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Tag Archives: United States

Not Broken! – Part 5/5

You may want to skip this page if you prefer opinions without facts used as support (this is known as hot air or natural gas).  I tend to support my opinions, some say, with too many facts (what I consider to be six cups of coffee).

There are more comparisons we should look at, and the first is comparing literacy in America with its northern and southern neighbors in addition to the top-ten countries with the highest reported high-school graduation rates.

In fact, there is another measurement that may be more meaningful than a country’s reported high school graduation rate. That measurement is functional illiteracy.

The United States and many other countries claim high literacy rates because the definition of literacy says, “The adult literacy rate is the percentage of people age 15 and above who can, with understanding, read and write a short, simple statement on their everyday life.”

However, functional illiteracy means that reading and writing skills are inadequate “to manage daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level.”

Functional illiteracy is contrasted with illiteracy in the strict sense, meaning the inability to read or write simple sentences in any language.

For example, my older brother, (died age 64 in 1999) graduated from high school in the United States in 1953 and was considered literate due to the definition of literacy, because he could write and read at a second grade level.  However, he was functionally illiterate and never read a newspaper, magazine or book in his life. In fact, he could not fill out an employment application.

Now, let’s cast serious doubt on comparing high school graduation rates in America with other countries.

According to the United Nations Human Development Report, the United Kingdom, that reported the highest secondary (high school) graduation rate in the world, has 21.8% of its adult population age 16 – 65 considered functionally illiterate.

Switzerland, in second place for high school graduation rates has a functional illiteracy rate among adults of 15.9%.

Norway, in third place, has a 7.9% functional illiteracy rate among adults.

I could find no information on functional illiteracy in South Korea, fourth place, and Japan, fifth place.

Italy, in sixth place for high school graduation rates, has a functional illiteracy rate of 46% among adults

Seventh place Ireland has a 22.6% functional illiteracy rate.

Eighth place Germany has a functional illiteracy rate is 14.4%

Ninth place Finland’s functional illiteracy rate is 10.4%

Tenth place Denmark’s functional illiteracy rate is 9.6%

America’s functional illiteracy rate was reported as 20% among adults.

However, for a better comparison with a similar culture that has similar values and similar problems, I looked north to Canada and discovered that among adults aged 16 to 65, about 42 per cent scored below Level 3 in prose literacy, which is considered the threshold needed for coping in society. Source: Vivele Canada

In addition, the CBC reported on Canada’s shame, saying that nearly 15 percent of Canadians can’t understand the writing on simple medicine labels such as on an Aspirin bottle and an additional 27% can’t figure out simple information like the warnings on a hazardous materials sheet.

For further proof that comparing high-school graduation rates between countries as a way to judge America’s public education system was and is wrong, in 2009, Canada’s high school graduation rate was reported as 78% but the country has a functionally illiterate adult population ages 16 – 65 of forty-two percent (more than twice that of the United States). Even comparing literacy rates is not a fair comparison between countries, for example, because in Finland most parents teach his or her child/children to read before they start school at age seven showing us that culture has a lot to do with literacy too.

However, in America studies show that 80% of parents never attend a parent-teacher conference.

What about Mexico—just south of the US.  According to Mexico’s 2010 census 93.7% of Mexican males aged 15 and older were literate compared to only 91.1% of females, but what about functional illiteracy?  Mexico comes close to Canada with 43.2% of its adult population aged 16 – 65 functionally illiterate as my brother was.

Compared to America’s closest neighbors, the public-education system in the US is doing a fantastic job. Is there room for improvement? Of course, but the overall evidence shows that America’s public schools do not deserve to be condemned as broken. Instead, the facts say that most of America’s public school teachers are doing the job they were hired to do while it is politicians that are telling them what to teach.

