Fact: The majority of kids today attending school can hardly read, let alone write. To these children, simple math without a calculator would be harder than running without legs. Children don’t know many presidents, have no idea who our founding fathers were, and many probably can’t give the name of our current president. This being said, I think it is safe to say most children today don’t finish school with any kind of education. Sure there is a minority of the private school kids with parents who pay very large amounts of money so their kids can emerge with a good education, and even those less privileged kids with amazing stories of how they came out on top. But this is the 10%, leaving the 90% in the unfortunate category. You might be thinking, wow, how do so many kids then make it through college? And the answer is that many don’t. According to the College Academic Board, “approximately 35 percent of students who enter college will drop out during the first year,” and “only 63 percent of students who enroll in a four-year university will earn a degree, and it will take them an average of six years to do so.” Each year, this sad statistic seems to get worse, with no foreseeable end near. Many politicians make clear their concern for the education system, and constantly throw taxpayer money at the situation, but it only seems to get worse. In my opinion, the education is not the main problem, but instead the kids lack motivation to seek out a good well rounded education. For example, public schools across the U.S. use the same types of scheduling, classes, and hold strict rules, which largely affects child participation and cooperation in classrooms.
One way of revamping public education in the U.S. has been reforms. Debates occur votes take place and teachers come together to try and find solutions to questions pertaining to how they can make school days provide more learning with less collateral; Collateral being those who decide school doesn’t make sense, so why try. The head of education at a top university stated that, “public education reforms fail because they are compromised or sabotaged by the education lobbies—teacher associations, administrators, and the legislators in their pockets. There is certainly some truth to this explanation, as we shall see. But in many cases, attributing the failure of reform to subversion merely exonerates that reform. Most reform ideas are either irrelevant or destructive of education. They would fail whether organized political interests opposed them or not.” Her suggestion is that instead of building on the education system that isn’t working, support the current one with minimal change, which will lead to a more successful system each year.
With all of this money and time being spent to better our public education system, and no clear evidence that it is working, it only makes sense that it is the students who are at fault, right? maybe. Many false incentives are provided to children at an early age, influencing their views on their education and its real purpose. Myself along with many students were always told that good grades will lead to a life of success and money, makes sense right? wrong. As a junior in high school, I am mature enough to know that I hold the key to my own future, and it is our view on life that triumphs over grades and measures our success. This realization can be scary to most students, it was for me. Stress gathers, cheating occurs, and then you find yourself in situations that make you question the kind of person you’ve turned into, almost like a mid-teen crisis. Another sad statistic pertaining to our education system is that it can leave average students far behind academically. Many of what could be the most brilliant kids, full of potential, are left in the dust, a wasted mind. In the end, the education system and the pressure around it is what is causing the student to damage the system, with too many worries about getting the A, and less worries about pursuing the potential present in each one of our bodies and minds.
Money has always been a contributing factor in political races across the political spectrum, but lately, money seems to bear an even greater importance in the races. An executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network states, “Throughout this decade, money wins 95% of the time.” Also, a research which has been taking place for many years states that it costs about 16% more money each year in order to run. This being said, limited money can be a problem, especially if you intend to win. Another interesting fact concerning money is that to run for state House and Senate, winners in this decade have spent upward of $100,000. With all of this eye opening evidence and blatant facts, there is no way to disprove the fact that more money equals more votes, right? Wrong. To understand why this is wrong, you must know that you could have a billionaire running against a millionaire. Both people can support their dues and successfully run to win, but does the billionaire have the edge? not at all. For example, at this year’s 2012 Iowa Caucus, Rick Santorum defeated big names such as Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul, who spent over 20 million dollars each in Iowa. Santorum only spent one million dollars all in, yet he came out on top. Despite this being a small battle in the war for the Republican nomination, it speaks volumes for those candidates with less funding who want to compete and win their political race.
Super PACs are also very important when it comes to money and elections. PAC stands for ‘Political Action Committee,’ this organization campaigns for or against political candidates. Federally, an organization becomes a PAC when it receives more than $1,000, while at the state level, an organization becomes a PAC depending on that state’s election laws. These Super PACs are sometimes the deciding factor when it comes to more money and more votes. So all of this being said, while it is probably true that ‘A dollar paid is a dollar earned,’ it all depends on how this money is being gathered, whether it be from donations, outside spending, government plans, or Super PACs. For example, these Super PACs can collect unlimited amounts of money, and use it all toward one candidate whom they want to win. With all of these overwhelming facts and enticing ideas pushing me farther toward the pro side of this argument, I still have my doubts. For example, think of two candidates in around January, and think about who might be the richer candidate by that November. Say they both get millions and millions over this time span, but candidate #1 makes 50 million more than candidate #2. Candidate #1 won right? maybe, maybe not. Candidate #2 could actually have won because his net worth would be higher, therefore it didn’t matter what sum of money he made, because his net worth was already larger. This being said, I believe that it is not possible at all to know how much money really matters when it comes to campaigns when only factoring in who wins and loses.
In my opinion, modern politics is one of the most complicated systems around when it comes to raising, spending, or anything money. There are so many important factors like votes prior to an election, primaries, finding good candidates, and the fund raising, which all require lots of money. Our country faces deadly challenges, lots of upkeep, and lots of demand for leadership, and these are the factors which should win over money every time. In the end, gold doesn’t always buy you success in politics, but you better be willing to get some, because in the long run it could be the difference between success and failure.