Monday, May 1, 2017

I Don't Get It

"Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education."  
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


and

"The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values. "  William S. Burroughs

"Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family."   Kofi Annan

"A quality education grants us the ability to fight the war on ignorance and poverty."   
Charles B. Rangel

"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."    James Thurber

"The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth. "  John F. Kennedy

"There are many problems, but I think there is a solution to all these problems; it's just one, and it's education."  Malala Yousafzai

"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."    Malcolm Forbes

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence."   Robert Frost

"The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn."    Alvin Toffler

"I believe education is the great equalizer."   Dave Heineman

"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe." H. G. Wells


When did education become suspect?  How has it come to follow that being educated automatically means you must think you are elite or better than anybody else?  When did being educated become a threat, or something to be belittled, demeaned or dismissed? How could the President of the United States boast that he loves the poorly educated?

The more I see that his lack of character and his immaturity, his blatant hypocrisy and outright pathological lying are condoned or tolerated by his followers - or that his weekly golfing excursions, executive orders, and proposals clearly benefit himself and the wealthy and yet, they still think he cares about the average American, well, I can understand his boast. Why wouldn't he love the poorly educated?!

I am a second generation American whose paternal grandmother did not learn English and whose father did not graduate from high school; yet  I was the first female in my family to go to college. I not only became an elementary school principal but also went on to create and manage a boutique consulting firm for 25 years. I know the power of education. Not only a formal education, for I have met many learned individuals who didn't go to college and much of my education has occurred since graduating.  But a good formal education can also inspire -where it has been absent - curiosity, creativity, thoughtfulness, tolerance, a questioning mind, critical thinking skills and perhaps above all, the desire to keep learning. 

In only two generations, our family rose from among the working poor to solidly middle class.  My brother became a dentist and then a master wood worker, my sister a choral director and now a clinical social worker.  Each of us has learned from teachers, scientists, books, the arts, friends, strangers, each other.  Learning formally and informally.  Learning to love and appreciate learning.

It is because of our educations that we have realized the American dream of having it better than our parents did. It is with the help of our educations that each of us made career changes mid-stream, that we have weathered the vicissitudes of life. It is with the help of our educations that John and I are managing his health care today.  

That this President loves the poorly educated rather than encourage them to become educated, that he has a Secretary of Education whose intention is to gut public education, that he boasts that he doesn't read, that his vocabulary is that of an average 4th grader, that he tweets reactively and irresponsibly in the middle of the night- is an embarrassment at best, a disgrace at worst.  That he does not believe in climate change and demeans the scientific and intelligence communities, that he supports defunding the arts and educational opportunities for the disadvantaged bodes harm for our economic and cultural future. 

Yes, I am concerned, upset, even fearful.  But  I will continue to write, to call my representatives, to express my concerns and share my observations.  I will continue to read, to learn, to challenge my assumptions and challenge the assumptions of others who are willing to learn with me..  But when I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of this disaster, I will rant awhile.






And last, but definitely not least...

"Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark all is deluge."
~ Horace Mann

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