Another factor to consider is High School graduation rates by race/ethnicity in the United States

For the 2007-08 school year, 91.4% of Asian/Pacific Islanders graduated from high school (156,687); 81% of Whites (1,853,476); 64.2% of American Indian/Alaska Native (31.707); 63.5% of Hispanic (443,238), and 61.5% of Blacks (415,111). Source: U.S. Department of Education

Most schools have all five races/ethnicities represented in the same classrooms (the schools I taught in for thirty years did) with the same teachers. However, when the numbers are averaged, critics of public education blame the teachers.

When averaged, the graduation rate in 2008 was 74.9%, which makes the public schools seem to be earning a C while they are earning an A- for the Asian/Pacific Islanders and a B- for Whites.

Really? How can the same teacher be so successful with Asian/Pacific Islanders and Whites and not with the other ethnic groups?

This is the advise I told our daughter when she was in grade school: “The only excuse to fail and not learn in school is when students do not pay attention, ask questions, read, do homework, class work, etc.  There is no excuse. Even if the teacher is incompetent, a motivated student will still learn.” And she did.

In addition, the graduation rates increase when the GED is included with traditional high-school degrees. In 2009, the completion rates of 18-through 24-year-olds was: 88.3% white, 87.1% black, and 76.8% Hispanic. Source: U.S. Department of Education

If an Asian or White student is successful with a teacher, why can’t the Hispanic or Black student have the same success with the same teacher?  After all, the teacher is responsible to teach and the student is responsible to learn (or has this been forgotten).  If the teacher wasn’t doing his or her job, then the Asians and Whites should have graduation rates similar to Hispanics and Blacks.

Return to Not Broken! – Part 4 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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Not Broken! – Part 2/5

I’ll start with 1900 when the total number of high-school graduates in the US numbered 16,000 of 815,000 seventeen-year olds.

In 1920, 311,000 graduated from high school or 16.8% of the total which was 1,855,000

In 1940, 1,221,000 or 50,8% of 2,403,000 graduated.

In 1960, 1,858,000 or 69.5% of 2,672,000 graduated.

In 1980, 3,043,000 or 71.4% of 4,262,000 graduated.

Source: nces.ed.gov

After 1970, high school graduation rates for 17/18 year olds level off and fluctuated but not by much.

In fact, in 2009, 75.5% of high school students that started ninth grade as freshman graduated from high school at age 17/18.

Furthermore, in 2009, eighty-nine-point-eight (89.8%) percent of 18 through 24-year-olds not enrolled in high school had earned a high school degree or earned a high-school diploma or a GED after leaving high school.

A GED is a 7 hour test on five-subject areas. Every few years a number of graduating high-school students is selected to take the GED. In order to be awarded a GED, a candidate must do better on the test than 60% of the graduating high-school seniors who took the test.

Take another look at the two numbers that represent graduation from US secondary schools before we compare public education in the United States to other countries:

A. 75.5% (age 17/18)

B. 89.9% (ages 18 – 24)

In 2008, the media reported that the US high school graduation rate was lower than ten countries but this was misleading as you will discover: Source: This list comes from a CNN Blog called Global Public Square. However, I have added more information from other reputable sources.

Note: the first number is the reported total graduation rate but it is often misleading once the facts are known. In addition, remember this: the US public schools do not offer vocational programs that lead to a secondary-school diploma (high school). In the US, programs that lead to graduation from high school are mostly academic—not vocational.


The need for Vocational Education Funding in the public schools

Top Ten List as it was reported in the media:

1. The United Kingdom (92%—In the UK, compulsory education for all children goes from their fifth birthday to the year they turn 16. In addition, one-half of British universities have lost confidence in A grades that are awarded by secondary schools and require many applicants to sit for a competitive entrance examination, and one out of five English adults [20%] are functionally illiterate telling us that graduation rates in the UK mean little to nothing in a comparison of this type—yet the United Kingdom boasts the highest secondary-school graduation rate without any mention of vocational programs)

2. Switzerland (90%, but only 30% completed the general academic program while 71% completed a vocational program toward secondary school graduation—there must be some overlap where students that complete the academic path complete a vocational program too)

3. Norway (78% below age 25 and 92% above age 25, but only 60% completed the academic program, while 38% completed a vocational program toward secondary school graduation)

