Education: Game Changers

We, the United States of America, have been talking about how something needs to done to change education for how long now?

There is no doubt that something needs to be done to help improve education, especially in math and science. But over the past 10, 20, and even 30 years it is just failing to make the broad enough strides necessary to really take America into the 21st Century in the field of education.

It has been kind of like a baseball game where there is only one-out per-side per-inning, instead of three. With only one out, we never seem to get into scoring position, second base, let alone actually scoring a run. The Republicans get half-way around the bases and then their half of the inning is over and the Democrats do the same. And neither side seems to come up with a home run to knock out of the park.

We need some game changers to get some points up on the scoreboard.

Here are mine:

1) Health Care: All educators (all teachers, administration staff, to janitors) in the United States are now part of the Veterans Administration, and the VA is renamed the Veterans & Educators Administration. Not only does this help bring more critical mass to the VA (lower there cost per patient), it; a) makes certain that all teachers have health care, and b) takes the bulk of the costs for health care away from the school districts, freeing up capital to go elsewhere. Educators can opt out if they want to either pay for health care on their own, or have it through their spouse/other family members program.

2) Green Homeowners: All teachers that are also homeowners are sent vouchers to install solar panels, wind turbines, and any other renewable equipment to generate electricity that will work in their area. These homeowners are given $30,000 vouchers to install this green technology equipment. Once the equipment is installed, this will act as a net pay increase for the teachers and at the same time take some pressure off their school district. Additionally they can set up zeroscaping in desert areas and install gray water systems with additional vouchers.

3) Adopt-a-District: A program is setup where each corporation in the Wilshire 5000 adopts a school district. And, that company is given two-times or three-times dollar-for-dollar tax credits for outfitting schools with solar panels, wind turbines, replace lighting fixtures (with ones like Orion Energy is installing), etc. They can also sponsor a math and/or science teacher, where they pay for a college students education and salary once they start teaching for a 2x or 3x tax credit for their adopted district. Companies can supply the school or district with the latest cutting-edge technology in the form of computers, white-boards, networking, etc. Additionally the companies can also put individuals through medical or nursing school and in return that person must give discounted service to educators.

4) Meet Mr. Ed U. Reit: Setup an EduREIT or EREIT, a real estate investment trust that does two main things (in addition to helping out the current oversupply in housing):

a. In the top 200 cities the EduREIT buys and rehabs or builds apartment buildings. It then offers educators, as long as they are teaching, to live in the apartment complex at half the normal monthly payment. The tenets run the complex by committee, all voting on policies like pets, etc. During their time at the apartment complex they must also take additional higher education classes or pay into a fund to eventually put a down payment on a house. A side benefit of these educator complexes maybe to bring them together ideologically, making for a tighter curriculum in the class room.

b. Additionally the EREIT buys distressed homes and finances teachers to get into those houses. Lets say a house was purchased in 2006 for $300,000, and the house is now worth $150,000. The EREIT buys the house at a negotiated price somewhere in between, for our example we will say $225,000, above the market price, but below the overpriced top in the market. This helps out the seller, the financier, and the educator. The home is then sold to the educator at very low fixed long-term rates, and at the current market price. The EREIT absorbing the difference of $75,000

c. In both cases the dwellings are made green tech friendly before occupancy. The idea of the EREIT is not to make a killing, but to be slightly profitable.

5) Education Transportation Fund (ETF):

a. Green tech-energy friendly (maybe natural gas) shuttles for educators are set up, kind of like the hotel shuttles, but to take educators from home to school to home. If they sign up for the program they help the environment and do work on the shuttle while someone else drives. This also sets up a new small business, or adds to an existing one to create, albeit few, jobs.

b. A program is set up to get teachers in electric and hydrogen vehicles. With “filling” stations at the school itself. There is a big debate about hydrogen cars because you would have to build filling stations, but if you built them were the driver works, this takes care of this debate. It also is a educational device to show the school children the future, the laboratory example is right outside in the parking lot. We have to start somewhere, why not with educators? The ETF pays the difference between what a normal vehicle would cost and the green vehicle. Educator pays the rest.

6) Concierge: Set up a “concierge” person with the school district to help educators get those little chores done during the day so they don’t have to, but can concentrate on educating the students instead.

With all of my examples above, they are done in stages: 1) Single parent math and science teachers get to go first in the projects. 2) Then all math and science educators. 3) Then all single parents. 4) Then open it up to every educator.

Now all of my ideas can be tweaked, but these are ideas that actually change the game of trying to improve both education overall, and math and science in particular. We need to come up with things that make teaching more attractive and also take some of the peripheral stresses off of those educators already in the system. Helping them with their health care, housing, power, transportation, and minor daily chores, just might be game changers. These ideas would also act as net pay increases without raising salaries, but lowering costs instead.

The ETF and Concierge programs could also be part of the Adopt-a-District program.

Additionally my ideas try to help out in lowering carbon output at the place that it can do the most good, teachers showing students how to help the environment. The program also helps out the current housing crisis by at least absorbing some of the excess.

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