** Abe Simpson mode on **
Do you remember when America was great?* We were a nation of builders. We blazed trails instead of trailing the blazers. We survived on our own wits and conquered nature. We won wars and baked lattice-crusted apple-pies to cool on our suburban windowsills while our 2.5 children played with the family golden retriever inside the white picket-fence.
**Abe Simpson mode off **
Now, it's all about how great American cities are crumbling. Some are declaring bankruptcy. People of noble stature and high office are embroiled in scandal and ridicule. Domestic events and family secrets aren't handled behind closed bedroom doors anymore - they are broadcast across the planet at the speed of light. America is seen as lagging behind other nations in manufacturing, industry, and education.
We appear to know too much and not enough.
This one Washington state teacher in particular decided to try a non-sanctioned program to introduce economics to an elementary school class. (S)he instituted a form of play-currency among the third-graders. Students could earn money through various tasks, but also had to pay money to do certain things.
..one of which was to get permission to use the toilet.
Yes, you've already imagined the inevitable has already happened, but let's entertain this a bit further.
I am reminded of the wise-words my most-brilliant and favorite Latin teacher once told me: "I don't have to do anything but die and go potty."
Sure enough, everything else outside of those two life-options was in one form or another - optional. This underscores the importance of the toilet in our existence. It is unavoidable.
It is probably the unavoidable-ness of the potty which this teacher chose to focus on. (S)he no doubt wanted to stress the validity and power of currency by linking it to such a vital need. I imagine asking the students to pay for breathing would've accomplished the same goal. However, (s)he is asking a room of third-graders to budget-their-funds-in-advance. Let me stress that I am a forty-three year-old male and I require retirement-planning assistance.
As an exercise, I'll just rattle-off some concepts associated with this economics lesson:
1. Emergency fund planning - the children should have money set-aside for one emergency
2. Biological monitoring - the children should have an accurate projection of their bathroom needs for each day. Only then can they foresee their economic needs for using the toilet.
3. Dietary monitoring - the children should be aware of what they are consuming each day (food and drink) and recognize how that will impact their economic needs for using the toilet.
4. Economic scale - the children should recognize how much effort and work is required to earn enough to meet their economic needs for using the toilet.
5. Predatory practices - the children should recognize when income versus expense ratios are unfair and either demand increases in wage or protest.
6. Alternative methods to earning - the children should embrace their entrepreneurial spirit and seek independent means (legality notwithstanding) of generating income to satisfy the economic needs for using the toilet.
I'm certain there are other aspects which were not even considered by this teacher - but it is apparent that the students were very intimidated by this situation to the extent that their clothes were soiled.
This is not making America great at all.
I *WANT* teachers to make pro-athlete salaries. That is how vital I view quality education. That is how much trust and respect I place in my children's teachers. I don't want off-the-street Joe-the-plumber teaching my kids. I want someone qualified, certified, recognized, and well-respected. Someone who connects with my kids for LIFE. Someone who wouldn't think of starting a capitalism lesson for third-graders involving biological functions and pay-on-demand policies.
* - for the record, I will always view America as the greatest nation on Earth. I think knowing is better than not-knowing. I think children, teachers, and the planet are the greatest investments we have to ensure the future of humanity. How's that for an economics lesson?