrill Act of 1890, withheld grants from states that deny admission to schools based on race.[4]

    The 20th century was also a big one for education. For example, World War II led to an expansion of federal support for education. The Lahman Act of 1941 and the Impact Aid laws of 1950, eased the burden on communities affected by the presence of military by making payments to school districts, which in turn, would enhance the districts.² In addition, the GI Bill sent many World War II veterans to college, highlighting the importance of higher education.¹ The Cold War also helped to bring about huge change in education. Because the United States was competing with the Soviet Union at this time, the government wanted to make sure that the most qualified people would be there to help the United States. Therefore, the government gave loans to college students and helped to improve science and mathematics.² Needless to say, the Cold War played a big role in the escalation of education.

    It was something different, however, that changed the face of education forever: the civil rights movement. In 1954, the famous Brown vs Board of Education case led to the desegregation of schools, which was huge.¹ The desegregation of schools meant that African Americans no longer had to go segregated schools, which were often times, not as good as White schools. Furthermore, it helped ensure that everyone got an equal education. In addition to the case, the passing of laws such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Ammendments of 1972 further helped to ensure that everyone got equal education. [4]

    The most recent act toward education was the No Child Left Behind Act, which wants to establish high standards and accountability for the learning of all children regardless of their background or ability.[5] This is a very large act, which discusses many different ways to enhance the learning of children.

    The issue of public primary education in the United States has been a big one. It has gotten to its current situation through years of evolution. The modern education system shows many similarities to the system that was founded back in the 19th century. But many things have been learned over the years to bring educaiton to where it is today. Much emphasis has been put on education mainly because people realize that it is the youth which is the major factor. Educating the youth for the future is the major factor that contributes to the support of the educational system.

    ¹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_education
    ²http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/role.html
    ³http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/refpages/refarticle.aspx?refid=761571494
    [4]http://familyeducation.com/article/0,1120,1-4485,00.html
    [5]http://www.nea.org/esea/index.html
    Cody Noyama

    What is being done Nationally: Head Start

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    Obviously, there exists no one solution for our entire nation’s educational needs. The No Child Left Behind Act, is attempting to solve some problems, but unfortunately, is creating new ones at the same time. I personally believe the NCLB Act should not be reenacted for the new term because it has created too many new issues without adequately addressing some of the original problems. The federal government, however, hasn’t completely failed in assisting our nation’s children. One very successful program has been helping preschool children since 1965.
    The Head Start program delivers a comprehensive and excellent service intended to promote healthy development and maturity in low-income children from ages one to five. The program focuses on medical, dental, and mental health; nutrition; and parent involvement, along with preparing children for a more successful primary education. Health Insurance as well as Medicaid/early and Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) Program are offered to almost 91% of the Head Start children and families.¹
    Similar to some of NCLB’s goals, Head Start’s goal is to narrow the achievement gap that keeps so many low-income American families from reaching their dreams. Since 1965, Head Start has enrolled 21,214,295 children nation wide, making the program one of the most valuable tools for preparing children who live in poverty in America.²
    Despite its success, the Head Start Program was almost dismantled during its reauthorization through the School Readiness Act of 2005. The current administration tried to transition Head Start into a block grant. Fortunately, through much support by educational experts, parents, and teachers, the Head Start program was able to override these attempts to secure its future. Head Start is even undergoing numerous improvements, such as a more significant coordination between Head Start preschools and local public kindergarten programs. Some obstacles still remain. The budget for Head Start has failed to increase for 2006, which could, because of inflation, lead to a reduction in services, a cut on teachers’ salaries, or even an enrollment cut.
    1. www.headstart.info.org
    2.www.oahuheadstart.org

    Ideal Solutions on the National Level

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    The most optimal situation for our primary public school students, would be a large amount of direct funding, by both the state government and the federal government that spread equally to every public school in the state and eliminated gaps between low-income, disabled, struggling children and success. Although this situation is highly idealistic, the federal government has been making some positive steps towards educational reform in the United States, most commonly referred to the No Child Left Behind Act. President Bush signed the NCLB Act of 2001 on January 8, 2002. The Act was initiated to “ensure accountability and flexibility as well as increase federal support for education.”¹ The Act is the first major federal attempt since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965 to support the primarily state and local function of education.
    Although the NCLB Act has made some important improvements, there are certain developments that are causing more harm than good. Manifestly, no single Act can solve every problem in our educational system. Even the strong opposition of the NCLB Act can agree that at least the federal government is attempting to make a difference, and the NCLB Act is drawing more attention to the national public education system and encouraging many to get involved.
    Making the educational system accountable has been the primary goal of NCLB. The idea behind educational accountability is recognizing and tackling the achievement gaps for struggling, vulnerable students and schools. Under NCLB, every state is required to set standards for grade-level achievement and to develop a system to measure the progress of all students in meeting and surpassing those standards.² The principle is ideal. It holds schools responsible for the success of their students. If their students fail to meet certain grade level standards, the school loses their federal funding. This hypothetically creates initiative for every teacher and administrator to work towards the success of all their students. The model, however, is not perfect. On one side, a public display of a school’s performance, forced by NCLB, generates another financial problem by discouraging families from moving into the struggling school district and thusly depriving the failing school of highly needed funds via property tax. NCLB’s obsession with accountability has also exposed millions of students to the bubble tests. Many teachers disagree with the standardize testing because they say it forces them to teach to the test and doesn’t allow the students to experience other subjects like the arts.
    A secondary goal of NCLB focuses on preparing and recruiting highly qualified teachers and principals. NCLB denotes that “highly qualified” teacher has a bachelor’s degree, a certification or licensure to teach in the state of employment, and have proven their knowledge of the subject he or she teaches.³ Once again, the principle sounds highly idyllic, however many dilemmas materialize from this teacher-focused goal. Some teachers, who have been working for over ten years, may not pass as “highly qualified” with the NCLB standards. Does this mean they’re incompetent? Of course not. Who could deny their experience as a teacher? And, as many of us know, no matter how many degrees a teacher has under his or her belt, experience is the only thing that can prepare the teacher for dealing with a chaotic classroom, especially in pre-kindergarten and elementary schools. At the same time, the strict qualifications also discourage many from becoming potential teachers at elementary schools or preschools.
    1. www.ed.gov/nclb
    2.www.house.gov/ed_workforce/issues
    3.www.nea.org

