Tag think about it

On Free Lunches

Seoul is currently all abuzz with what I’m told is its first-ever referendum: the issue of free school lunches. Problem is, I’m not sure people have considered even the most basic facts before forming an opinion.

Let me open by saying I am all for free school lunches. In both Korea and the U.S., there are some kids who, for various reasons, would literally have nothing to eat all day if they weren’t provided a lunch by the school. If we, as a society, can help these kids by giving them one meal a day, we must.

Now, in Seoul, where this issue is being debated, how many children are in this kind of situation, or something remotely close to it? I’m thinking 5% would be the absolute high end.

Here’s the thing: Seoul already provides free lunches for the bottom 35%.

Read more

Health Care Reform: yet another perspective

The passing of the health care bill in the House and subsequent signing by President Obama has predictably generated a lot of chatter. Including this post, I suppose, in which I hope to present a viewpoint that differs from most of the responses I’ve seen so far.

This is part 1 of my response. I originally intended to make this a single blog post, but it turned out to be so lengthy that I’ll need to split it up to keep it readable.

I don’t think there is anyone out there who is truly ecstatic about the present state of U.S. healthcare, so I believe the participants in the great debate fall into two categories: those more or less happy with the current state of affairs (at least, happy enough to believe that the bill should be voted down), and those calling for change.
Read more

Making bilingualism and biliteracy the norm

Could we retool our primary education system to produce bilingual, biliterate children who outperform their monolingual counterparts, in both languages? Amazingly, it seems we can, and it doesn’t even sound difficult or expensive.

First, a little background. You probably already have a fixed image in your mind of how language education works at the primary level.

There is ESL, where kids are pulled away from their peers for half of the day to attend what are looked upon as remedial English classes. Since ESL students divide their attention between learning English and keeping up with what their peers are learning, it is inevitable that there will be a disparity.

At the same time, for the native English speakers in the class, foreign language exposure is minimal, consisting of learning to introduce yourself, say a few phrases, and sing a cute song or two. This despite the fact that their classmates may be native speakers of these languages.

While there is a vague sense that there are some untapped synergies, English is Priority 1, so the system is not often questioned.

Every child deserves a chance to succeed. But how can a child with seemingly so much more to learn ever be on equal footing with native English speakers? And as some English-speaking taxpayers like to complain, is it even worth spending extra tax dollars to meet these foreigners at their level?
Read more

Some jobs are disposable, and that is a good thing

HGEA (Hawaii Government Employees Association) is Hawaii’s largest union, because the government is Hawaii’s largest employer. More on this incredible atrocity later.

HGEA has been putting up posters at the mall proclaiming that “No worker should be disposable.” This is one of them. (I couldn’t get a bigger size because their web site is broken. Hm.)

 

Hey, I agree with that! People are not single-purpose, single-use trash. They should not have to retire, or be euthanized, they are valuable and can continue to work. If the job they are currently doing ceases to be important, hey, people are flexible, intelligent creatures who can easily learn to perform another job.

 

Somehow, looking at that poster, I don’t think this is what HGEA is trying to say.
Read more

Minimum wage laws hurt more people than they help

Hawaii is considering raising its minimum wage. Again.

As always, the reasons are noble, but the results undermine them and make nearly everyone worse off.

Minimum wage proponents want to reduce poverty and increase the standard of living for the lowest paid workers. This is great, and I support this. Everyone, rich or poor, should rationally support such an objective. Problem is, a minimum wage does not do this.
Read more

Copyright © Deep thoughts… or not.
A release valve for my mind.

Built on Notes Blog Core
Powered by WordPress

Back to top