The Future of Public Education According to The Pragmatic Thinker

For years there has been a public outcry to “fix” the PUBLIC educational system of the United States. First of all, this will be impossible, because “fix” cannot be defined.Some say that “fix” means to have better and more modern buildings. Some say to “fix” mean to pay teachers more. Some say to “fix” means to have our students pass progress tests. Some say to “fix” means to be able to have our students more effectively compete in the world arena of science and business. Some say to “fix’ means give our students a better education in the basics of reading, writing, and math. Some say to “fix” means to give our students a more progressive, liberal education so they can live fuller and more complete lives. Some say we need to “fix” the educational system so students can choose what “they” want to do in life sooner and enter college with direction and focus. And the reasons for “fixing” the “broken” PUBLIC educational system go on and on.I think the PUBLIC educational system is broken and cannot be fixed. The system is so bogged down in political bureaucracy, red tape, special interests, union politics, under funding, misuse of funds, misdirection, non-focus, status quo thinking, social rhetoric, unfunded programs, broken political promises, and under staffed, under qualified, and under paid administrators and teachers that the PUBLIC educational system can never be fixed. It is an impossible task.It is no wonder that PRIVATE schools, alternative learning programs, home schooling, and online curriculums are becoming more and more popular with the “affluent” of our population. If you can afford a good education for your student, parents are pulling their students out of PUBLIC schools and enrolling them more and more in private programs of education.It is my opinion and the opinion of many concerned citizens that from elementary school to college, our educational system, at its best, often drives the natural love of learning out of our kids and replaces it with such “skills” as following rules, keeping still and quiet, doing what is expected, cheating or procrastinating. And that’s why, in most schools, being on time and sitting quietly are more important than critical thinking and innovative production. To prosper in this economy, students need to develop and master different skills – lifeskills such as resourcefulness, curiosity, innovation, as well as logical and verbal proficiency.Most progressive educational professionals would agree with Bill Gates who told our nation’s governors last year that the traditional urban high school is obsolete.The reality of education is that the system for the most part is outdated, too expensive, and ineffective. Many educationally progressive countries offer PUBLIC funding for education from Kindergarten through University, where as in the United States most states don’t offer Kindergarten classes, and all Public Education stops at the end of High School.The primary reason we send our children to school is to enable them to choose the career of their choice, earn a good living and enjoy all that life has to offer. We all want to give our children the opportunity to prosper and provide well for their families.Here is what has to be done if we are to give our citizens a better education which in turn gives our country more productivity in the world economy.1. We need to PRIVATIZE all education in our country.2. Education will be “funded” but not controlled by our government.3. Each family will be given a certain amount of money (voucher) for each student of each age.4. Parents can use this voucher to educate their students as they choose at any school or institution of their choice.5. The government has NO say in the choices parents and students make. Our tax dollars only go to “fund” PUBLIC education in the PRIVATE sector.6. When schools and institutions are made to “compete” for tuitions based on the performance of the teachers and educators, the quality of education will increase. If schools don’t offer parents and students a quality education, parents and students will go some place else, and the school is out of business.7. We need to also include a government funded college education or trade school education for all who want it. Most parents can’t afford to send their students to college. Only about one in 17 (5.8%) young people from the nation’s poorest families, those earning less than $35,377 a year, can expect to earn a bachelor’s degree by age 24. For those from the nation’s wealthiest families, those who earn about $85,000 or higher, it’s better than one in two (50%.) This University funding would also be on a voucher basis also. There would still be private colleges who might not need the money (vouchers), but for the most part most colleges would welcome the money as a way to increase enrollment and increase the quality of the education they offer.8. The obvious results of PRIVATIZING education is that not only schools would have to compete to get the student, by offering a quality educational program, but teachers could now offer their services in a FREE market. The fact is, the good teachers would be paid more. Schools would have to offer the good teachers more to keep them. If a good teacher could make twice as much at another school, because they are better qualified and had a “parent following,” schools would have to get serious about offering teachers more money. More people would want to become teachers if they could get paid more. And just like in every business, in order to get the best, you have to pay them more.9. Online schools would become more and more popular and accepted also. This is especially great for the “inter-city” areas and “rural” areas, where education has been hard to fund, and quality teachers hard to find.10. On the “one student, one voucher” system, all communities are now able to compete equally for the best teachers and educators. Because of population (demand) in large cities and communities, some schools would have to hire more teachers. In the small cities they would need fewer teachers, but the “money” is the same per student.11. By PRIVATIZING education, funded by the government with our tax dollars (as we currently do) we would be able to save money. The United States could keep the PUBLIC education budgets at a manageable level. Schools would have to compete for the funding and just like the “price wars” of car dealers, furniture stores, and all businesses, schools would have to continually strive to give parents and students “MORE education” for their money. This is Capitalism at its best.12. The less government “control” of our PUBLIC education, the better. Government would have NO say or control whatsoever on the type of education parents chose for their students. Government would only FUND educational choices based on the government’s education budget. The PRIVATE sector would have to compete just like any other private business for the money by offering a better, quality education to its customers (the parents and students.) The PUBLIC education system for the most part now is a MONOPOLY and doesn’t have to “try harder.” Just like the deregulation of the airlines, the telephone companies, etc., prices would go down (or in this case stay down) based on the economic rule of supply and demand. PRIVATIZING our PUBLIC education answers ALL the problems we currently face in our current PUBLIC education system.