    Current Issues in National Primary Public Education

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    A current report issued by the National Public Education Financial Survey discovered that escalating student success and accomplishment directly leads to national economic growth. This particular report approximated that considerable improvements in education over a twenty-year period could lead to as much as a four percent accumulation, over four hundred billion dollars, in the Gross Domestic Product”¹. It’s no surprise then, that the United States invests more per student that almost any other country in the world. Currently, we are spending over $500 billion annually at all levels of government (federal and state) on bother primary and secondary education. Yet many of American students are still falling behind and consistently scoring below proficiency in the subjects of reading, writing, mathematics, and sciences. Why? The problems are as diverse as the individual students, but some of the bigger issues include the disproportionate state funding, the inevitable segregation due to property taxes, and the lack of direct federal funding.
    Traditionally, state and local governments have been responsible for funding public schools. Presently, the state governments supply 57% of public school funding, while local property taxes provide 34%, and the federal government finances the remaining 9%. States vary widely how much they spend per year to educate each public school pupil. The average is approximately $8,041 dollars, however more than half, 27 states, spend below the average. ² This means that some states, mainly those in the north east, are spending almost twice as much on their students than states in other parts of the country. Many believe the federal government should do more to regulate the amount of money spent annually on students, to insure that children in all fifty states are receiving adequate funding and support as well as a thorough education.
    American tax payers invest more in education that in the Department of Defense. Property tax has long been the way many public schools are funded. The decentralized education system that dominates almost all fifty states has supported the use of property taxes for many years. The main problem that emerges from the use of property tax is the unequal distribution of educational opportunity, especially for kids in poor urban and rural areas. The argument is that because the No Child Left Behind Act forces public displays of school performance, families are discouraged from buying houses and property in areas where schools are performing below standards. When families move to more prosperous neighborhoods, the school districts with low scores do not receive the potential funds they could have had through property taxes. Thus the schools that are struggling to do better on standardize testing, most likely due to a lack in funding, are not receving that particular funding.
    The final issue is the lack of direct federal funding. Currently, the federal government is providing 9% of public education finances. But not enough of this money is making it to the classrooms, where the money is most needed. In Hawaii, only 49 cents of every dollar spend on public education is going directly to the classroom, either through technology, text books, or other supplies. The same problem is evident on the national scale. Too many federal funds are getting stuck in red tape at the expense or our students’ education.
    1. www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/hsb
    2.www.nea.org

    Education for Students With Special Needs in America: Current Situation

    In America, the law defines a child with a disability as “A child evaluated according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as having mental retardation, a hearing impairment including deafness, a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment including blindness, serious emotional disturbance (referred to in IDEA as emotional disturbance), an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, an other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services”.¹ Although the current situation concerning the education for children with special needs in America consists of some problems, the government has recently been trying to improve the status of the issue. Some of the problems that exist in the issue of education for children with special needs are the lack of number in teachers and racial inequity in special education. However, in recent years, the government has stepped in to try and fix these problems in special education along with many others. The government has done this by passing Acts such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act, and the Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act.
    One of the greatest problems in which the issue of education for children with special needs consists is the lack of teachers and volunteers that are available to these children. There are only a small number of teachers who work with students with mental retardation or autism. These teachers primarily teach these children things such as basic literacy and life skills. Most of the teachers who are involved in special education programs deal with children with mild to moderate disabilities.² In order to be a teacher, you must want to make a difference in the lives of children and be very devoted to your job, especially in the field of special education. However, even though special education teachers have a passion for working with students with disabilities and making an impact on their lives, work can be both emotionally and physically tiring. Since they are under so much stress for the most part of the school year teaching these children while also completing paperwork on the progress each child has made so far, many teachers can no longer endure this job. Sadly, many teachers who are involved with special education programs have come to the decision that the low wages that they are earning aren’t worth the draining job of a special education teacher.
    Another problem that relates to the issue of education for children with special needs in American is racial inequity in special education. Racism has been a problem in America for years, and although it has decreased in popularity, it has managed to spread into the area of special education. It has been proven that children of minority, especially African Americans, are more likely to be classified as a child with a disability than white children.³ Because of this and the influence of racism in America, minority children that are enrolled in special education often do not receive the same amount of attention as white children that are enrolled in special education do.
    Because of problems such as these and many more, in 1997, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law. “IDEA guarantees to each child with a disability and in need of special education services, the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) appropriate”.&sup4; The person who decides whether or not a child is eligible for special education and related services is the parent of the child and a team or qualified professionals. If they are indeed eligible for these services, IDEA assures that each of these children will be able to get special education services that are of no cost to the child’s parents. Also, the education that they receive will be based on a public school curriculum and the services they will be offered are “appropriate” for the child’s needs. Since IDEA was passed into law in 1997, it has proven to help with the education for children with special needs around America.
    Another act that was passed in order to better the quality of education for children with special needs in America was the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act, which was passed in 2001. The act was very useful to parents especially because it included that a local education authority must meet with the parents of the child with the disability to discuss the child’s disability and provide advice and information on how to handle certain situations.&sup5; Although the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act hasn’t been as popular as IDEA, it has made quite an impact on the lives of children with disabilities as well as their parents.
    A third act that was passed which was relevant to the issue of education for children with special needs in America was the Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act, which was passed in 2003. This bill had a lot in common with IDEA and also reduced the overwhelming amount of paperwork that special education teachers were required to complete. It also gave new options to parents with children who had disabilities, reduce the number of children who are mistakenly acknowledged for special education, discourage lawsuits, and bring together IDEA and the No Child Left Behind law that was passed in 2002.&sup6;
    Over the past few years, the government has taken initiative and started towards the goal of bettering education for children with special needs in America by passing different laws and acts. However, the government cannot do it on its own. People in different communities all over America need to get involved in order for changes to reach a more personal level.