4. South Korea (89%, but only 66% completed the academic program, while 23% completed a vocational program)

5. Japan (95%, but only 72% completed the academic program, while 23% completed a vocational program toward secondary graduation)

6. Italy (80%, but only 35% completed the academic program, while 59% completed a vocational program)

7. Ireland (90% before age 25 and 91% after age 25, but only 70% completed the academic program, while 62% completed a vocational program with some students completing both)

8. Germany (84%, but only 39% completed the academic program, while 45% completed a vocational program)

9. Finland (84% before age 25 and 95% after age 25, but only 48% complete the academic program, while 94% completed a vocational program with some students completing both)

10. Denmark (75% before age 25 and 85% after age 25, but only 55% complete the general academic program, while 47% complete a vocational program). Source: oecd.org

Continued on September 3, 2012 in Not Broken! – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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Yes, Finland is a great example of how to educate children and there is a wide gap between Finland and America’s cultures.

However, in the US, every public school teacher should walk out and demand respect and the truth about the achievements in Education in this country before returning to the classroom.
Joseph Goebbels, one of Hitler’s inner circle in the Nazi Party, once said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will come to believe it.”

You see, it all depends on how the facts are presented. The critics of public education have a loud voice and use language that shows the glass half empty instead of about 90% full, which is more accurate. Once all the facts about high-school graduation rates, the perception changes dramatically.
To achieve this, one must start more than a century back and chart the progress

.
I’ll start with 1900 when the total number of high school graduates in the US numbered 16,000 of 815,000 seventeen-year olds.
In 1920, 311,000 graduated from high school or 16.8% of the total which was 1,855,000
In 1940, 1,221,000 or 50,8% of 2,403,000 graduated.
In 1960, 1,858,000 or 69.5% of 2,672,00 graduated.
In 1980, 3,043,000 or 71.4% of 4,262,00 graduated.
Source: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs93/93442.pdf
After 1970, high school graduation rates level off and fluctuated but stayed pretty close.
in 2009, 75.5% of high school students that started as freshman graduated.
In addition, In 2009, some 89.8 percent of 18- through 24-year-olds not enrolled in high school had received a high school diploma or alternative credential.
How does this compare with other countries?
In 2008, the U.S. high school graduation rate was lower than the rates of ten countries: The United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Finland and Denmark.
Source: http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/03/how-u-s-graduation-rates-compare-with-the-rest-of-the-world/
However, there are 193 countries represented in the UN, putting the United States High School graduation rate in the top 5.69% of all the nations that are members of the UN. That means 94.31% of the Earth’s countries have lower high school graduation rates.
When do we see these types of comparison from the American media or critics of public education in the US? Never

The next question is, “What is the political and economic agenda of these critics and a media that seems controlled by the critics?”

 

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Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 5/5

Harvard University was the first to set up student loans in 1840 but these loans didn’t become mainstream until the 1960s? Source: Free from Broke.com

Did you know that in 1986, President Reagan eliminated student loan interest as a tax deduction. For 10 years, student loans were not deductible until President Clinton once again allowed the interest to be deductible in 1997 (Forbes).  However, Clinton only allowed the student loan interest to be deductible for the first five years the loan was in repayment; in 2001, the law was changed to allow the interest to be deductible for the life of the loan.

Then in 2007, President G. W. Bush, reduced the student-loan interest rate from 6.8% to 3.4%.

A few more facts to put the student, college-loan debate in perspective and what the media isn’t telling us:

The US has the 2nd highest number of higher education students in the world—4.75% of the total population. The U.S. Department of Education shows 4,861 colleges and universities with 18,248,128 students in 2007.

However, the median cumulative debt among graduating Bachelor’s degree recipients at 4-year undergraduate schools was $19,999 in 2007-08 and 65.6% of 4-year grads with BA degrees took out student loans, which means 34.4% did not.

Of the 9 million that borrowed, one-tenth (900 thousand) borrowed $44,668 or more, which means 90% (more than eight million students) borrowed less.

