stack of moneyI will give props where due even if what I’m giving props about is unintentional.

In today’s HT on page A3 there are two stories headlined and their juxtaposition will tell you all you need to know about the human-scale of community care in Bloomington: 1. BHS North Band taking donations…; 2. IU looking at $19.8 million baseball/softball facility.

Apparently it’s expensive to have a high school band and the brief article notes the costs can exceed $40,000.00.  The funding for the band is not detailed but this is the first ever fundraiser the band has held.  So, I simply must assume that funds were reduced.  School spirit and music are likely not high funding priorities as the state and federal governments don’t include those “subjects” in their testing parameters.  Are they not a part of the “grading system” being foisted on “failing” schools by Vegas Crooner, er, Mafia muscle, er, Simon Cowell wanna-be, er, State Super Tony Bennett.

But enough joking around as it’s not very funny that we prioritize our society in the way illustrated by the two stories.

What’s more instructive is comparing that $20,000,000.00 spent on a sports facility, surely one indication of a civilization we can all agree shows how wonderful human beings are as an advanced species, to a front page item today: More Indiana Kids Living in Poverty.  31% of Indiana children live in homes where neither parent has a full-time, year-around employment and the data shows that from 2000 to 2009, the percent of Indiana children living in families with incomes below the federal poverty level — $21,756 for a family of two adults and two children — rose from 14 to 20 percent.

Wrong direction, right?  What can we do about that?  Have a “March-a-thon”?  Wash cars in the new parking lot of the baseball stadium?  A bake sale, if we can get the School Board to let us use the gym?  (You know the church will let us use theirs!)

Then there’s also the fact that the median household income in Indiana is about $43k, about $2k below the national median–BUT the Monroe County median household income is $34k, over 10k below the national median. We must have a lot of folks making less than that as we have quite a few at the University and at the local school system (admins primarily) making more than that.

My favorite stat for Indiana though is this:

In Indiana, the median household income for white households is $45,943 but just $28,760 for black households—a gap of nearly $17,200. Hispanic households fall in the middle at $35,449.In Indiana, the median household income for white households is $45,943 but just $28,760 for black households—a gap of nearly $17,200. Hispanic households fall in the middle at $35,449.

The skin color “gradation” income level might be the newest census stat.

You know how in real estate they say there are three things that go into the value of a house: location, location, location? Well, when it comes to education, when it comes to access to high quality “human services” like medical care, when it comes to any old thing you can think to measure your community by, there are also three very important things to measure: poverty, poverty, poverty.

Indiana values a useless collegiate level activity with no redeeming social, communal value far more than it values the health and well-being of its citizens. Good to know, right?  Hey, everyone else in the country, think twice before moving here.  Unless you’re a professor of finance or marketing…or some kind sports coach.

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Douglas Storm is a host and producer for Interchange on Bloomington, Indiana's community radio station WFHB. "Why then do you try to 'enlarge' your mind? Subtilize it..."

2 Responses to “Evaluating Valuation: Millions for Business and Games, Hundreds for Kids” Subscribe

  1. dpopp August 18, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Indiana is of course not the only state that values (useless?) collegiate level activity. We seem to have run amok on a national scale with the universities caught in the same spiral of keeping up with the Jones’s for whatever purpose one might want to conjecture although it is facilitated by the ability to secure construction bonds by pointing at steady ticket sales. The strange thing is that we watch sports and then go home and watch them some more instead of doing them. I suppose this makes some sense since it’s far easier to watch physical activity than to do it.

    Indianapolis of course fancies itself as a “sports capital” but with some residents hoping for some diversification:

    http://www.indystar.com/article/20110814/NEWS19/108140357/Smith-Art-hasn-t-yet-become-vital-part-city?odyssey=mod%7Cmostcom

    • Douglas Storm August 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      I suppose one should qualify “useless”: rather, I mean the “market” of college athletics, the industry of sports, is actually worse than useless. Something that’s useless might be harmless…this I don’t think about collegiate level sports.

      Thanks for the link–what’s your take: I am not much of a fan of an “enforced” art market either! To your point–it’s easier to buy art than make it?

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