    SOURCES:
    1. http://www.ldanatl.org/aboutld/parents/special_ed/eligibility.asp
    2. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos070.htm
    3. http://www.gse.harvard.edu/hepg/racialinequity.html
    4. http://www.ldanatl.org.aboutld/parents/special_ed/principles.asp
    5. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2001/20010010.htm
    6. http://www.house.gov/ed_workforce/press/press108/04apr/ideaph043003.htm

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    National Public Preschool Education: What should be done?

    Problem: Attracting and Maintaining Qualified Staff
    Solution: The challenge of improving teacher quality is probably one of the most difficult problems correct. Many teachers are unprepared for the challenges in their classrooms like diverse students or language barriers. Teachers themselves say that they do not feel prepared in their classrooms. This is not uncommon. Many teachers have not fully mastered their subject. States require teachers to pass a test in their subject area but the passing scores are so low that a teacher can pass without getting half of the answers correct. With such a low quality staff, children cannot be expected to reach their full capabilities.
    The quality of a teacher is one of the key components of how much a child can achieve. To improve the quality of teachers, all states need to start raising teacher qualifications. It is unacceptable for states to allow teachers to teach something they don’t fully understand themselves. Currently, only one third of preschool teachers have B.A.s. There should be a push for an expansion of teacher training and education. Increased wages and benefits could encourage teachers to become more qualified and will help to maintain preschool staff. In the nation, about 22 percent of public teachers leave the teaching profession after their first three years. Compensation initiatives would interest more people into the preschool teaching profession and help retain the staff.

    Problem: Little Guidelines for Public Preschool Programs
    Solution: Preschools around the nation don’t have strict guidelines for learning. There is not complete clarity of preschool preparation goals. If there were a set of guidelines for the skills and behaviors that children must have to perform well in school, preschools would know what they need to teach. With set guidelines, the preschools would know where they can set the bar for their children’s learning. They know what kinds of pre-reading skills the children should have and the kind of social and emotional competence the children should have.
    Lately, children entering kindergarten are behind in their learning. Once children get behind, they stay behind. It is hard to speed the children up unless they are given special attention and learning opportunities. If the teachers can recognize which children are behind they can take extra care to ensure that the child is not left behind. There are so many opportunities for children to fall behind that the guidelines would hopefully remind the teachers of their jobs. This ties in strongly with the need for quality teachers. With quality teachers, the children would have a greater opportunity to learn from the best and retain more knowledge than if they had second-rate teachers.

    Problem: Lack of Funds
    Solution: With a lack of funds, not much can be done about the preschool education programs. Without proper funding, teachers cannot get an increase in pay and better facilities. But if there were proper funds there could be enormous changes in the public preschool programs throughout the nation. To increase funds, there should be a better distribution of education funds. Most of the education funds go to public elementary and high schools. Preschool education is of the least importance when it comes to education funds. The statistics show that less than nine percent of education spending goes to children under the age of five. If there was a more even distribution of funds then the preschool programs would have the funds to make the needed changes in their programs.
    Another way to create more funds would be take in more private funds from the public and other willing donors. If the need for more funds is put out there, many people will find this a worthy cause and help out.

    Problem: Little Public Information about Preschool Education
    Solution: Many people are not aware of the importance of a good preschool education. More and more research is showing how important it is for children to acquire pre-reading and number skills early on in life. The earlier children start learning the better prepared they are for kindergarten and all the grades to follow. The government should start making communities aware of the importance of preschool education. This could easily be done with pamphlets available to all families or commercials.
    Before, parents were relied on to prepare their children for kindergarten. This is not the case anymore. Many parents are too busy with their jobs that they cannot find time to teach their children. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that parents learn of the opportunities of public preschool education. If there was more public information about preschool and activities that prepare children to be successful in school, children could get a jumpstart into learning.

    What should be done on the governmental level to help alleviate the “problems” this issue is creating?

    -Set better guidelines for school preparation goals
    -State accountability programs
    -Maintain and increase funding for preschools
    -Raise the salary of preschool teachers
    -Recruit preschool teachers
    -Professional development for preschool teachers
    -Build and renovate facilities
    -Raise awareness of the need for early childhood education
    -Get the communities involved

    What should be done on a societal level to help alleviate the “problems” this issue is creating?

    -Donate money to preschools
    -Donate learning tools/supplies to preschools
    -Volunteer at community preschools
    -Form associations advocating early childhood education


    http://www.whitehouse.gove/infocus/education/teachers/background.html
    http://www.ed.gove/print/news/pressreleases/2003/02/02032003d.html
    http://infoweb.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/InfoWeb/?p_action=print&f_docid=&s_doc_type=doc&p_queryname=800
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/earlychildhood/

    Quality of National Public Preschools: What can be done?