Graduate and professional students borrowed more, with the additional cumulative debt of a graduate degree typically ranging from $30,000 to $120,000.

How many borrowed the most?

More than 80% of students that are majoring in graduate degrees in medicine borrowed an average of $127,272, while 61.6% of those that graduated with only a BA degree borrowed an average of $23,494. Source: FinAid.org

If you recall, my $7,000 student loan in 1973 had the same buying power as $36,178.96 in 2012, and I paid it off in a decade by eventually working two jobs for three years.

That brings me back to the media. Why has the media been creepy-crawling all over how horrible college student debt is today when the facts say, “On average, most college graduates earn back enough to pay off their student expenses within a decade or so. Two studies by Baum found that graduates with a bachelor’s and no further schooling—or as the earnings literature calls it a bit too on point, a “terminal bachelor’s”—are on average able to repay their college tuition and loans, living expenses, and lost income from skipping four years of work by the time they turn 33. Private-college graduates spend more on their degrees, Baum says, but as they also have slightly higher earning power than their public-college counterparts, they still on the average earn back their college costs before age 40.”. Source: Village Voice

How about those medical students graduating as doctors with all that debt? Do you think they will earn enough to pay off his or her student loans?

Although the following site is moaning and groaning along with the national media, take a look at how much an MD earns after she starts practicing medicine: “The mean annual salary of a MD specialist is $175,011 in the US, and $272,000 for surgeons.” Source: MD Salaries.com

I’m really feeling sorry for these poor, suffering MDs. Maybe we should all chip in and help them pay off those student loans so they will have more money to spend on bigger houses and fancier cars.

In addition, I found this revealing: less than half a percent (0.05%) of those who graduate from college have student loans above $200,000—that means 99.5% do not. This may sound callous, but I do not feel sorry for these people. I paid off my student loans and so can they.

In conclusion, there is one more comparison that must be made. In 1980, the average credit-card debt in America was $670 per household, but today that number is up to $7,800 (per household)—an increase of  more than 1,160 percent. If we factor in inflation, that $670 would be $1,875.90 today—not almost $8,000.

In 1980, credit card debt was less than 4% of household annual median income. That number is16% today. In fact, in 1980 through 1994, the US saving rate averaged 8%, but in 1976, the personal saving rate was 12%.

However, in October 2011, that saving rate was at 3.6%.

Where do you think America’s so called debt-ridden college students learned to borrow to get what they want? If the nation lets young Americans (or their parents and/or grandparents) off the hook for that student-loan debt, these people will never learn.

Return to Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 4 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 3/5

How many college students are “deep” in debt, and what does “deep” in debt mean?

In 2007-2008, two-thirds (65.6%) of 4-year undergraduate students graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and some debt—the average student loan debt among graduating seniors was $23,186 (excluding PLUS Loans but including Stafford, Perkins, state, college and private loans).

Let’s compare that to the student loan I graduated with in 1973 when I earned my BA in journalism.  It took me more than a decade to pay that loan off and eventually I worked two jobs for three years to do it.

I did not complain, moan or groan about it.

In fact, I considered myself an adult responsible for the money I borrowed after my GI Bill ran out so I could finish my college education—it took me five years to graduate, not four and although I worked part time jobs for the first three years I attended college, I decided to focus 100% on my studies the last two years and took out more than one student loan before I graduated.

In 1973, that student loan was $7,000.  Compared to today’s average student loan debt of $23,186, it looks as if my student loan was a bargain.

Think again!

If you check the CPI Inflation Calculator, you will discover that $7,000 in 1973 had the same buying power as $36,178.96 in 2012.

How about a few more comparisons—in January 1975, the unadjusted average home value in the united States was $39,500—in January 2011 that average had increased to $275,700—a 700% increase. Source: US Census

Note: In 1975, my $7,000 student loan equaled about 18% of the value of the average house in America. However, the average student loan today is only 8.5% of the average value of a house in America.

