If you could do one thing... JUL 14 2005
A few months ago, Parade Magazine ran an article by Norman Mailer in which he answered the question: if you could do one thing to change America for the better, what would it be? His answer: ban television commericials because the constant interruptions by TV ads were interfereing with our children's ability to concentrate and thus to read and succeed in school and in the world.
I'm not sure Mailer chose the best problem to focus on here (if the "constant interruption" thing is even an issue...look at how long kids stay glued to the television), but I believe he's on the right track in focusing on education. In choosing an answer to this question that would make the most impact, it seems prudent to focus on answers that satisfy two requirements:
1. Get 'em early. Kids are the most malleable members of a society and much significant change starts with the younger generations. Anything that impacts education will likely have a large eventual effect.
2. Choose a course of action with significant emergent behavior and a positive feedback cycle...basically a cascade effect. Find the best place to punch a tiny hole in the dam so the whole thing eventually bursts.
Nothing I have come up with so far satisfies those criteria and you're collectively supposed to be much smarter than I am, so I'm asking you: if you could do one thing to change America for the better, what would it be (and why)?