    Realistically, what can be done about this issue?
    Problem: financing a system of high quality early childhood education
    Solution: Since financing a system of early childhood education is pricey, states can draw money from direct revenue sources, which are sources that provide revenue to the government for spending on programs and individuals. Public education is primarily funded through local property taxes, so to increase the amount of funds available for early childhood education the government can: 1) increase property taxes, 2) earmark a larger percentage of local property tax dollars for funds, and 3) create a special taxing district to raise money. 3 In many states, the second largest source for early childhood education is general revenue from sales, income, and other taxes or fees levied by federal, state, and local governments. 2 Revenues generated from the state’s lottery and the tobacco settlement funds can also provide funds for public preschools. Also, since sales tax on tangible goods and excise tax (tax on certain goods such as tobacco and liquor) generate large amounts of revenue, a designated portion of the money can be used for early childhood education and development services, including parent education, training for providers, a public awareness campaign, and compensation improvement initiatives. 4

    Problem: Head Start must be strengthened
    Solution: A new accountability system for Head Start can be developed to ensure that every Head Start center assesses standards of learning in early literacy, language, and numeric skills. This assessment can hopefully bring attention to low quality Head Start centers and help promote change toward better quality. A national reporting system to collect data from every local center can also be created. The data can be used to target new efforts in staff training and program improvement to increase children’s early literacy and school readiness. A national training program can also be implemented with the goal of training the Head Start teachers in early literacy teaching techniques in order to meet these standards. Other training topics can include, fostering phonemic awareness, classroom arrangement to support a literacy rich environment, and basic resources and materials necessary in each classroom to promote literacy. 6 These trained teachers can then train future teachers.

    gech_0001_0003_0_img0219.jpg
    www.healthofchildren.com/P/Preschool.html

    Problem: limited alignment between what children do prior to school and what is expected of them once they are in school
    Solution: To help eliminate this problem, a stronger Federal-State partnership in the delivery of quality early childhood programs can be developed. The states can establish quality criteria for early childhood education, including voluntary guidelines on pre-reading and language skills activities that align with State K-12 standards. 5 With this criteria in mind, early childhood educators will know what will be expected of children once they reach school and can create curriculum that will ensure that the children will succeed in kindergarten. In order to help states meet these criteria, the federal government will have to give the states more flexibility with their Federal child care funds. 7

    Problem: There is not enough information for early childhood teachers, parents, and grandparents on ways to prepare children to be successful in school
    Solution: To connect the best research and current practices in early childhood education, researchers can establish partnerships with early childhood program sites supported at Federal, State, and community levels. These researchers can “identify curricula that effectively promote language and cognitive development, early literacy, mathematics concepts and skills, while simultaneously developing children’s self-regulatory and social-emotional competencies, motivation, and positive attitudes toward learning.” 8 Also, the government can write guidebooks for parents, families, educators, and caregivers to provide more information and guidance.

    What are the “powers at be” not doing? Why?
    “Powers at be” are NOT:
    • Making alignments between what children are doing before they enter school and what is expected of them once they are in school
    • Ensuring that education research is being used to create quality curriculum
    • Frequently evaluating early childhood education programs on how they prepare children to succeed in school
    • Training teachers in early literacy techniques
    The main reason why the “powers at be” are not taking the above actions is because government and society is just beginning to acknowledge and embrace early childhood education as a public responsibility and an important issue.

    What impact could you have to change the current situation?
    The following actions taken on a local level (as mentioned in an earlier blog entry) can also be done nationally:
    • volunteer at public preschools like Head Start to decrease the number of teachers that need to be hired and paid
    • donate toys and supplies so that the state can save money and spend it on other things such as training for teachers, more preschool facilities, and salaries.
    • hold a fundraiser to raise money and donate it to a preschool education organization
    • increase awareness of the importance of early childhood education by creating flyers with information about nearby public preschools and the benefits
    People can also email the Bush Administration with their comments and opinions about this issue to comments@whitehouse.gov or to vice_president@whitehouse.gov to contact Vice President Richard Cheney directly. Or people can submit a question and have a live chat with one of the members of the Bush Administration at http://www.whitehouse.gov/interactive/

    What do you foresee in the future if the solution(s) you’re advocating is/are implemented or if conditions continue in their present state indefinitely?
    Children who do not receive quality early childhood education usually become dropouts and drain society through social services, welfare, criminal intervention and the like, rather than contributing to society. As the number of dropouts increase, the amount of state money spent trying to support them will escalate, thus causing less money to be spent on early childhood education. Also, according to longitudinal studies, those who do not attend preschool are more likely to repeat grades, be socially and emotionally immature, have failing grades, have low self-esteem, have more incidences of illegitimate pregnancy, drug abuse, and delinquent acts, and have lower employment rates and earnings. 1 If the number of children who do not attend preschool increases, then the future of our society will be in danger due to a declining number of successful adults.

    Resources/Links
    1 http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/3/topsyn3.html
    2 http://www.naeyc.org/ece/critical/pdf/sales_taxes.pdf
    3 http://www.naeyc.org/ece/critical/pdf/property_taxes.pdf
    4 http://www.naeyc.org/ece/critical/pdf/financing.pdf
    5 http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/earlychildhood/sect1.html
    6 http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/earlychildhood/sect5.html
    7 http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/earlychildhood/sect6.html
    8 http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/earlychildhood/sect7.html

