Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

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inequality-health

The United States does not collect health data by socioeconomic class. However, by comparing life expectancy in two counties in Florida, it’s possible to see the effects of inequality on health:

This prosperous community [St. Johns] is the picture of the good and ever longer life — just what policymakers have in mind when they say that raising the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare is a fair way to rein in the nation’s troublesome debt.

The county’s plentiful and well-tended golf courses teem with youthful-looking retirees. The same is true on the county’s 41 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches, abundant tennis courts and extensive network of biking and hiking trails.

The healthy lifestyles pay off. Women here can expect to live to be nearly 83, four years longer than they did just two decades earlier, according to research at the University of Washington. Male life expectancy is more than 78 years, six years longer than two decades ago.

But in neighboring Putnam County, life is neither as idyllic nor as long.

Incomes and housing values are about half what they are in St. Johns. And life expectancy in Putnam has barely budged since 1989, rising less than a year for women to just over 78. Meanwhile, it has crept up by a year and a half for men, who can expect to live to be just over 71, seven years less than the men living a few miles away in St. Johns.

The widening gap in life expectancy between these two adjacent Florida counties reflects perhaps the starkest outcome of the nation’s growing economic inequality: Even as the nation’s life expectancy has marched steadily upward, reaching 78.5 years in 2009, a growing body of research shows that those gains are going mostly to those at the upper end of the income ladder.

 

Kids are going to have to start teaching their parents because, if they don’t, there won’t be an educational system left for them.

Not if Republicans get their way. . .

In Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott wants the state’s public universities to start charging undergraduates different tuition rates depending on their major.

Students would get discounts for studying topics thought to be in high demand among Florida employers. Those would likely include science, technology, engineering, and math (aka, the STEM fields), among others.

But Art History? Gender Studies? Classics? Sorry, but the fates are cruel. Unless a university could show that local companies were clamoring to hire humanities students, those undergrads would have to pay more for their diploma.

In North Carolina, where Gov. Pat McCrory proposes to eliminate courses that offer “no chances of getting people jobs.”

McCrory said there’s a major disconnect between what skills are taught at the state’s public universities and what businesses want out of college graduates.

“So I’m going to adjust my education curriculum to what business and commerce needs to get our kids jobs as opposed to moving back in with their parents after they graduate with debt,” McCrory said, adding, “What are we teaching these courses for if they’re not going to help get a job?”

McCrory said he doesn’t believe state tax dollars should be used to help students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill study for a bachelor’s degree in gender studies or to take classes on the Swahili language.

“If you want to take gender studies that’s fine. Go to a private school, and take it,” McCrory said. “But I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.”

And in Texas, where the Republican Party rejects “critical thinking.”

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

If we can’t teach our children well, then they’re going to have to help them with their youth and start teaching their parents.

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Special mention

Are Gov. Rick Scott and Republican legislators in Florida really as crazy as they seem?

First, Scott campaigned on eliminating the corporate income tax and cutting the department of corrections, in a state where the unemployment was over 12 percent and violent crime was almost twice the national median.

Then, he rejected $2.4 billion in federal funding for the construction of a new bullet train line running between Tampa and Orlando.

The next step was to end tenure for new teachers and link their job security and pay to how well students perform on assessment tests (which was passed in mid-March).

Now, they and the Florida Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to pass legislation that would reduce unemployment benefits, by cutting the number of weeks the unemployed could collect (from the standard 26 weeks to 20) and by tying benefits to the unemployment rate (such that, if the rate falls, so do the number of weeks of benefits).

Scott and the rest of the Florida Republicans are no doubt crazy. But are they any crazier than the Floridians who voted for them?