Posted By: Francis Koster Published: March 20, 2023
Our state legislature is guilty of child neglect
ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS WORK AT OR ATTEND K-12 SCHOOLS “According to estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, half of these adults and children spend …
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: February 21, 2023
Who are our elected officials working for?
One of my strongest happy childhood memories was made when my dad took us kids fishing. As you see in the photo below, My brother and …
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: January 22, 2023
I Thought Congress was supposed to be working for all Americans
One in six dollars owed to the IRS are not being paid. An astonishing number of wealthy Americans do not pay the taxes they owe. What …
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: January 17, 2023
Did you know that “Global Warming” and “Climate Change” mean two different things?
I am the oldest of six kids. When I was growing up in Lakewood, Ohio, our (large) extended family would gather to share Thanksgiving or Christmas …
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: January 10, 2023
Older Americans are driving their kids crazy by ignoring Climate Change
On one of the most significant public policy issues of our time, the major split in our society is not between political parties – it is between the …
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: January 1, 2023
We need to teach elected officials about school pollution.
Several badly designed teacher’s pay proposals now before the N.C. Legislature claim they will pay teachers more if they do their jobs well. They will …
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: March 9, 2021
The academic benefits of having our kids take a deep breath
Schools are often the heart of communities. My own memories of primary school included time spent playing dodgeball on the playground, my excitement when I was asked to bring my favorite book to school and tell my classmates why I liked it, and too many times having to carry a note home to my parents about some action I did or did not do. (That never ended well.) Like some members of our community, some school buildings are getting old. Like some of us, their plumbing does not work as well as it once did, and friends and loved ones notice peeling paint, deteriorating roofs, and breathing issues (in the schools). North Carolina’s schools rank 37th of all 50 states in student learning. Our disappointing ranking is driven in part by old and loved school buildings which do not breathe well.
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: February 23, 2021
What will catching Covid-19 cost you?
America’s health insurance system is like a ratty old quilt. If your body is covered by the thick part of the quilt, you can feel more or less comfortable. If your quilt has too many holes in it, you suffer. North Carolina has 17% of its population uninsured. We rank 6th worst out of all 50 states for our percentage of uninsured. Those uninsured who get sick will have mountains of debt they will not have the ability to pay. Insurance claims filed by Covid-19 patients show that if you catch mild Covid-19 but can recover at home, the cost of treatment averages around $750 for your care. If you need to be hospitalized, the bill from the hospital is around $34,000. If you are so sick you need to be in intensive care, the cost is about $84,000.
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: February 8, 2021
What gets measured gets managed
When I was in school, one of the most dreaded sentences my teacher uttered was “Close your books, we are going to have a pop quiz.” Over the past few months, I have written a number of columns each teaching little-known facts. Have you been paying attention? Surprise! Here is your quiz: 1. How much more does the average American adult weighs now compared to 1960? 28 pounds.  2. What percentage of American school buildings have unhealthy levels of indoor air pollution? Nearly half. 3. How much invisible microplastic does the average American eat each week? Equal to one credit card. 4. Is our life expectancy getting longer or shorter? Shorter  5. Of all the nations of the world, where does America rank on the happiness scale? 35th. One of the major obstacles to improving our society is that a large number of things that need fixing (as you saw above) are not well known. We have to make the invisible visible. One way to do that is to measure indicators of Quality of Life.
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: February 4, 2021
Do you remember your first goldfish?
Do you remember when you were given your first goldfish? The gift was probably a little bowl of water containing a few tiny fish and some fish food. I remember receiving mine when I was in grade school. It was probably the first time I was officially made responsible for caring for other living creatures. I also remember how sad I was when weeks later I found them floating in cloudy water, dead. As a child, I felt my failure deeply. I still remember when my brothers and sisters and I buried them in the garden with a little ceremony overseen by my mom. I will never know what killed that fish, but the range of possibility is large – the amount and kind of food, jimmy germs from failing to wash hands before putting them in the bowl, not enough or too much light, high or low water temperature, and acidity – the list can go on and on. Just like the list of things that impact the quality of life and health in our cities and towns. We all live in a ‘human aquarium, and the lives of our friends and neighbors in our cities and towns are just as vulnerable as those little fish. Any number of elements in our local aquarium can encourage or stop a wide range of physical, emotional, intellectual, and financial growth for our citizens, and impact our collective quality of life.
Francis P. Koster Ed.D.
Proven local solutions to national problems.
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