    What should be done for Public Primary Education

    From birth to age five, this is the most important time for a child’s learning period. Without the proper education from qualified teachers and adequate facilities, a child’s education could seriously be corrupted. Education in the primary stages is very important for a child because it is during these times that children retain most of their knowledge. A child will learn how to play with other children nicely, or gain the basic reading skills for future purposes. However, it seems as though our country is not doing enough for these children, as our public primary education system seems to be declining, even though measures are being taken to prevent this from happening.
    If our country had unlimited funds and could do whatever they could to help with public primary education, the number one request would be to find highly qualified teachers. According to the “No Child Left Behind Act”, from 05’-06’, teachers must be educated in public education and “‘highly qualified’ in each subject he or she teaches.” Other requirements include completion of two years of college, received an associate’s degree, or “passed an evaluation to demonstrate knowledge and teaching ability.” [1]
    Without adequate teachers, children will not receive the full education they deserve and will be behind other students who have received it. Government should create programs to further educate future teachers and make sure that they understand the importance of their influence on these children. Potential teachers should become teacher assistances for a year to make sure they know the importance of teaching primary students. Teachers are the foundation for students; children look up to teachers as role models, and if they aren’t playing up to their potential, then the student will also not reach their potential.
    Another issue primary education should resolve is adequate facilities. Nationally, facilities have always differed for states because public and private education will always be different. Government should make sure public education is close or up to par with private institutions; this way all children are getting equal education. It is unfair to deprive a child of adequate facilities, especially when primary education is especially important to a person.
    Education in general is supposed to help children achieve literacy, numbers, as well as a general concept of history, science, etc. [2] However, it would almost be impossible to a child to learn if they don’t even understand the language in which it is taught. Students with English as a Second Language have a hard time understanding because they are unfamiliar to our language. Therefore, it should be proposed that government supply schools with special ESL teachers or create classes for ESL students to be in. That way they learn English on the side as well as understand the lessons taught in class.
    According to a 2000 survey conducted by the National Institute for Literacy, 10% of the 28.4 million foreign-born people were under the age of 18. 12.5% of the foreign-born people are ages 5-17, and of that group 13.6% spoke little or none of English. The Asian statistics ages 5-17 are about the same as the Spanish ones.
    Another survey in 2000 stated that Limited English Proficient Students made up 7.8% of the total public school enrollment in 98’-99’. Of these 7.8%, 78% were Spanish speakers, 2.7% Vietnamese, and the rest are either some kind of Asian or European language. Many people after the age of 18 have taken the ESL course; however, the primary years are the most beneficial to a person in the future. This is why ESL programs generated for younger children are essential for a child’s education. Without learning the primary language spoken in America, how do we expect these children to succeed in life, or get the skilled jobs they deserve? [3]
    Finally, the government should issue yearly or half a year tests to see where the child stands. With the No Child Left Behind Act, students in grades 3-8 are required to take annual reading and math tests. And by 07’-08’ they will start to issue tests on science. [4] However, these tests are sometimes unfair to children who are ESL or even children in poverty stricken areas. These NCLB tests don’t fully measure a child’s learning curve; therefore, statistics are usually incorrect and don’t take into consideration those issues. Government should issue tests in different languages or even have translators help with testing. It may sound tedious and may give a disadvantage to children who can understand English because of this special attention, but these children are probably very intelligent and need to be given the attention necessary for their education.

    Resources:
    [1] http://nieer.org/resources/research/EffectsPreK.pdf
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_education
    [3] http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/facts/esl.html
    [4] http://nieer.org/resources/research/EffectsPreK.pdf

    July 5, 2006

    National: Elderly Care

    1) "The History of the Financial Side of Elderly Care" (Liana Kobayashi)

    Not only Hawaii, but also America in general, is facing a growing population of elderly citizens, sometimes referred to as “the graying of America”. Many of the problems of paying for elderly care are the same nationally as they are locally, just on a larger scale. Arguably the largest cause is the growing proportion or percentage of “old” people with an increased life expectancy (becaues of more medical knowledge, medicine, and technology). The first census of people aged 65 or older in America was conducted in 1870. At this time, around 1.2 million people, or around 3% of the population, were “old”. The percentage of “old” people in America increased rather slowly, with 8.1% of the population classified as “old” (ages 65+) in 1950. (1)

    Graph 1. Size of Total and Age 65+ Population 1950-1970

    U.S. Population 1950 1960 1970
    Total population 151,000,000 179,000,000 203,000,000
    Population age 65+ 12,300,000 16,500,000 20,000,000
    Age 65+ / total population 8.1% 9.2% 9.8%v

    However, between 1960 and 1980, the total population of the United States increased around 19% while the population of those aged 65 and older increased by about 35%. Between 1990 and 2000, there was a 12% increase to 35 million citizens older than 65 (or about 12% of the population), with almost half being over 75. It is predicted that by 2030, about 1/5 of the total American population will be 65 or older. (1) Adding to the high number in the future will be the baby boomers, our parent’s generation (those born between 1946 and 1964), whom we wil have to take financial responsibility for.

    Upon reaching retirement, elderly people no longer have a real steady source of income, instead relying on their savings, family members, and government programs such as Social Security to support themselves and Medicare and Medicaid for their medical costs.

    Miss Ida May Fuller, recipient of the first monthly retirement check issued.

    However, these government programs are funded by tax dollars, and as more people grow old and rack up higher costs, there are increasingly less people who are able to put money into these funds. Social Security, for example, was started in 1935 with 30 million Social Security Numbers issued. Since the start of the program, more than $8.7 trillion has been paid into the trust funds and more than $7.4 trillion has been paid out in benefits. (2) The number of enrollees has greatly increased since the beginning of the program, just as it has in Medicare and Medicaid. But how can we as taxpayers be expected to pay for this with the increasing cost of living and inflation? In the 1950’s and 60’s, the minimum wage was about 50% of average hourly earnings. This dropped to 44% in the ’70’s, 39% in the ’80’s and ’90’s, and about 33% with the coming of the millennium. (3) This leads to a larger number of people living in poverty, unable to pay for their medical and other costs, and similarly dependent on programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, stretching the funds even thinner. Although the minimum wage only directly affects those with part-time or unskilled jobs, the fact remains that even those who are in the middle and upper class must help pay taxes to support the poor and the elderly who cannot support themselves. With the increasing cost of life in America, more women must enter the workforce than in our grandparent’s day and parents often have to work longer hours or a second job to keep up and provide the standard of living for their family that is demanded by today’s society.
    Basically, there are many different factors leading to the rising cost of health care for the elderly and the difficulty people have in providing for themselves or their aging family members. There are also many estimates which predict a bleak future for our generation’s old age funding. With the cost of living continuously increasing, as well as the percentage of “old” people who are dependent (versus those supporting them), we should begin to look at the issues now and begin thinking of some solutions or what can be done.