How about the price comparison of a car, average wages, cost for a gallon of gas, loaf of bread, and hamburger meat?

Continued August 17, 2012 in Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 2/5

Today, student loans are the largest source of financial aid for college. Since the mid-1970s, when student borrowing started to grow, loans have increased from about one-fifth to nearly two-fifths of all available student aid—from 20% to 40%, a hundred percent increase.

A half century after the initial GI Bill, three decades since the establishment of federally guaranteed student loans, and more than two decades following the creation of a national basic grant program, both the central commitment to federal support for higher education and the mechanisms of such support are under attack.

There are choices to make. One choice is to serve the United States and earn the financial aid of the GI Bill.

Fifty-one percent (6.2 million) of World War II veterans used the GI Bill to attend college.

Forty-three percent (114,000)  of Korean War Veterans and Seventy-two percent (1.9 million) of Vietnam Veterans.

For college students that do not want to join the US Military, what is fueling this media/Blog assault on colleges and student loans?

“In the 1970s, family income levels increased faster than tuition; growth in student aid outstripped both tuition increases and growth in the number of eligible students; and grant aid was more common than borrowing.

“All these trend lines, however, turned against college affordability in the 1980s and 1990s. Family income has generally remained flat (when inflation is factored in) and has been far outpaced by tuition increases, which at both public and private four-year institutions have averaged at least twice the rate of inflation since 1980. Tuitions have risen annually by more than 8 percent over this period, while annual growth in the Consumer Price Index has averaged about 4 percent. Public sector prices have increased most sharply in the 1990s, rising at 3 times the rate of inflation as the economy and revenues in most states have declined.” Source: Federal Student Aid Policy: A History and an Assessment

Continued August 16, 2012 in Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 1/5

This morning before I started work on the final draft of this series of posts, I saw that the media painted grandparents as victims of evil student debt.

AnnaMaria Andriotis writing for the Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money said, “Tens of thousands of retirees have fallen behind on student loans—and the feds are coming after their Social Security benefits.”

I’m sure that many reading this will disagree with me but in my opinion, if grandpa signed for the loan and the payments come from Social Security, too bad. I do not care what the reason was for the loan. In most of these cases, parents/grandparents cosigned for the student loan of a child or grandchild in college. I have a sister-in-law that co-signed for $60,000 in student loans for her oldest son so he could attend Stanford (he spent some of this borrowed money on a trip to Europe).

If that had been my son, he would have started at a community college for the first two years and then transfered to a state college to earn his BA, and because I am a former US Marine and Vietnam veteran, the tuition would have been zero in California—one of the benefits of putting your life-on-the-line for your country.

If common sense were involved and the grandparent/parent wasn’t sure the child was making smart choices in college, what happened to the word “NO, I won’t sign! Get a job!”?

And then kick them out of the house or cut them off without a dime.

My parents grew up during the Great Depression and when I graduated from high school, I was told, go to college or pay rent, so I made a third choice and joined the US Marines and went straight to Vietnam after boot camp.

Maybe student loans are debt slavery (aren’t all loans a form of debt slavery?), but the grandparents/parents signed away their financial freedom and the law says it was legal.

Dragging grandparents into this debate is another example of the recent media hate binge against college education and student loans. From what I have read and heard and then discovered on my own, this has been mostly one sided—in short, propaganda but for what purpose?

Do not believe what you are reading/hearing from the media and in Blogs.  This issue is complicated and not easy to explain, but there are other numbers that tell a different story.

For example, in 1972, the population of the United States was almost 212 million. Today it is more than 310 million—an increase of 46%.

On August 2, 2012, there were 17.5 million students attending US colleges and Universities (private and public).

However, in 1973, there were 6.8 million students attending college (private and public)—an increase of 257%  since 1973. In addition, in 2009-10, 270,666 of those college students were military veterans attending college on a GI Bill (anyone may join the military and take advantage of whatever GI Bill is available for education).

