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 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: 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.
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: December 27, 2020
How much more ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’ could our national environmental health policy get? Our national hypocrisy is clear.
My mom and dad always ended the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period exhausted. They took six kids and grandma on a holiday schedule filled with choir rehearsal, church events, pancake breakfasts, and fundraisers. There were serious moments - as kids, we were asked if we had been naughty or nice, and by the time we entered high school we were reminded of our obligation to become a role model for others. We were often asked, “Are you walking your talk?” I have been thinking about this. Are we, as a country, being "naughty or nice?" Does our behavior reflect what we proclaim are our values? I do not think so. Across our country, our life expectancy has been falling, particularly among the poor, even before the Covid epidemic.  Many years of failure to adapt public policy to scientific findings is causing great pain and suffering.
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: November 1, 2020
How happy are you, really, as an American?
We can look at the state of our nation through two lenses – The state of our economy, and the state of our happiness. The United States has the #1 ranked economy in the world. Turns out this does not have much to do with our state of happiness. For almost a decade, researchers have been studying annually the happiness of 156 countries, looking at citizen’s perceptions of their happiness in many areas including their sense of freedom, their economy, education, the ability to improve oneself, healthcare, life expectancy, and lack of public corruption. Using these indicators, our United States ranked only 18th for happiness.  Among all the countries in the world, we rank number 35 for life expectancy and falling.  Even among just the richest countries in the world, our life expectancy ranks 12th in the world and is falling.
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: October 3, 2016
Communities Are Finding Ways To Help Low-income Residents Buy Homes Of Their Own
The Other Housing Crisis: Finding a Home in Rural America Thirty percent of rural Americans have substandard housing—and it’s expensive. But these communities are finding …
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: February 26, 2016
Is Barcelona the Smartest City in the World?
Is Barcelona the Smartest City in the World? as appeared in “FutureStructure” by Laura Adler February 19, 2016 This story was originally published on …
Posted By: Francis Koster Published: April 16, 2015
Rebuilding America’s Aging Downtowns Needs to Anticipate the Future
Rebuilding America's Aging Downtowns Needs to Anticipate the Future by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D. 14 smaller “mom and pop” stores died each time Wal-Mart, Target, …
Francis P. Koster Ed.D.
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