    Sources:
    1. www.press.uillinois.edu/epub/books/kausler/intro.html
    2. www.ssa.gov
    3. www.epinet.org/content.cfm/briefingpapers_bp151


    2) "The Current Situation of the Financial Side of Elderly Care" (Arielle Kramer)

    After researching problems with elderly care in Hawaii last week, it was not surprising to me to learn about the nation’s problems this week. The “Aging of America” is probably one of the biggest social issues in the country today and will grow as time progresses. Within the past hundred years, life expectancy in America has risen from 46 years to 76 years. People are living longer than ever before and the first of the baby boomers (the largest demographic in the United States with 78 million people) are approaching retirement age. As the baby boomers continue to age (one turns 50 every 7.6 seconds) and those older than them do as well, by the middle of the century the number of seniors in the country will outnumber the children and teens. The number of citizens over age 85 will double by 2030, and by 2050, 40 percent of the population will be older than 50. Because this growing demographic currently and has traditionally required lots of care and are heavily dependant on others for many things, this could and probably will create a huge burden on society. (1)

    (2)

    Today, the financial problems related to elder care have a lot to do with the increased volume of seniors, higher cost of healthcare, and limited means with which to pay for everyone’s needs. Nearly 79% of people who need long-term care live at home or in community settings rather than in institutions. In 1997, about 22 million U.S. households (roughly one in every four households) were involved in caring for someone age 50 or older, and this number is expected to rise to 39 million households by 2007. (3)
    With the higher cost of living and increasing number of families in which husband and wife work and have busier lives, it is difficult and often stressful for them to assume responsibility for the care of their parents. So throughout the nation it is very common for senior citizens to be left to manage their finances and care themselves.
    Once a person retires, they basically have three different ways to support themselves; social security, pensions, and personal savings. Living a well planned retirement with all three of these sources of income is ideal, but for many Americans today it is not possible. Many elders do not receive all their anticipated pensions are because many companies are moving to cut benefits and shift costs to retirees, forcing some to drop out of coverage and others into court to save benefits they thought were guaranteed. Their savings and pension don’t add up to much and social security ends up becoming 90% of their income. Social Security was never meant to be the sole source of income, so with that limited income seniors have a difficult time paying for their medical expenses and care facilities.

    Table 1. Cost of 5 commonly prescribed drugs for the elderly
    Name of Drug What it treats Cost for 1-year supply
    Lipitor Cholesterol control $871
    Novasc A calcium channel blocker $549
    Fosamax Bone density $894
    Prilosec (20 mg) Anti-ulcer $1,684
    Celebrex Rheumatoid Arthritis $2,102
    http://www.therubins.com/geninfo/eldpresc.htm


    Currently, the government gives assistance to many of these seniors, but it is often not enough. The two other federally funded aid programs are Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is awarded when individuals reach age 65 and has the same requirements as Social Security. Medicare helps people pay for hospital and doctor visits and prescription medications, but expensive premiums must be paid in order to get the coverage. Medicaid covers a lot of costs incurred with long term care and other health and elder related costs, but only those who are extremely poor can qualify.
    And in addition to the fact that the government programs are not fully satisfying the huge demand, it is also true that health and human services is one of the top expenses in the federal budget.

    We are spending tons of money on this (about as much as on defense) but it is not enough, and as more people age and there are less people to work, the problem will only get worse. By 2050, government spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will exceed their income (18% of GDP) in tax revenues. If the government is to keep up with the rising costs of care for its aging citizens, it will have to either cut off many other programs currently allotted for in the federal budget, or it will have to leave the aging Americans to fend for themselves. (4) If nothing is done about this situation, by 2040 benefits for elders from social security could be reduced by 26% and continue to decline each year thereafter. The immediate alternative to shortchanging the elderly in the future would be to raise payroll taxes for the workers or reduce their benefits.
    So in conclusion, the problem of financing care for the elderly in America is very prevalent in society today – many people need help and a lot of them cannot afford it. But as people continue to live longer, more people age, and the birthrate continues to decline, the programs that the government does have will become even more inadequate because there will be less and less young, working Americans to put money into the “pay-as-you-go” funds that are currently set up. This will become a huge problem that will affect everyone in America. (5)

    1) http://www.cba.gsu.edu/magazine/agingseries.html
    2) http://experiencecorps.org/research/factsheet.html
    3) http://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/State_of_Aging_and_Health_in_America_2004.pdf
    4) http://www.heritage.org/research/features/BudgetChartBook/
    5) http://www.ssa.gov/qa.htm

    3) "What Should Be Done About the Financial State of Elderly Care?" (Andrea Lum)

    There are many things that should be done to alleviate the financial problems of elderly care. Some ideas include protecting Social Security, increasing medical support programs, assisting those who don’t have access to such programs, and most importantly, developing more awareness and education to those who will need to consider care in the future.