Continued August 15, 2012 in Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 2

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What is the Matter with Parents these Days? – Part 4/4

Kids are immature, lack knowledge and a sense of reality—at least those American children that are sheltered from the harsh realities of life and competition.

Therefore, many childish dreams are totally unrealistic, such as becoming President of the United States. My wife and me know a family where the oldest son, now a graduate student at Stanford University, dreams of becoming the governor of California one day, yet he hasn’t joined a political party yet.

Anyway, for children dreaming of becoming President of the United States, the odds are almost impossible. After all, there is only one position for that job and since April 30, 1789, when George Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the United States, there have only been forty-four presidents counting President Obama.

Then there is the requirement that one be at least 35 years of age to qualify.  With 310 million Americans and two major political parties, competing to become the President of the United States is a long shot with a tough road to follow.

How about professional sports (another popular dream job)? Over the years, while I was still teaching, many of my high school students, mostly boys, told me that it was a waste of time for them to study because they were going to be pro athletes and did not need an education.

However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are only 16,500 jobs in competitive sports and the median pay is $43,740.  Most professional athletes do not earn tens of millions of dollars. Only a few earn that kind of money, but those few are all we hear about in the media. From 2010 – 2020, only 3,600 new positions will open up in pro sports or 360 a year (on average). The competition to land one of these positions in pro sports is fierce but not as fierce as President of the US.

How many plumbers are there in the United States? According to the BLS, in 2010, there were 419,000 plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters working in the US with medium annual pay of $46,660 per year. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair pipes that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases to and in businesses, homes, and factories.

Using the BLS Website, we may quickly discover that the number of jobs held by accountants in 2010 was 1,216,900 and there would be 190,700 new jobs coming available between 2010-20 or about 19,000 a year, while the average medium pay for actors (another popular dream job) is $17.44 per hour with new openings numbering 260 per year (on average)—a ratio of 73 accountants to each actor.

I read once that about 40,000 aspiring actors flood into Hollywood each year to compete for those 260 potential positions that pay $17.44 per hour (on average).

Another popular dream job, mostly for girls, is to become a fashion model. According to the BLS, the annual medium pay in 2010 was $32,920 with about 200 openings per year (on average). On the other hand , median pay for barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists (beauticians) is $22,500 per year and there are 10,000 new positions opening annually (on average)—a ratio of 50 barbers or hairdressers for each fashion model.

My son, who is currently in his thirties, refused to have a backup plan. Last I heard he was a waiter/bartender. The median pay for waiters/bartenders is $18,130/18,680 annually. He wanted to be an actor/singer.

I was a public school teacher for thirty years and the median pay in 2010 was $53,230. In 2004-2005, my last year in the classroom, I earned more than $80,000. There are 3,380,000 teachers working in the US public schools. Teaching was my back up plan. My dream was to become an author and there are about 145,900 working writers and authors in the United States and the median pay in 2010 was $55,420—a ratio of 23 teachers for each writer/author.

The odds favored teaching.

Just because you can dream, that does not guarantee that the dream will come true. I never gave up on my dream and after I retired from teaching in 2005, my dream became reality in 2008 with the first of three novels of “The Concubine Saga”. My dream was born in 1968 and became reality in 2008—it took forty years.

I’m glad I had a backup plan.

However, I can still hear the average American parent telling his or her child how proud they are that he or she is going to be President of the United States or a famous pro athlete, or actor, or fashion model one day, and then the TV is turned on to watch a popular reality show such as American Idol where the odds of winning are sixty-thousand to one but no one tells us that.

Return to What is the Matter with Parents these Days? – Part 3 or start with Part 1

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Slavery is ALIVE and your Child may be at Risk – Part 2/3

Dan Rather, writing for the Huffington Post, said, “The girls, sometimes as young as 12, often 13-16, are lured by a ‘front man’ in his mid-to-late teens. He becomes her ‘boyfriend,’ taking her to dinner, buying her nice things, sometimes meeting her parents. The girl eventually moves in with him. Then he says they need money to continue being together. First, she’s enticed to sleep with his friends to pay the rent. Soon she’s turning tricks for what police say is an endless supply of older men willing to pay top money for sex with very young girls. … There is, and has been for a long time, a national ‘War on Drugs.'”

