What If?

  • What If Teachers Were Paid Like Athletes?

    Dan Kloeffler at What If? 3 mths ago

    Summer is almost over and well-rested students are on their way back to school. Some teachers on the other hand are not so well-rested. Many take summer jobs to earn extra cash.

    The average public school teacher makes $52,000 per year for approximately 10 months of work. Your average “big 4” professional athlete on the other hand makes $3.16 million for 7 months of work.

    So we wondered, what if teachers were paid like professional athletes?

    The US ranks 1st when it comes to per student spending - that’s $15,171 per student, per year. And what about that return on investment? More spending would mean smarted students right? Well, not necessarily. The US ranks 35th when it comes to math. Some educators believe those numbers would flip if teachers were paid like our favorite sports stars.

    “You’re going to see substantially higher retention,” says Ben Nelson, founder and CEO of the Minerva Project. “You’re going to see much lower issues of students falling behind and not being able to catch up. It allows many more people to be successful and that’s very important for society.”

    With more competition and higher salaries, teachers would face increased scrutiny.

  • What If Men Could Get Pregnant?

    David Fazekas at What If? 3 mths ago

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Cosby, Billy Crystal – what do they all have in common? They’ve all played pregnant men as part of pop culture’s ongoing fascination with the possibility of men sporting baby bumps. So we wondered, what if men could get pregnant?

    Gentlemen, it’s time to start nesting – get those prenatal vitamins, yoga balls and oversized football jerseys – you’re having a baby. And start preparing for nine months of weight gain, back pain, swollen ankles. and let’s not forget, labor pains.

    “The big concerns I have with men getting pregnant is that they would all require C-sections,” says Dr. Jill Hechtman, medical director at Tampa Obstetrics. “And I would see problems with having enough O.R. space and more O.R. staff to accommodate.”

    With 81 percent of Congress being men who can now carry a baby, laws for a better work-life balance could pass.

    “You have lots and lots of women going back to work very soon after giving birth and i think men would get why that's crazy if they were actually issuing these babies right from their own loins,” says Sharon Lerner, author of “The War on Moms.”

    Check out the video for more on a world where men can get pregnant.

  • What If We Got Rid of Textbooks?

    Dan Kloeffler at What If? 3 mths ago

    About 50 million kids are headed back to school, lugging backpacks filled with heavy textbooks. An education can weigh as much as 30 pounds, making back-to-school a backbreaking ordeal.

    And it’s not just the weight of textbooks that cause a serious strain – those books can put a dent in your wallet as well - so we wondered, what if we didn’t have textbooks?

    The cost of textbooks has skyrocketed more than 800%, since 1978. Right now, the average college student spends about $1,200 on books, that’s if they buy them at all. 65% of students said they skipped the bookstore because textbooks were too expensive, preferring a more digital route.

    So with 14.8 million high school kids across the country, schools are collectively spending more than $7 billion dollars a year on textbooks.    For one fifth of that cost, schools could arm their students with tablets. “Nowadays you can get a tablet for 100 so it’s very affordable,” says Frank Portanova, Assistant Principle at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, NY.

     So we’d save tons of paper every year if we stopped printing textbooks, but what about the content itself?   Would it pay to choose plastic over paper?

  • What if Everyone Looked Like A Supermodel?

    Dan Kloeffler at What If? 4 mths ago

     

    The supermodel selfie is an attempt to bridge the gap between untouchable beauty and the rest of us.  Chrissy Teigen likes brunch, Cara Delevingne  loves animals, and Adriana Lima likes to fly… on private jets.  So we wondered what if this life was the norm? What if everyone looked like a supermodel?

    Imagine a world full of beautiful people. Everywhere you look, model-like clones strutting down the streets as if they were walking on concrete runways. Your local grocery would be a glamorous hot spot, your barbecue - a magazine shoot. Everything would be just perfect. Or would it? 

    "It would be boring," says Frederique van der Wal, a Dutch supermodel. Come on, boring? Well, maybe. There would certainly be less variety if we all had that industry standard look. The modeling world could take a sharp turn. "People are uncomfortable around humanity," says America's Next Top Model judge Kelly Cutrone, "but especially around beautiful people. So if everyone looked like a supermodel they’d look for an ugly supermodel."

     

    ABC News' David Miller, Stefan Doyno and Luis Yordan contributed to this episode.

  • What If We Couldn’t Get Divorced?

    David Fazekas at What If? 4 mths ago

    Divorce is as stitched into the fabric of the nation as marriage. In fact, with over a million divorces a year in the U.S., divorce is a $50 billion industry, bigger than weddings. So we wondered, what if we couldn’t get divorced?

    More than 2 million couples tie the knot every year in the U.S., and as many as half of those are expected to end in divorce. With the average American getting married in their late 20s, if there was no divorce, we could see more couples pushing marriage into their 30s, if even at all.

    “It's possible that if there were no divorce it would delay marriage,” says Howard Chernick, professor of economics at Hunter College. “Maybe it's less risky to try cohabitating for another two years or something.”

    Right now, close to 60 percent of children are born to married couples, children born out of wedlock could become the new majority in a world with no divorce.

