“Lives/Matter”

I’m sure anyone pausing to read this believe their life matters to someone other than themselves. A parent, sibling, spouse, partner, or friend would be hurt to discover your death unexpectedly. I’m unable to identify any culture where life doesn’t represent some measure of value, even if there’s no outward signs as in Nations controlled by tyrannical dictators. Even North Fucking Korea must have live bodies to support its fucked up shit. Humanity, regardless of how high or low the priority is for the exact value, must foster the existence of our species. What I’m simply stating are indisputable realities about the inexplicable basis for maintaining our presence into the future. No one is born with the explicit purpose of being murdered by another human. The notion that any child is born just for that sole purpose is preposterous. 

   “https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr67/nvsr67_06.pdf

 

Now now that we’ve established a baseline for assessment of how to value all human life, now let’s work on voluntary and intentional termination of human lives.  The reality of the measurements of all the ways human life ends in the United States, violence ranks in the bottom quartile for all occurrences as documented by the CDC. Considering there’s little hope to reduce that number to zero, the focus of resources on preventing murder is relatively high considering its low rate of occurrence. Now before you get all twisted about this commentary, I’m writing this in response to yet another mass shooting. I wa hoping to find all this evidence of the out of control atrocity of murder and gun violence. I will never support this fucked uP disposition of ignoring a social tragedy like we do. Gun violence and the correlation between gun numbers can’t be separated by any rationale. But, let’s measure the problem to the resources directed towards its deterrence and identify the progress of the efforts and their effectiveness. I can’t find a single media report making this assessment. I’m not a journalist, and certainly not a researcher nor expert on the subject. I’m simply approaching this from a rational perspective. 

 

   https://www.statista.com/chart/10593/how-much-do-us-cities-spend-on-policing/

 

These are some numbers I found by Google search. Let’s extrapolate the relative perspectives now. If you measure (law enforcement/US GDP = .5%) of our total economic capacity is directly focused on all law enforcement. That doesn’t breakout the specific amount deducted for just murder, but the entire concept of law enforcement is highly associated with protection of citizens from other citizens, right? If you ranked the fears of citizens across all potential crimes, murder would outweigh theft of property, traffic violations, and anything else for a reasonable person. So, let’s apply all resources directed towards law enforcement to make this point. Now, in your own personal situation identify the things you utilize.5% of your budget for, then tell me how they rank in your life. It would seem to me all the noise about gun violence, mass shootings, and murder in general is only lip service. Important beliefs require full attention and support, right? In NO WAY am I suggesting in any way, form, or fashion that this is anything other than a social problem! Until the vast majority of ALL of us demand better, we will NEVER have better! I realize the percentage of anyone ever actually reading this is so minuscule relative to the problem, but it’s my place for developing, bettering, accepting my understanding of large scale social dilemmas, and dreaming of a REAL solution, not just bitching. 

 

  #gun violence  

“Fed/Up”

Now that my attention is back to improving the world at large, let’s recap what’s in need of improvement. Well, for starters let’s address the over 30% of the children in a poverty strickened area of Arkansas not even enrolled in the public school system. Yes, that’s nearly 1/3 of a population of children not attending school, oh and it’s free, and comes with a couple of meals to boot. My friend in the juvenile justice system brought this horrific statistic to light for me. These children aren’t truant, or expelled for some reason, they simply aren’t in the system to be recognized. How in the fuck can this happen in 2018 when the political machine in charge is boasting of how great things are? Obviously, it hasn’t slipped into this messed up status in just a couple of years, so both sides of the machine are to blame. Now that we’ve eliminated ideological preferences from the issue, now let’s turn to those projecting the news to the masses. How many reports are there on this topic over the past decade? I’m only able to find a small number of articles that are all very specific to a state of school district, and their references  are to declining enrollment, not undocumented children within a school district. Add this terrible statistic to the underfunded state and local pension plans around the nation, and there is a crisis of sorts looming. The worlds leader in so many aspects of humanity, technology, medicine, and opportunity is slowly slumping into everything the politicians of the present are promising to prevent. 

  “What can be done to change this narrative...?” 

 

 First and foremost, we have to identify the issues at hand. The public education system isn’t delivering the outcomes claimed by its administrators. This isn’t distorted by one political party anymore so than the other, it’s simply being ignored by both. We are not paying attention as a society to the critical measures of success, because it reflects back upon the parents across multiple generations. The choice was made when I was in school back in the 70’s to give the individual schools and districts accreditation based upon a flawed formula. These same measures remain in place today, yet demographics play a larger role in the resources supporting individual districts. Tax dollars are the life blood for all public education, and thus tie the education system explicably to the government. This funding structure is layered all the way from the local level all the way up to the federal level. 

