Practical Education Key to Escaping Poverty

by Lewis Loflin

Many lower income people of all races must end their stupid, irresponsible behavior. Drug use, dropping out of school, unwed motherhood, and simple lack of impulse control is leading to the ruin of millions. They can't afford dumb mistakes and should be held accountable. People ask all the time how we own a house living on less than $10 an hour in household income and a disabled spouse?

The answer is simple - get a damn job even if it's below what you expect. Even with college I've cleaned yards and basements to make ends meet. Yes we get a little help from the government (Medicaid because my wife is uninsurable), but I choose to work and refuse most government aid. Yes the job market sucks and some employers are abusive, but most will work with anyone willing to put in some effort.

We refuse food stamps, I raise a garden. We learned to can, buy in bulk and buy reduced meat, and shop at Dollar Tree. We stay away form over using credit cards and never touch drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. I buy older fuel efficient cars (Japanese) I can repair and maintain. We saved and bought an energy efficient refrigerator, used new compact fluorescent bulbs, heat with a wood stove (and cut wood by hand without a $1500 log splitter) and cut our energy bill to about $100 a month! We don't sit around cold or in the dark.

The computers and electronics I use most have been built by me or come from salvage. Why billions of dollars in perfectly good stuff is being crushed or thrown into landfills just mystifies me. I teach electronics and electricity at a community college (part time) and have a website devoted only to electronics gadgets I designed and built. See

Yes I went to college, but most of what I do is self-taught. Most of what I've done can be done by the average person with some effort. People must learn to rely on themselves as much as possible, but the rest of us might have to step in and help those that really need it who try the best they can.

As an educator myself I know for a fact that any student of any race or social standing can learn and succeed, but all will never have an equal outcome. That doesn't mean for one minute that a calculus major is somehow a better human being than a high school dropout that can repair a car or build a beautiful wood cabinet.

We've developed this socially destructive attitude that there's no value in actually working with one's hands or creating real things we can use. Labor has no value and only a piece of paper is what everyone should have.

There is more real demand for good vocational workers than most liberal arts majors and they often make more money. So why don't we look at people as they really are and utilize what talents they have? Like it or not income disparity is largely based on education and economic policies destructive to low skill people. Note that,

"Of the top 10 hardest-to-fill positions in the US, only three - engineers, nurses, and teachers - require university degrees. The other seven are: skilled trades, IT staff, sales representatives, accounting and finance staff, drivers, mechanics, and machinists.

The reasons employers cannot fill these positions are lack of experience, candidates asking for more money than they can afford (or willing) to pay, and lack of talent and training."


The problem in this region of Tr-Cities Virginia-Tennessee, and I daresay much of the country, is our education system is utterly determined to keep those entering skilled vocational trades from receiving a better academic background in science, math, etc. As a vocational instructor myself I have fought this problem for years only to be stonewalled time after time by the so-called education professionals.


Lewis Frog

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