Monday, January 11, 2010

RH Jones: Take a look at Costa Rica

From RH Jones, January 11, 2010
Subject: Re: teachers, active & retired, create happiness for all
To all:
Legislators, newspapers, or anyone else that attack professional teachers’ modest salaries and retirement pensions, attack their own happiness, and everyone else’s. As an old retired professional teacher I can speak with some wisdom in saying that health care/Rx and our modest pension is part of the total equation that equals happiness for all.
According to Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times the World Database of Happiness, compiled by Dutch sociologist on the basis of answers to surveys by Gallup and others, lists Costa Rica at the top spot out of 148 nations. On a scale of 1-10, the Costa Ricans average was 8.5. Denmark is next at 8.3, the United States ranks 20th at 7.4. The rear is brought up by Togo and Tanzania at 2.6. Adding life expectancy to the questionnaire left Costa Rica still at the top; the U.S. at 19th and Zimbabwe comes in last.
The New Economics Foundation that combines happiness, contentment, longevity and environmental impact in their approach say, here again Costa Rica wins and the U.S. comes in at 114th.
What sets Costa Rica apart from the rest? The answer is Costa Rica’s national decision to invest heavily in education. It is quite clear that bolstering public schools with greater assets has paid off for them. It is one of the few countries seeing migration from the U.S. Therefore the lesson for the U.S., and Ohio as well, is to devote fewer resources to unnecessary expenditures. That will allow education to create jobs and consequently lower the need for expensive public expenditures on things such jail cells, Medicaid, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and so on; education creates a healthier population and the subsequent health care expenses drop; it betters the environment, and generally makes life happier for everyone.
While hoping for only a brief wait until this happens, I encourage you to do your own research on Costa Rica. In view of all the recent ignorant negative attacks on education, and their pensioned retirees, we all have a lot to learn from Costa Rica.
RHJones, retired teacher OH STRS stakeholder
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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