 

  https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/pdf/coe_cma.pdf

 

This identifies the inequities of the quality for supporting education across the country. Given the structure of the revenue sources funding our educational system, why doesn’t the federal participation allow for some measure of equalizing the differences at the state and local level? I’ve yet to identify a single campaign on the Congressional or Executive level, where education funding inequality was mentioned.  K - 12 citizens can’t vote, and their parents don’t bother to involve themselves. Take a look at the voter turnout numbers in your area to identify the actual numbers involved in school board decisions, or funding requests. In my town, we have over 50,000 residents, and typically get around 2,000 votes total involving local school and municipal issues. We approved a $100,000,000.00 bond issue for a variety of stated municipal needs on less than 2,000 votes. This lack of involvement translates to total lack of accountability for tax payers efforts. We simply pour money into a system without measuring or monitoring its purpose relative to its results. If you were personally responsible for the proper allocation of $50,000.00 of someone else’s money, and had to report back to its source for what benefits were actually delivered by that money, would you act as though it didn’t matter? That’s public education in a nutshell. Now, for all of the foreigners reading this, the rhetoric of “Make America Great Again” is the biggest line of shit ever contrived. The opportunity within this system is arguably equally achievable as winning the lottery. Poor uneducated households offer little to no hope of attaining much more than the entitlement handouts that fall from the great wealth as crumbs to disenfranchised. I can write and talk about this until the cows come home (and I will continue to) but, until this problem gains enough attention by enough individuals the problem continues to expand. This dynamic is the sole supporting mechanism for the ultimate issue of humanity creating its own extinction. No generation wants to admit that their offspring will be the last generation. That will never change unless we alter the outcome for an entire generation. Humanity is so preoccupied with the feelings of the present to ever adequately contemplate the real future ahead. 

 

 How will we survive when the population hits 10 billion? https://www.ted.com/talks/charles_c_mann_how_will_we_survive_when_the_population_hits_10_billion

 

A child born today will be 32 when this future prediction arrives. Exactly how many of the parents for the roughly 200,000 new humans born today even considered these facts before conceiving that child? How many of those 10,000 migrants walking to the United States from the terrible conditions of their homelands considered what their lives would be like prior to the sexual encounter supporting their existence. Why are birth rates 10 times the global average for people living south of the equator, and why is Japan’s population shrinking from its post WWII massive expansion. The only supporting argument for why humanity exists within the dilemma of today is the lack of awareness to the issues at hand by enough people. This is a direct byproduct to education, and also the only solution to altering the future trajectory for the entire species. We have to create a standard of care that elevates more children to a higher level of adult capacity plain and simple. If you feel dumbfounded by this revelation,  you’re in the majority. If you’re concerned about it’s effects on your children, you’re in the very small minority. If you’re compelled to do something about it, let’s start by changing the awareness to at least even on both sides, but ultimately to a majority caring enough to get off their ass and demanding change through accountability of results for the resources allocated to the molding of today’s generation through education. 30% not even enrolled in the school system of any population in one of the most developed societies on the entire planet is absolutely failure by any standard. 

 

 

  #education 

“Remember/When”

I had planned this elaborate piece based upon some prophetic quotations of previously great minds. That all fell to shit, when I remembered the opening passage from a book I read last year professing the false interpretation of a famous Mark Twain quote. I googled several famous quote formats only to discover they all contained the same groups of sayings. This all caused me to wonder about just how much relevance is truly derived from combing over the past? Is it possible this processing of memories is just another self soothing mechanism for present day anxiety? It sort of struck me the other day, that I’m at the age where the quality of time matters more. Sifting through memories is avoidance behavior for creating new experiences. With an average life expectancy, I’m hoping for potentially three more decades to live. Yikes, that sounds scary until you try to think your way back to being 26 all over again. While I want to believe I have a grasp of that time, my recollection is simply the highlights of what I actually experienced. Nearly all of the day to day thoughts and more importantly, the feelings for that time are diminished to blurred recounts of distant memories. Will 56 be the same for me at 86? With any luck, my desire to create new experiences then will be as strong as it presently is. I used to lug all of that shit around with me on my daily rounds, until the weight became such a burden, it about stopped me from realizing how to positively mold my present. I think this is very common among most individuals, as the idea of growing into our future selves represents more anxiety about what that entails than drifting backwards into the comfort of what once was. This is where the lie begins within each and everyone of us. We pause to dream about that ideal version of who we are, only to realize that will take a shit ton of discipline and self control, that’s much harder than compromising to the notion of fuck it, what I am is good enough. We read and hear the stories of others accomplishments and begin to dream of our very own, then just as with that New Years resolution, we quit and revert to tolerating our lack of commitment. Sound familiar? 