    “We could end up like Scandinavian countries with less marriage and people having children in a committed relationship or even by themselves much more often than we do here,” says Louise Rafkin, writer for The New York Times divorce column, “Unhitched.”

  • What If We Had As Much Vacation as Europeans?

    David Fazekas at What If? 4 mths ago

    In America, we work hard, and we’re proud of it. All that hard work has propelled us to number one in the world when it comes to family wealth. But our work-life balance is out of whack, ranked 28 th in the world. So we wondered, what if Americans took as much vacation as Europeans?

    On average, American workers get about two weeks paid vacation every year. Our European counterparts? Double that. And workers in Sweden get a whopping 41 paid days off to do whatever they’d like.

    “There are many industries in this country where it's looked down upon if you take too much vacation or if you're not available 24/7,” says Jody Greenstone Miller, founder and CEO of Business Talent Group. “The idea from a company perspective is that there's only one way to get work done, hire someone full-time, work them to death.”

    Imagine an America with more than a month of free time. That’s more down time for ourselves to see family and friends, shop, go out to eat and relax at the beach.

    ABC News' Dan Kloeffler, David J. Fazekas, Stephan Doyno and Maurice Abbate contributed to this episode.

  • What If Everyone Had Only One Child?

    David Fazekas at What If? 4 mths ago

    On average, it costs more than $15,000 a year, to raise one child in the United States, compared to $26,000 to raise two, according to the USDA. Which might explain why the number of single-child families is up, nearly 15 percent over the past 40 years, making us wonder, what if everyone had only one child?

    America, you’re getting one child, and one child only for each family. Which means selfish, lonely kids will be having socially awkward exchanges around the country. At least that’s the skewed public perception, Lauren Sandler, an only child, mother of an only child, and author of, One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One , has fought throughout her life.

    “They tend to imagine a world of little emperors. A whole world of people incapable of connecting or nurturing. There are hundreds of studies that bear out that isn't the case.”

    Including surveys that show only children earn better grades and are happier, than those dealing with the joys of sibling rivalry.

    With only one child, we’d also be without Freakonomics .

    A smaller, better educated population could drive down the unemployment rate.

  • What If Everyone Went to College?

    David Fazekas at What If? 4 mths ago

    Frat parties, hacky sack and living parents-free are not the only benefits of attending college. According to the Pew Research Center, getting that bachelor’s degree can boost your salary 38 percent, yet college graduates remain the minority in this country at around 30 percent. So we wondered, what if everyone went to college?

    According to the Institute of Education Science, more than 21 million people trudged through S-A-T’s, A-C-T’s and entrance exams to enroll in college in 2011. 60 percent of those will end up paying an average of $30,000 over the course of their lifetime to pay for college. The trillion dollars in total outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. would balloon if everyone went to college, leaving graduates in massive debt.

    “You'd end up with people that are over-trained and somewhat inflexible on the jobs that they can take,” said William Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird. “I kind of feel like it would be a negative for the economy. You'd have more people in debt and people not able to be as free to take risks because they'd be burdened by that debt.”

  • What If We Reinstated the Draft?

    David Fazekas at What If? 6 mths ago

    There are over 20 million former Jarheads, Zoomies, Squids and Grunts, in the U.S – better known as veterans. And because we have a volunteer military, this revered population is expected to dwindle by 50 percent over the next 25 years. So we wondered, what if military service was mandatory?

    The last time Uncle Sam came calling, forcing American men to serve in the Vietnam conflict, anti-war protests swept the country. Not everyone was in step to the drumbeat of war, so if we forced Americans to take up arms now, would it be any different than the 1970’s?

    “It'd be a better and stronger and more patriotic America,” said Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) who introduced the Universal National Service Act in 2003 and has been lobbying for it ever since. “If indeed a president decided that he is going to place our young people in harm’s way, the congress now has to go home and tell you why we need your kid.”

    But for those that do answer the call of duty, would they really be pulling their weight alongside the over 1 million active military men and woman currently serving?

    And alongside the morning reveille, we may hear more wedding bells, if everyone in America was forced to serve.

  • What If Soccer Became as Popular as Baseball?

    David Fazekas at What If? 6 mths ago

    About half the world's population, loves soccer. That’s 3.5 billion people. But in the U.S., the sport barely cracks the top five most popular. So we wondered, what if soccer, became America’s favorite past time?

    No hands, no timeouts, nowhere near the popularity of other sports in America. Soccer is that ‘other’ football that just can’t make it past the youth leagues with American sports fans, often criticized for being a bit dull.

    I think a lot of people just aren’t' familiar with the game,” said Jozy Altidore, striker for the U.S. National Soccer Team. “They don't know the basics of how it works. I think when it gets to that point I think it's going to be great because soccer is a great game to watch live.”

    What’s not hard to understand is what would happen to ticket prices if soccer got as big as baseball. Right now, premium seats for a New York Red Bulls soccer match go for 200 dollars. With more fans lining up, tickets could reach the price of a New York Yankees game – a spot behind home plate goes for sixteen-hundred dollars.

    And at those prices, fans would expect to watch a better product on the field.