AMERICA'S OPPORTUNITY TO EDUCATE
By Chaelan MacTavish
[This article was published in: the Portland State University "Vanguard", October 29, 2004. Chaelan MacTavish can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
The United States is the leading economic and military power on the planet. Why are we not taking advantage of our unique situation in history and going far beyond the boundaries of current human knowledge?
Elementary school teachers should have a starting wage of $75,000 per year. College professors should make upwards of $200,000. US teachers should have the most enviable profession on the planet.
By making the salaries high, we will attract the best and most talented people into the field of education. Those who currently teach do so out of a labor of love. The "No Child Left Behind" Act requires that they have upwards of seven years of schooling after high school, and in return they are paid sometimes as low as $16,000 a year.
Right now many talented citizens do not consider teaching because the pay is so poor. By substantially raising the pay, teaching positions will become the focus of intense competition. No longer will students have a schedule full of boring teachers with the occasional mentor.
Imagine a school where every teacher is amazing, charismatic, knowledgable and can address every student's needs. Every teacher would be outstanding, for many others would be waiting to take their spot, should their performance be anything short of stellar.
To fund this venture, we must tax the obscenely rich. The top 1 percent of American incomes will go back into fundamentally improving the culture of the system that has allowed them to accumulate their massive wealth.
Ironically, 27 percent of Americans think they are in the top one percent of American income. This is not true. Those making $100,000 per year are in the middle class. Those earning $10 million a year may legitimately consider themselves rich. Those earning $50 million a year, good for them, but they have not attained the level of the obscenely rich.
No, the patrician class of the top 1 percent earns more than $300 million a year. Any reasonable American would agree that when someone is making that much money, they are making much more than they need.
A tenured American teacher making $50,000 a year will earn $2 million in 40 years. The top 1 percent of people in the United States makes $2 million every other day.
This income disparity must be closed if our prosperity is to be an American prosperity, instead of a patrician prosperity. The last time prosperity was limited strictly to the obscenely wealthy, Rome fell. We have an opportunity to go further, by allowing our entire culture to prosper.
It must be noted that any time taxes are proposed on the wealthy or obscenely wealthy, the prospect of job loss is raised like a fearful spectre on All Hallow's Eve. Should we tax the obscenely wealthy, they will say that they will have to refrain from investing to businesses and creating jobs. This is actually advantageous to the people, for with all the money that the government gains from taxing the obscenely wealthy, a huge sea of jobs will be created in the field of education. Massive employment opportunities in education will solve more problems that they create.
Imagine an American culture that strives to surpass our limitations in the scientific fields. Imagine a culture of artists and scientists all investigating the nature of the universe and of our own humanity. Imagine how much we could grow as a species.
All we have to do to attain this New American Dream is convince a majority to vote in its best interest. How ironic that we are unable to do so because our populace is, simply, uneducated.
[A bumper sticker summarizes our plight: One Nation Under Educated.].