 

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Maybe, just maybe this post is an exercise in the mental evolution of my thoughts. I ran with a concept I felt was worth flushing out, only to pivot on my notion towards something distinctively different. Now, after making a statement with my opening paragraph, I’ve emboldened yet another idea, and am currently in the midst of connecting the two. 

 

  “Where does awareness factor into our lives...?” 

 

The human senses evolved to give us a chance to survive our surroundings with only average physical capacity. We’re no match for the great predators of the past or today. Before we developed the tools and technology to avoid and overwhelm such animals, we hid from them by always being watchful of our surroundings. Modern man faces dramatically different surroundings, and while still valuable, the senses take a back seat to interpretation of the intent of other humans. This skill varies widely depending on the culture surrounding your life, and the language of that culture, with respect to how individuals articulate their intentions. This is where literacy matters most, and unfortunately this is one of modern man’s great dividers. Transitioning the feelings from the self and the memories of the past to a statement of the present, that clearly suggests your present state and potentially your future behavior all depends on the individuals capacity to use language as a tool. Now language and level of literacy matters most. Awareness converted to expression shared with others gives social structure its power. Having all the awareness in the world serves no purpose until it’s articulated to those in your community to deliver some form of benefit. 

 

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What does all of this mean? All of us have this profound sense of how we feel, even beyond our ability to express that to others and the world around us. This compelling sensation within us drives the story behind this desire to create and express ourselves as unique individuals. As far back as 70,000 years ago, there are artifacts representing this ennate human characteristic. It’s intrinsically human to cultivate our ability to share ourselves. Now let’s imagine the degrees that ability varies from person to person. Now we can shift to our accumulated knowledge as a species to measure things.

 

   https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/10/08/us-adults-rank-below-average-global-survey-basic-education-skills

 

Now the income inequality can be directly correlated to the functionality of the members of the social construct. How can anyone with limited or diminished capacity adequately compete with those who have advanced capacity over the same functionality? What could possibly be the cause for such skewed outcomes for human development across a common social structure? Let’s begin with the one being presented as the most prominent by the minority’s captured in this measurement. Discrimination because of race. Ok, there’s no denying discrimination hasn’t played a role in our social evolution over the years, but the capacity to become literate, and use that skill as a tool to improve the quality of any individual life hasn’t been denied since the decision from   “Brown vs Board of Education”, although it did take an extended period of time for the full scale implementation of its effects. Every single child in the country has access to gaining the skill of literacy. This suggests the differential outcomes is a result of something beyond access to education. Let’s examine the home as a contributing factor to functional literacy disparities. This aspect helps to clear the discrimination biases because it includes all races. 


   https://nces.ed.gov/NAAL/PDF/2006470_1.PDF

 

 This study indicated some marginal disparities between ethnicity, and confirmed a large percentage of the entire population at intermediate or below. As a matter of fact, whites scored below basic at a higher rate than blacks, and only slightly below Hispanics. This is absolutely not a racial discrimination issue. All races struggle at similar rates to attain intermediate functionality with literacy. So, what can we surmise from these findings? 

 

 Functional Literacy and poverty are highly correlated! 

 Functional Literacy is not a byproduct of lack of access to government programs! 

 Functional Literacy is a social dilemma! 

 

 

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 Functional Literacy is not unique to the United States! 

 

Isn’t it time to begin the conversation about the causes and the solutions? Poverty is a self fulfilling prophecy with regards to how it entraps segments of all populations. The reason it carries this heavy hand is the distortion it brings to the cognitive development of those in its grasp. Parents with limited capacity most of the time are unable to identify their role in lifting up their children out of their own dilemma. It’s not laziness, they just don’t know any better. Communities see their role as offering relief via charity and the allocation of tax dollars to welfare. Neither of which addresses the core problem in a manner for resolution, only pacifying their empathy and compassion for the suffering of others. A true solution should offer all children, not only the chance to attain a functional level of literacy, but the support to encourage their family to realize that as a minimum standard of care for all children. Lifting a single generation from their birth to a functional level of potential capacity will establish the roots for all future generations to come to flourish as a collective society. This can’t be accomplished by means of prejudice, judgement, and withholding of meaningful beneficial support. This requires transformational shifting of the perspectives we use to identify this massive issue. This requires dissecting the benefits from the efforts to enhance the outcomes for more people. A cultural revolution of sorts in the way we view our sense of community state, and nation. 

 

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I challenge anyone taking the time to read this piece to go out and do a bit of background work on this subject. Taking my grumbling about the situation is easily dismissed as an opinion by those taking offense or disagreeing with me completely. Think about the attributes of those around you, who thrive and flourish. What do they have in common with one another, and how well to they articulate themselves to others. Draw your own conclusions, but stick your nose in mankind’s business just long enough to speak intelligently on the content, not about how you feel over all this.

 

 

  #functional literacy