Cancer Risk Factors: Genetic, Race And Other Biological Risk Factors Of Cancer

Though it is difficult to pinpoint who can be more susceptible to a particular type of cancer, there are certain biological, gender and ethnic factors which make the occurrence of a particular type of cancer more probable in some individuals than others. Speculations about the causes of cancer and the mechanisms that lead to its occurrence have been constrained by some of its biological characteristics. These include the relationships between incidence and genetic susceptibility, age, sex, and the delay (which is sometimes misleadingly called the ‘latent period’) that occurs between exposure to a causative agent and the appearance of clinical disease.Genetic susceptibility to cancer: It has been demonstrated by various studies that if one member of a family develops a specific type of cancer, other members are somewhat more likely to develop that same type than would be expected in the population as a whole. Several genes have such a great effect on susceptibility that bearers of one such gene (if it is dominant) or two (if they are recessive) almost invariably develop a particular type of cancer. Examples include the dominant genes for polyposis coli and Gardner’s syndrome that lead to cancer of the large bowel, and the recessive genes for retinoblastoma and xeroderma pigmentosum that lead (in the latter case) to squamous carcinoma and (less commonly) melanoma of the skin.The genetics of breast cancer is well established. Breast Cancers occur when a buildup of genetic mutations in critical genes-those that control cell growth and division or the repair of damaged DNA-allow cells to grow and divide uncontrollably to form a tumor. These genes are BRCA1, BRCA2, CDH1, PTEN, STK11, and TP53. In most cases, the genetic changes that trigger breast cancer are acquired during a person’s lifetime and are present only in certain cells. A history of breast cancer in closely related family members is also an important risk factor, particularly if the cancer occurred at an early age. Some breast cancers that cluster in families are associated with inherited mutations in particular genes, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are major genes related to hereditary breast cancer. Women who have inherited certain mutations in these genes have a high risk of developing breast cancer. The proportion of all cancers that occur in people who are highly susceptible to cancer in this way is, however, very small. It means that though cancer can run through generations it is not necessarily so in most of the cases. Those with no close relatives who have this disease do develop it in increasing numbers.Race too plays an important role in the susceptibility to a particular type of cancer. Caucasians (people who are from or trace their origin to Europe, West Asia or North Africa) are at a greater risk of developing basal-cell and squamous carcinomas of the sun-exposed skin. This risk is greatly diminished in Chinese, Japanese, and Asian Indians. Caucasians have a 30% chance of developing basal-cell cancer in their lifetime and maximum number of such basal cell cancer cases occur in neck and head. There is also a relationship between type of blood group and cancer.For example a particular gene that is present in those with blood group A, increases the risk of gastric cancer by about 20 per cent over that of people belonging to blood groups O or B.Such genetic, race and other relationship to cancer should help doctors, researchers, scientists and other health care specialists to identify high risk groups. This can help in early diagnosis and prevention of aggravating factors.