What follows is a list of things that would be cheaper than giving homes to the homeless, and better for America’s future.
- Put shop back in school. And music, and art. These were ways kids found what they love. Instead of sports, slide some focus to performance arts, and exercising social/interpersonal skills. Keep the tech, but remove it as the focus. It’s an option, not the only one.
- Teach “home economics” again in grade school. Things like personal finance (practical math), basic shopping techniques (more practical math), basic to advanced cooking for the home, deal finding for clothing and other home needs, life hacking, etc.).
- The fact is that today’s parents (the ones we need to focus on) are learning how to do these very things from people that have no clue what being a parent means (their parents, friends, etc.), much less what best practices are. This is not a socioeconomic question, it’s a growth strategy question.
- Help Jr. high school kids find their actual passion vs. cramming them onto the conveyor belt of college (advanced high school).
- Help high school dropouts find jobs – it doesn’t require more school, just find things that don’t require college: coffee shops, dry cleaning, grocery stores, late model car mechanics, janitorial services, lawn care, plumbing, etc. These are fantastic jobs, but society frowns upon them today. Our parents, and generations now, have fallen for the “my kid must go to college” trap. No, not everyone has to go to college. Stop that.
- Find Jr. high, high school, and high school drop outs mentors and apprenticeships as a *part of the eduction system.* Don’t wait for the “oh crap, I graduated, now what” mistake we continue to make today.
If we address any or all of the above, we’ll have fewer functional homeless… and fewer on the brink/at risk/in poverty. Our youth would have something productive to do… and above all else, it challenges them at an earlier age, with a safe place to fail.
Solving these issues will take decades, and it also takes courage and fortitude. We can’t continue to do the same things we’ve been doing for the past century and expect a different outcome. Schools need an overhaul, and sadly for many, this includes the entire staff and administration. Today, information spreads at the speed of light and knows no building, so let’s leverage that to our advantage.
And no, not everyone needs to learn to code. STEM and STEAM won’t save the economy. A basic life-relevant education that encourages follow-through learning (not dictating what to learn), and helps kids find their thing, while helping them *do* that thing, will change the future.
I say let’s heavily invest in our future: the kids. It’ll save hundreds of millions in future state expenditures (from healthcare to prison). All it needs to succeed is your voice, and action. Demand better from your neighborhood, and city representatives.