However, Rather says, “There isn’t one (a war) on child prostitution and what amounts to a slave trade. Only feeble efforts at best.”

That causes me to question how many of our political leaders and wealthy Americans take advantage of this form of slavery in the United States.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center reports, “An estimated 12 – 27 million people are caught in one or another form of slavery. Between 600,000 and 800,000 are trafficked internationally, with as many as 17,500 people trafficked into the United States. Nearly three out of every four victims are women. Half of modern-day slaves are children.”

In fact, KUHF.fm (88.7) reported, “Houston has a huge commercial sex industry and there’s some quotes that say that there’s more SOBs, which is sexually-oriented businesses, in Houston per square mile than there are in Las Vegas. … According to the Department of Justice, Houston is one of the most intense human trafficking regions in the country, with one out of five trafficked persons passing through this city.”

What does this say about the GOP (Republican Party)?  Texas has been a Republican stronghold since the mid-1970s.

This horrible crime is not new—it is as old as civilization as we know it. However, America’s hot button political issues focus on abortion, illegal immigration, the Iraq War, pay as you go budgeting, tax cuts and supply side economics, teachers’ unions and public education, the value (or lack of value) of college education, and universal healthcare while ignoring slavery. It seems that no one with a high-profile public image has stepped up to focus on this issue that is all but ignored—until now, and she has been both criticized and praised publicly for doing it.

My next question—Why would anyone criticize Jada Pinkett Smith, the mother of Willow Smith and wife of Will Smith, for producing a video about modern human trafficking and/or slavery unless the critic benefits from that slave trade?

Continued on July 4, 2012 in Slavery is ALIVE – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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Slavery is ALIVE and your Child may be at Risk – Part 1/3

Africans are not the only slaves in history. We mostly hear only about the African slave trade but slavery is much older than that. In fact, slavery existed in Africa among Africans long before African slaves were sent to the Americas.

For example, In Senegambia, between 1300 and 1900, close to one-third of the population was enslaved. In early Islamic states of the western Sudan, including Ghana (750–1076), Mali (1235–1645), Segou (1712–1861), and Songhai (1275–1591), about a third of the population were enslaved.

Slavery is as old as civilization. History World.net says, “Slavery enters human history with civilization. Hunter-gatherers and primitive farmers have no use for a slave. … War is the main source of supply, and wars are frequent and brutal in early civilizations. When a town falls to a hostile army, it is normal to take into slavery those inhabitants who will make useful workers and to kill the rest.”

Although the West boasts of the benefits of democracy, there were slaves in the Greek and Roman republics thousands of years before the establishment of European colonies in the Americas.

If you study American history, you know that from 1861 – 1865, the United States fought its bloodiest war—a war to end slavery. At least 618,000 Americans died in that Civil War. Some experts claim 700,000 died. The cost of the war was more than $11 billion. In today’s dollars, that equals almost $155 billion.

The British Empire abolished slavery in 1833, and the British government paid about £20 million in compensation to the slave-owners that lost their “property”. In pounds, that £20 million would be about £1.5 billion today using the retail price index ($2,340,728,996.00 USD).

That sacrifice made by the United States (1865) and the British Empire (1833) in lives and money was made in vain because today in the 21st century slavery is far worse than it was then.

CNN reported, “The modern-day slavery expert explained to CNN that the current $90 rate for a human slave is actually at an historic low. Two hundred years ago, a slave cost about $40,000 in today’s money. The reason for this price slide: a massive boom in the world’s population, especially in developing countries, has increased the supply of ‘slaveable’ people.”

In 2010, Dan Rather, writing for the Huffington Post, said, “Over 300,000 U.S. Children Fall Prey to Sex Trafficking. … Child prostitution has become a national problem in this country.”

Continued on July 3, 2012 in Slavery is ALIVE – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

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