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May 1st, 2007

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12:16 am - Coalition Education & Public Services
    When every Coalition States child is 4 years of age they are given a variety of tests to determine the child's intellect, psychic potential, and natural talents. For children who test more or less normally - slightly above average intelligence or lower, no psychic potential, normal genetic scan, etc. the child is sent on their way and the parents raise that child until the age of 8.

    For children who are gifted with great intelligence (2 or more standard deviations about average, an equivalent of 130 or higher IQ), psychic abilities, or some other natural talent or potential - then the child is sent to a special school. These schools, called Primary Instructional Centers, or PIC schools, educate these children in how to best utilize their special talents. For psychic children this means learning how to control their psychic abilities under the tutelage of Psi-Net. For exceptionally bright children it simply means learning reading, writing, basic logic, and critical thinking skills. Most large Coalition towns have a PIC school for smart children, but there are only a few large PIC schools that allow for psychic training and conditioning, thus those children often go away to boarding schools. PIC schools last for 4 years.

    For wealthy families in the Coalition whose children didn't qualify for a PIC school, it is possible for them to pay a considerable fee to send their kids to a PIC school anyway. Children who attend a PIC school will have a great advantage over those who do not later in life.

    At the age of 8 all children within the Coalition are sent to school. The majority of children, those who did not go to a PIC school, end up in an Education and Public Service Center or EPSC. At these institutions, children are taught about the basics of Coalition history, politics, civics, etc. Basically, they learn all of the Coalition propaganda we all know and love. They are also taught about physical fitness, basic health, sports, teamwork, etc. Teachers here also try to instill in the children a basic sense of civic responsibility and patriotism. As part of the training program, students engage in public service projects such as picking up garbage, helping in factories, working on farms, etc.

    Children who attended PIC schools, or those who can pass a series of basic tests involving mathematical ability, reading comprehension, and problem solving skills, are allowed to go to a different kind of school. These children go to an Instructional Academy or IA. The IA is in many ways similar to an EPSC accept that there is a much stronger focus on education, reading and writing, and thinking skills. Children read books about history, are taught more complicated math, learn more in depth knowledge about geography and politics. They also are requires to do public service projects. Psychic children go to a PIA, a Psychic Instructional Academy - which teaches children all of the above with a strong focus on mastery of psychic powers.

    At the age of 12, Coalition kids graduate from either their EPSC or IA school. At this age they are now ready to enter into the Public Service Corps. The PSC is a government program which gives teenagers within the Coalition States basic job training while utilizing them to work for the Coalition government and people. What kinds of skills the children are taught is usually based on their previous education. Children who only went to EPSC are usually taught more manual labor or military related jobs. Children who went to PIC and/or IA are trained to go into higher professions. All children who are physically capable are also taught basic military and survival skills - how to use a gun, basics of hand to hand combat, what to do in the event of a monster attack, etc. As the children grow older, they education consists of more and work actual labor - such that a large amount of unskilled or low skilled labor in the CS is done by kids between the ages of 12 and 16. At the age of 16 kids enter the next stage of their education.

    16 year old Coalition citizens enter into Primary Public Service. They are given a government job for minimal pay utilizing the skills that they learned while in the PSC. For the majority of young adults, this means military service. Only those who are not physically or mentally capable are put into the military. The 16 year olds can apply for different positions and if they can pass the proper tests, then they may attain those jobs. Those who cannot pass the special tests usually end up as infantry or in one of the more lowly support positions. Those who do well on tests, particularly those who went to IA, get better jobs within the military and can train to become officers, pilots, specialists, professionals, etc. At the age of 20 a CS citizen is allowed to leave the military and public service. If they chose to leave, the CS government will arrange for them to receive a job related to what they did for their public service. For the most part, those who leave public service at the age of 20 are low end workers.

    Those who wish to continue their education and public service can apply for Secondary Public Service. Secondary Public Service usually involves staying in the military longer to specialize in a certain field. People in this phase of public service are pilots, low ranking officers, field medics, special forces, mechanics, etc. It is also possible for the citizen to enter into a non-military field of Secondary Public Service, but for the most part you will be employed by the military in some capacity. At the end of 4 years, when the citizen is 24, he or she will have completed Secondary Public Service. The citizen will now have many more job opportunities in the (semi) private sector is within the government. If the citizen desires, they may apply for Tertiary Public Service.

    Tertiary Public Service is for those who want the highest levels of education. This includes becoming a medical doctor, an engineer, a RCSG scientist, a high ranking officer, etc. It is the CS equivalent of getting a doctorate degree. Over the course of the next four years the citizen learns about their field of study while serving as an assistant to his or her instructors. For officers, this includes commanding troops are well as intense study of military science and war gaming. When it is possible, those in Tertiary Public Service will be in the military - doctors will work in military hospitals, engineers will design weapons or military buildings, etc. Though, in the case of certain fields of specialization, civilian public service is used instead. Like every previous stage, Tertiary Public Service takes 4 years to complete. At the end of these 4 years the CS citizen may leave public service to get a public sector job or may stay employed by the CS government continuing to do what they were trained for.

    In what ever case, pay after leaving public service is almost always better than pay while on public service. In a sense, it is a form of work scholarship. Most CS citizens merely serve 4 years of public service in the military and then leave for blue collar jobs. It is also possible for someone to stay in the military after finishing public service, for higher pay but lower chances or promotion. Non-comissioned officers are often drawn from soldiers who underwent 4 years of military public service and decided to stay in the military after the age of 20.

    The CS has private industry and wealth and has many of the trappings of capitalism that we are familiar with. Despite this, private businesses work in close cooperation with the government and are subject to many government regulations. many businesses are given very cheap labor in the form of young people completing their public services. In return, the companies provide cheaper goods for the government. As the number one economic force in the Coalition, the government is the largest customer for many businesses within the CS. In a way, there is a almost a system of controlled and legalized government corruption - the government regulates pricing, labor, production, and other major economic activities and forces while at the same time providing special perks to businesses that benefit the CS government the most.

    The CS Credit is based upon a gold standard, where one Credit is worth one microgram of gold. In the unstable world of Rifts Earth, even a relatively stable nation such as the CS cannot sustain an economy with a unit of currency entirely based on people's trust and confidence. But, but basing their monetary unit on a gold standard and because of its own wealth, stability, and military power, the Coalition Credit has become the standard currency of North America and is even popular in other places around the world.
   Because of the chaotic nature of the world and many different governments, the CS cannot use paper currency. It is far too easy to counterfeit and the CS government does not want to risk the threat of a major enemy printing up billions of credits to destabilize the CS economy. Within major CS cities, the official Bank of Chi Town uses an electronic monetary system, where all credits that each person owns are stored electronically. People access their money in official CS banks and complete monetary transactions through the use of credit sticks - small electronic devices (much like a pen drive) that allows the citizen to access their currency within the Bank of Chi Town. Credit sticks come in different forms, many of which have spending limits or fingerprint or eye scan requires to prevent theft or minimize its effect.

    Because the CS monetary system is so popular, it means that many people outside of the CS use credit sticks and have money in the Bank of Chi Town. This greatly strengthens to CS economy. This also allows the Treasury Department of the CS to manipulate pricing and even create a small amount of electronic money that ends up increasing Coalition wealth at the expense of others that use Coalition currency. Most smaller independent nations and organizations don't like the idea that any time they use Credits that they make a small unofficial tax payment to Chi Town, then again the dependability and universality of the CS credit make it a hard choice. For CS citizens in more rural sectors of the CS where electronic connections a large bank are hard to make, gold coinage is often used as a substitute for Credit sticks.

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