Tag Archives: education

Financial Wisdom: Is it really that difficult?

This will be the first of a small series of post I plan on doing on finances. I figured I should post this first entry both to introduce you to why I will be writing these post, and to create some accountability for me to make sure I do get this information out there.
I’ll start by saying that I have done a fair bit of reading as it relates to financial advice. I learned about Dave Ramsey this summer and read all of his books in the fall. I recently finished reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad. While on a brief financial kick in the past I’ve read Robert Allen’s stuff; The Millionare next door; and a slew of other books I found in the personal finances section of Border’s while Mindy does piles of homework. So, I’ve hopefully learned a little bit. And I must say most of these books have some pretty good advice. Many of them leave me ready to take action on making millions in some form or another, but usually that part of me settles down quite quick.

In future post I will share with you a little of the ways that I have dealt with my finances, and ways I hope to deal with them in the future. I am FAR from a financial expert, and nothing I’ll say here has stood the test of time (at least not that much time), but it is things I believe are steps in the right direction. I’ll try to be as honest as possible. Most of my values come from looking at the life and teachings of Jesus and trying to follow those. Some of the topics I’ll probably talk about is Needs vs. Wants, Fun Money, Giving, Saving, and living on what you need.
Since my life, and these views, are all a work in progress, I’d appreciate as much feedback as each person can give to the things that I share.

Still Seperate, Still Unequal: The Shame of the Nation

In the summer of 2003, in preparation for working in the public school system, I read the book Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol. To say that the book changed my view of the public school system would be an understatement. Initially it shocked me that inequalities like this still existed even 30+ years after the Brown Ruling and that I had not heard about these recent (copyright 1990) inequalities. He opened my eyes to this injustice and made me forever an advocate of just public schools. In 1990 Kozol wrote revealing decrepit schools, out of date textbooks, segregated schools, and basically little of the change we thought had come from Brown vs. Board of Education on May 17, 1954.
Kozol has recently published a new book that gives a current account of the public school system, and the picture is not pretty. The Shame of the Nation, with a subtitle that speaks volumes: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America.
The stories, first-hand accounts from children in our education system, are moving and impacting. You must hear their stories. But, Kozol also writes deep and challenging words that challenge the way we discuss what is occuring in our school system. This paragraph took me a few reads to take in but it’s statement is intense:

“Perhaps most damaging to any serious effort to address racial segregation openly is the refusal of most of the major arbiters of culture in our northern cities to confront or even clearly name an obvious reality they would have castigated with a passionate determination in another section of the nation fifty years before—and which, moreover, they still castigate today in retrospective writings that assign it to a comfortably distant and allegedly concluded era of the past. There is, indeed, a seemingly agreed-upon convention in much of the media today not even to use an accurate descriptor like “racial segregation” in a narrative description of a segregated school. Linguistic sweeteners, semantic somersaults, and surrogate vocabularies are repeatedly employed. Schools in which as few as 3 or 4 percent of students may be white or Southeast Asian or of Middle Eastern origin, for instance—and where every other child in the building is black or Hispanic—are referred to as “diverse.” Visitors to schools like these discover quickly the eviscerated meaning of the word, which is no longer a proper adjective but a euphemism for a plainer word that has apparently become unspeakable.”

To get more of a taste of Kozol before you go and check this book out of the library you can read Still Seperate, Still Unequal an article pulled from the first chapter of the book.

Real Estate with Ethics

I’ve continued to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and it continues to put this driving question in my mind. How can we invest in Real Estate in a way that is ethical?
Currently though only thing I’ve come up with is to do Real Estate in rich areas where it’s not directly affecting the poor. As I said in a previous post, so many options of making money in Real Estate seem to be doing so at the expense and oppression of the poor.

