The Lost War on Drugs

“I don’t think it is no more dangerous than alcohol…”

The above statement sent a surge of shocked brainwaves across the board of observers as President Obama commented on the recreational usage of marijuana. In the past, Obama has admitted to partaking in the recreational use of the narcotic during his adolescent years – also during a time period when it was illegal on all levels in all states. Currently with states such as Colorado and Washington legalizing the recreational use of marijuana along with many other states preceding the legal use of medicinal marijuana, it should come as no surprise that the President would truly support one of his old vices with this statement: “It is important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished”. With the most powerfully influential man backing up one of the most lucrative legislative experiments in history thus far, will legalizing this drug be an aggrandizement or a disaster for society?

40 years ago, only a very small portion of marijuana legalization activists in American were in favor of the “civil union” way legalizing marijuana usage no matter if were for its medical or recreational purposes. Today, 85% of Americans support medicinal legalization, and 58% of Americans are in favor of the legalization of recreational marijuana. That’s a significant shift in opinion in favor of the legalization as compared to those during the Baby Boomer years. Possible reason for this shift: the projected amount of money to be made, estimated to be in the hundreds of billions. With that comes extra federal tax obligations, however, those who profit the most won’t mind as they carry duffle bags of cash to the nearest bank for depositing. So far, there are 20 states that have enacted laws to legalize medicinal marijuana, followed by Colorado and Washington legalizing its recreational use. It is rumored California, Maine, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Maryland, New Hampshire, Vermont, Nevada, and Rhode Island are on the list of those states next to legalize recreational use of the narcotic; definitely an aggrandizement for the economy.

While the Department of Justice clearly stated they will be focusing more on prosecuting those who are distributing the drug “illegally” rather than those who are using the drug, the Legislature is more concerned with how much further drug activists will push their limits. As each state joins in the legalization of marijuana on either level of usage, the expectation of receiving a variety of theoretical proposals pertaining to the benefits of legalizing the usage of other more powerful drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, are anticipated to appear shortly. If Legislature is pressured to legalize the more potent drugs in some form or fashion, that may very well end up turning America into an overnight disaster.

Given either argument, (for or against marijuana) there will be developmental milestones of change among American society as time moves, either as a whole or part, with so many checkpoints yet to uncover on how to continue the war on drugs without becoming a prisoner of war within our own estate.

©2014 Learus Ohnine

Higher Learning

With the United States supposedly being the leading country in terms of having the world’s largest economy and entrepreneurial climate, why is our education system falling behind other countries reflective of our student academic performances? Could the academic deficiencies of American children be due to their delinquency in starting their education at an earlier age than in most countries? Is there a learning gap between genders in the United States as opposed to international students? Does classroom size determine the outcome of an American student’s success?

When comparing the starting age of children in pre-kindergarten programs in foreign countries to the U.S., surveys revealed children are allowed to begin their childhood education during the most crucial stages of a child’s early developmental years. For example, Denmark allows children to begin preschool as early as 12-months-old. The main objective for their early education curriculums are focused on learning cultural norms, social and motor skills imperative for managing the cognitive, emotional and social development of a child. Kindergarten programs are taught at age 3 in Korea and Singapore. Belgium provides the same early educational opportunities for 2-year-olds, while the average age for kindergarten attendance in the United States is 4-years-old.

Gender discrepancies when comparing test scores in mathematics and science fairly compensates for the benefits of having an early education, but may also explain the rationale behind the differences in scores amongst gender due to the persuasion from cultural forces in other countries. South Korean and Singapore’s fourth-grade male and female students ranked in the highest overall percentile in test scores in math and science when compared to the 11th percentile ranking in math and the 17th percentile ranking in science for both male and female U.S. fourth-graders. In Korea and Finland, 15-year-old females scored 14 percent higher in science scores than 15-year-old males. However, male students within the same age bracket were in the overall lead by 15 percent when compared to the 15-year-old female students in the United States. Females as well as males in countries such as Russia, Asia, and the Middle East are persuaded at an early age to go into science and engineering occupations whereas females are stereotypically motivated to only pursue nursing, teaching, and administrative occupations in the United States.

Studies have shown student performance rarely depends on the student-teacher ratio regardless of differences amongst the diverse cultural and ethnic populations nationally and internationally. Korean and Japanese K-12 schools, with its 37-to-1 student-teacher ratio, still ranks higher in student performance than with Finnish K-12 schools at a 20-to-1 ratio. In the United States, Vermont and Wisconsin ranks closest in comparison to Korean, Japanese, and Finnish schools for high-ranking student performance yet with a lower student-teacher ratio. While Vermont K-12 schools currently has a student-teacher ratio of 11-to-1 and Wisconsin K-12 schools with a 15-to-1 ratio, both schools maintain more culturally diverse teachers than students.

Conclusively, there is no one contributing factor as to why America does not hold the highest rank in student performances nor is there any cause to blame why the United States cannot achieve a higher ranking than it has. American minority and Latino students have made a considerable amount of progress over the years, therefore it cannot be proclaimed that cultural diversity holds any sort of hindrance on a child’s academic success. All students enrolled in the education system in America are allotted the same equal opportunistic educational advantages as in other countries, but its up to our nation as a whole to encourage our students to make the most out of their opportunities before we can reach the rank of #1 amongst all other nations.

©2013 Learus Ohnine