1. What to do about a faltering K through 12 public education system.
    Educated citizens are the underpinnings of a democracy, yet our public education system struggles.
    1. Teachers are underpaid; 
    2. Class size is too large for learning; 
    3. The lack of safety at some schools is not conducive to learning;
    4. Schools are being asked to compensate for a lack of parenting; 
    5. There is grade inflation; 
    6. There are pressures to "socially promote and graduate", rather than hold back students who haven't met the grade-level standards;
    7. Teachers' unions balk at the notion of teacher evaluation; 
    8. The manner of promoting teachers and principals "makes excellence a matter of chance, not design";
    9. There is a rarity of great schools for minority and disadvantaged children;
    10. The focus of teaching is more and more on passing standardized tests rather than on learning; and
    11. With the tenure system, it's almost impossible to remove unfit teachers.

    And with all these issues, "whenever a worthwhile school proposal or legislation initiative is under consideration, those with a vested interest in the educational status quo use political muscle to block reform." - USA Today

    Below is an email sent to me by a seventeen year old Boy Scout describing a community project he had just completed for his Eagle Scout badge.  The fifteen spelling and grammar mistakes in this brief note don't speak well for our education system.  See how many you can find.

    "Subject: Rotery Club/ eagle scout prject

    Hello, My name is John. I have just done my eagle scout project at a

    near by Convalescent home. I redid the bird aviary inside the home. The old

    bird aviary was in ruins, the paint was chipping, weeds were growing out of

    the rocks, and all but one bird has died. Sense the resents has little to do

    during the day watching the birds is something they do to pass the time. But

    lately, watching the bird die and the conditions going down in the Aviary has

    been depressing.

    To help I remove the rocks and top level of dirt, sterilized and

    repainted the walls, laid down fresh grass, put in a bird bath, built bird

    houses and nesting houses, installed a roof screen to keep out bugs, put in

    hanging perches and toys, and introduced new birds to the aviary. Now

    residents of the home crowd around the aviary and watch in amusement all day.

    Visitors have complemented on the new Aviary constantly and some stop and

    watch for a while them self's."