So, here is the deal. I want to make a lot of money. I want to make money so that I don’t have to raise it, or break my back working for it; I want to have money so that I can do all the things I desire to do and not have to worry about it. The stock market sounds interesting to me as does Real Estate. Lucrative business ventures are great too, but here’s my catch. I want to invest in things and in ways that I believe are ethical.
I’ll try the real estate thing, but not if it means ripping off someone just because they are in a tight spot, and not if it means pushing the poor out of their neighborhood, and not if it means charging oppressive rent prices.
I’ll try the stock market, but I don’t want to invest in companies that run sweatshops. I don’t want to support companies that make their millions in alcohol, pornography or the slave trade. I want to make money helping the world become a better place.

Anyone know of any good places to go for that kind of financial advice? Because I haven’t a clue.

Congrats to KIPP Academy

About 8 months ago I applied for a job as an office manager at KIPP Academy in Nashville.  I had a phone interview with the Principal, and then only employee, of the new school that would be opening in the fall of 2005.  Randy Dowell was a really nice guy and the interview went incredibly well, at least I thought so. 
A couple weeks later I found out that I did not get the job, nor was I qualified to apply for the other jobs available there.  I must say I was really disappointed about it, but I gather myself together and moved on.  I hoped to live in the area near the school and maybe help out there, but things worked out differently.

Today I saw that the Nashville Scene had given the honor of Nashvillians of the Year to the teachers and students at KIPP Academy.  I wish I could have been a part of the effort and excitement that went in to making that possible.  Regardless, I’m extremely excited to see and hear about the students exceling at that school and hopefully really getting a good and solid education.

“I learned my lesson that fighting will not get me nowhere but all locked up or on the streets somewhere,” he continues. “When I started coming to KIPP, Mr. Dowell told me I didn’t need to fight, that it won’t get me nowhere…. I have changed, because I’m getting ready to go to college.” Look for him, sometime in, say, 2014 to be the starting quarterback at Vanderbilt University, where he says he hopes to study.

Back to education

So, considering my last post concerning education generated a bunch of comments I figure it’s something I should come back to addressing. For those who want to make personal attacks, grammar corrections, etc. Please direct your comments to me in an email, that would just help the comments section to be a little more constructive.

I guess I’ll just start by saying somehow I’ve ended up with a whole bunch of friends that are teachers, in a wide range of schools, all over the coutry. I’ll do my best to share stories and situations that I hear from them.

I guess the question I have in my mind right now is whether or not people actually want public schools. I have to say Stephen’s comment sort of floored me. Do most republicans think there isn’t any really justification for public schools? Do a lot of people think there is no reason why education should be “equal” or “fair.” I guess I’m eager to hear some responses.

Wow, I mean to even hear some of the comments that were given before, it’s just scary to me:

“I’m not certain where in the United States Constitution it says that all public schools have to be equal.” -Stephen
“They say nothing about using taxation to establish “equal” ends in education.” -Anonymous
(This seems to imply you don’t think they should be equal, is that true?)

“Sometimes I laugh because you all don’t know how to frame the debate at all. ” -Anonymous
(It’s not a debate, but I appreciate your response to Stephen’s comment)
“Look, we’re an advanced industrial nation. There’s no reason that our literacy rates should be so low; there’s no reason that our kids shouldn’t excel. We’re wealthy and industrious, and it’s a crime that any child should languish with inadequate preparation for the industrial 21st century!” -Anonymous

Is Nashville any different?

Having just moved from the Chicago area, I still like to keep up on the news there. This article seemed to sober me to the fact that not all that much has changed in the years since the book, Savage Inequalities
(Jonathan Kozol’s look at the public education system), came out about ten years ago.

Sadly, the situation seems to be the same across our country and has been this way for a hundred plus years, we do NOT have equal education. For a country that so prides ourselves on everyone receiving a quality education, the figures in the article are disturbing. I worked in the Atlanta public schools and the situation was the same. Just because a child is born into a poorer family in a lower income neighborhood, they will more then likely receive a poorer education.

So, here I am in Nashville TN, another city in this big country.

Is Nashville any different?