    Although Social Security exists now, the future forecast of the program is not positive. According to the Social Security official website itself, the 2006 Trustees Report stated that by the year 2040, retiree benefits could cut down by 26%, continuing to reduce thereafter, with reductions reaching 30% in the year 2080. (1: http://www.ssa.gov/qa.htmhttp://www.ssa.gov/qa.htm) This is of concern to not only the growing population of Baby Boomers, who are soon reaching the age of retirement, but also to the future generations. The population of Baby Boomers reaching the age of retirement gets larger every day. Consequently, as more and more Americans require the need of elderly care, there is more and more demand for support to be provided. By decreasing the Social Security program, the future generation will only suffer more when they reach the age of retirement. Therefore, the proposed cuts will only deter the current youth from gaining proper care when they reach seniority. In essence, the primary action that needs to be done is to stop the proposed reduction of Social Security cuts. Many say the cuts are not even necessary, since the current trust fund of Social Security is almost two trillion dollars, and the purpose for the trust fund is to create future benefits. The need for cuts does not exist. By refraining from the proposed actions, this will benefit both the current senior population and the future senior population.

    The second solution to the financial drawbacks would be to increase medical support programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. The current requirements to attain access to Medicare are very restricted, which makes it hard for many old people to be a part of the program. Therefore, they are unable to benefit from such medical assistance. With the growing population of baby boomers, more and more elders will need assistance in paying for their medical bills. There is increased awareness about how much the programs could assist the elders in their financial situation. Therefore, government intervention should be more persistent in reformatting the requirements and benefits for such programs. For example, instead of having Medicare only pay for the first 100 days of an elder staying in a nursing home, they should extend the period or give the recipient a certain stipend. In addition to this, age and health status requirements should be lowered so that more people can have access to the benefits.

    Lastly, there should be an increase in programs nationwide which establish awareness about elderly care for those currently and in the future. There are currently only a limited amount of options for elderly care, whether it is long-term or short-term. However, many of these options are extremely costly, which serves as a disadvantage to both the elders and their families. Therefore, it is extremely important for families to know that saving up for future costs can be extremely beneficial in the long run. Nationwide programs could include awareness campaigns, whether it is in the form of commercials, e-mail, or letters sent home to families. Another idea could be to have celebrity endorsed campaigns to attract more of the American audience’s attention. There can also be more nonprofit organizations across the states. Although some already exist, such as Meals on Wheels, with more programs, more seniors can benefit. Such programs could take the form of foster care, fundraisers, and donations. Another idea could be to enforce informational sessions that allow elders to come, for free, to learn about their elderly care options. Financial advice could also be given, allowing those who may be able to have access to programs to know about their opportunities.
    Sources:

    1) Official Social Security Website. “http://www.ssa.gov/qa.htmhttp://www.ssa.gov/qa.htm”

    2) National Debt Awareness Campaign. Simmons, Gene. “http://www.federalbudget.com/”

    3) ElderWeb. “http://www.elderweb.com/home/node/2701”

    4) "What Could Be Done About This Issue?" (Arielle Kramer)
    Currently, the government is already spending a huge amount of it’s budget on healthcare and human services, which is the category that taking care of the aging American population falls under. It is a fact that as population of seniors grows to unprecedented highs by the middle of the century, the cost of financing care for all the elders will grow tremendously as well. The government has already begun planning for this and is expecting to either have to raise payroll taxes, decrease employee benefits and benefits that seniors would normally receive with their social security, or a combination of both. The cuts would be have to be pretty substantial – senior benefits alone would be cut by 26%.
    The government could also gain money to deal with this problem by cutting back on other costs. Clear solutions (although they will be difficult to attain) are ending our dependency on foreign oil and using a less expensive and cleaner alternative, and ending the war in Iraq – the government spends as much or more money on defense than
    health care and human services.
    Other possible solutions are increasing public awareness about the pending situation and encouraging individuals to start their own personal savings accounts and plan ahead. Everyone should know about the current and future problems for eldercare so they can do what they can to decrease their dependency on government aid. This will allow them to live more comfortably and healthily when they retire and will also relieve some of the strain on the national treasury. Banks and investors could help with this as well by making the process seem more comprehensive and appealing. Another option that would help the problem is to expand university programs in eldercare, since there will be a growing demand for those services and being able to fill the demand and increasing competition in the field could lower costs.

    Current Situation of Public Primary Schooling in America

    The current situation surrounding adequate education in public schools in America is shocking. The future is not looking bright for public education as schools around the nation face quality teacher shortages, controversial standardized testing and regulations, and lack of funding.

    The Bush administration has tried to bridge the learning gap by implementing No Child Left Behind (NCLB) but has only seemed to cause anger among teachers, and disappointment in parents. Several teacher's unions like the American Federation of Teachers have fought against NCLB since the beginning, saying it has standards that are sometimes unobtainable in the classroom. NCLB has also caused rifts between parents and teachers in schools where students are underperforming. Parents especially in urban based schools where scores are dismal often blame the teachers for not preparing their students well. Teachers counter back however with the argument that its actually the student's home environment that has more of an impact on the child's development, scores, and education. ¹

    The goal of NCLB is to basically ensure schools are proficient according to state created standards, and experience yearly growth. Schools who do not meet regulations for two consecutive years will be titled "in need of improvement" and must lose that title the following year or possibly face reconstruction including the firing of current staff, creation of a new curriculum, or an increase in day length. These new standards put an overwhelming amount of pressure on schools, teachers, and faculty to bring their students up to par. ¹

    The NCLB also specifies schools must only have "highly qualified teachers". Teachers basically must have at least a bachelor's degree and pass tests that demonstrate their abilities in the subject they will teach. These regulations have also caused some distress to teachers specializing in special ed and teach in rural areas and must teach several subjects and grades at a time.

    Some feel the government's attempt at intervening on the educational level by implicating tests to measure students proficiency is biased towards certain races. Here is an example of a question from the practice test:

    "Most young tennis stars learn the game from coaches at private clubs. In this sentence, a club is probably a ...

    F baseball bat
    G tennis racquet
    H tennis court
    J country club" ²

    The author of the article featuring this sample question Greg Palast, argued that students in rural and urban neighborhoods wouldn’t know the answer to this question if they’ve never been to a country club which would be more familiar to caucasians. Palast also said these tests labeled the students who didn’t receive proficeint scores as failures and only caused them to be embarassed if held back due to low scoring.

