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Aug 25, 2022

The Solutions Exist

By:Dylan Ratigan

Challenges have solutions. Ten years ago, in my book, Greedy Bastards, I spoke about the lack of solutions resulting from embedded and what have become outdated ways about which we approach those challenges. Education is a classic example of a challenge with solutions.

As it currently stands, our educational system is dependent upon property taxes. As a result, the higher income areas generate greater tax revenues which then get poured back into the community. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the poorer income areas where tax revenues are low and subsequently, schools suffer. It creates a vicious circle. However, it’s a fixable circle if we adopt a new approach.

We live in a world that moves quickly. Transportation and telecommunications advancements have accelerated the rate of change. This has led to fantastic advancements in society. At the same time, legacy systems that have not evolved, like education, fall behind at an exponential rate.

Education needs to evolve from a property tax-based system to one that affords better opportunities, funded at the federal level, and is predicated on numbers of students. At the same time, our teaching methods need rethinking in such a way that incorporates a master-apprentice approach so that students develop true problem-solving skills along with better social skills.

The greatest challenges to all this are twofold. First, there are the entrenched interests who benefit from the system as is. Second, we suffer from a tunnel vision approach that causes us to lack identifying new solutions.

Can the $10,000 student forgiveness plan offer a long term solution?

If we want to get serious about fixing fixable challenges, then we need to address the obstacles anchoring us from progress. With respect to politicians, there is an old axiom that owning the issue is more valuable than offering up a solution. In other words, solving the education issue means losing a campaign issue that generates votes. The solution to this rests in the hands of voters to elect officials who actually put forth and fight for legislation offering true solutions. Offering $10,000 is typical political fodder creating the illusion of solving the challenge when in actuality, it simply perpetuates denial. While it is better than doing nothing, it ultimately solves nothing.

Identifying solutions means constructive dialogue. We have very much become a society operating on a binary approach. We either agree with one another on everything or disagree on everything. That approach has not served us well. The art of compromise, active listening, and conflict resolution has been lost. We can and we must change that. All of us want our children to grow up healthy, happy and with opportunities. We want our parents to have the care they need as they age. We want access to medical care when we need it. We don’t all have to agree on how to offer those, but instead of jumping ahead to where we disagree, let’s just all acknowledge where we do agree and take it one step at time.

I firmly believe the larger challenges we face are solvable. Education is an easily identifiable area in need of a solution. We owe it to ourselves and our children to look for solutions with potential, instead of simply resorting to the same old tired ways that have not evolved fast enough.

Special Project's Editor Josh Fabian contributed to this article.

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