    Overall the NCLB has a good and bad side on every issue. For instance, Good: it increases the quality of education by raising the standards in public schools. Bad: schools, states, and teachers get punished for poor results causing them to set the bar low and selectively choose only the brightest students to take proficiency tests. Either way, the government's intervention implementing the NCLB has caused a lot of controversy in the public school system.

    Public schools across America are also facing a critical teacher shortage. Many teachers feel strained when working with students that are unmotivated or if they don’t have the correct materials to teach. They also feel pressure from the standardized proficiency testing to get high scores, and if their students don’t, they face the possibility of being released from their job or more government intervention in their curriculum. Not to mention, although the teacher’s salary is increasing, it still begins at extremely low levels; the average teacher’s salary begins in the thirty thousands. This combination of low salaries, lack of supplies and facilities, student discipline issues, and inadequate support from adminstrators and parents contribute to the growing teacher shortage in the public school system. &sup4

    A reason for low teacher salaries and poor facilities and supplies is due to lack of federal funding. The Washington Post released an article describing the budget plan Mr. Bush announced for America’s 2.77 trillion dollar budget. Not surprising, the Departemtn of Defense received a huge sum of $440 billion to help with army expansion and other fight on terrorist productions, but the NCLB got only $200 million set aside for it. &sup5 Democrats say that amount is insufficient to keep the program rolling in states. There also was no increase in funding for Title 1 which helps gives funding for poverty aid in schools.

    Statistics have shown that African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians are a lot more likely to attend high-poverty public schools than White or Asian/Pacific Islanders are. ³ Even so, if the degrading conditions in public schools don't step up everyone in America will be affected. Just like in the local spectrum, all students in the public school system are being hurt by poor education quality, but in the long run, if the newest generations aren't given strong educational foundation and basic skills, when America is handed over to them for leadership, all generations future, present, and past will feel the impact of a poor education.


    ¹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act

    ²http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=476&row=1

    ³http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/2006/section1/indicator06.asp

    &sup4http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind04/c1/c1s6.htm

    &sup5http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/interactives/budget07/agencies.html

    *Uihan posted all of our posts together. But just in case it didn't work I changed this to published.

    National Public Primary Education:History

    In the United States, public school education is primarily the responsibility of each individual state. The state delegates the task of day-to-day operations to school districts at the local level.¹ In addition, the state establishes colleges, develops criteria, and determines requirements for enrollment and graduation.² Basically, the national public school education system is powered by the states.

    This educational system can be traced all the way back to the foundation of the country. After the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson proposed that Americans give a high priority to a "crusade against ignorance".³ Jefferson was also the first to propose a system of free schools for all persons that would be publicly supported by taxes, which basically means that he was the first to propose a school system.³ Then in 1785, the Land Ordinance of 1785 came about. This established a mechanism for funding public education in the United States. Then after a somewhat long recession of education, the Department of Education was founded in 1867 to collect information on schools and teaching that would help the states establish effective school systems.² The foundation of the Department of Education was the start of what would eventually become modern education. However, even though the Department of Education was founded in 1867, the first public school was actually founded in 1821 in Boston.[4]

    The 19th century turned out to be a rather big century for education. The two major changes that came about were kindergarten and teacher training programs. In 1839, Horace Mann began the nation's first teacher-training school in Massachusetts.[4] This was obviously to ensure that teachers would be qualified to teach the youth, foreshadowing what would become a big part of modern education (the qualification of teachers in the classroom) And in 1873, the nation's first kindergarten opened in St. Louis, paving the way for the future.[4] In addition to kindergarten and teacher-training, some minor changes also came about around this time. For example, the Morrill Act of 1890, withheld grants from states that deny admission to schools based on race.[4]

    The 20th century was also a big one for education. For example, World War II led to an expansion of federal support for education. The Lahman Act of 1941 and the Impact Aid laws of 1950, eased the burden on communities affected by the presence of military by making payments to school districts, which in turn, would enhance the districts.² In addition, the GI Bill sent many World War II veterans to college, highlighting the importance of higher education.¹ The Cold War also helped to bring about huge change in education. Because the United States was competing with the Soviet Union at this time, the government wanted to make sure that the most qualified people would be there to help the United States. Therefore, the government gave loans to college students and helped to improve science and mathematics.² Needless to say, the Cold War played a big role in the escalation of education.

    It was something different, however, that changed the face of education forever: the civil rights movement. In 1954, the famous Brown vs Board of Education case led to the desegregation of schools, which was huge.¹ The desegregation of schools meant that African Americans no longer had to go segregated schools, which were often times, not as good as White schools. Furthermore, it helped ensure that everyone got an equal education. In addition to the case, the passing of laws such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Ammendments of 1972 further helped to ensure that everyone got equal education. [4]

    The most recent act toward education was the No Child Left Behind Act, which wants to establish high standards and accountability for the learning of all children regardless of their background or ability.[5] This is a very large act, which discusses many different ways to enhance the learning of children.

    The issue of public primary education in the United States has been a big one. It has gotten to its current situation through years of evolution. The modern education system shows many similarities to the system that was founded back in the 19th century. But many things have been learned over the years to bring educaiton to where it is today. Much emphasis has been put on education mainly because people realize that it is the youth which is the major factor. Educating the youth for the future is the major factor that contributes to the support of the educational system.

    ¹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_education
    ²http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/role.html
    ³http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/refpages/refarticle.aspx?refid=761571494
    [4]http://familyeducation.com/article/0,1120,1-4485,00.html
    [5]http://www.nea.org/esea/index.html

    July 1, 2006

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