Education is an important concern for most of us.  We all grow up hearing how we need education to get ahead financially in this world. But that shouldn’t be the main goal of education.  Education should be about learning how to think and to understand oneself and the world.  “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” (Malcolm X).

 

One dictionary definition of education is “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university”.  This is the definition that comes to mind quite often as our society struggles to maintain schools and pay teachers.  We think of the schools and the teachers and the students when discussing education.  But more importantly, we should think of this second definition of education which is that education is “an enlightening experience.” The challenge is how do make school – education – an enlightening experience for everyone.

 

First, it is important that we realize that people learn in different ways.  Some of us are verbal thinkers, some of us think in pictures, some of us learn more easily by doing and experimenting.  It is not easy for a teacher to cover all these ways of teaching, especially if there are too many students in the classroom.  It means we need more teachers so that we can have smaller class sizes.  The goal is not to just turn out scores of students who go through the motions of learning/memorizing facts and sets of rote instructions, but to teach students how to solve problems on their own.  Of course, we all need to learn how to read, write, and do basic math in order to communicate with everyone else.   But in addition to learning facts, we need to learn how to think critically. “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.).  There are many definitions of what it means to think critically, but basically it means to be aware of how you are thinking, to use logic when reasoning, to learn how to interpret evidence.

 

Once we learn to think critically, we are better able to understand how the world works and to decide for ourselves what is the truth and determine when someone is lying to us. Education doesn’t stop when we graduate from high school or college.  “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning. “ (Jiddu Krishnamurti). New ideas, new technologies, and new concepts of how society should function need to be evaluated and thought about continually by everyone.  “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ( Nelson Mandela).  Education is not limited to a classroom.  Not everyone needs to go to college to learn.  Many trades are learned by apprenticeships or in vocational schools.  These and other means of education should be supported in our country.

 

Everyone needs education.  It is one of the rights that America guarantees to its citizens.  So why is public education under attack?  Why should the best opportunities for education be reserved for the rich?  Don’t we believe in education for all?  Are those who enjoy being in power afraid to educate their fellow citizens who cannot afford to send their children to private schools?  Carl Spoerer believes in education for everyone. He rejects school vouchers because they drain money away from public schools and lessen the public schools’ ability to remain competitive. If the rich want to send their children to private schools, they can do that, but public funds should not be used for private schools. Carl Spoerer will work to increase funding for public schools for more teachers, resources, and technology because they are the backbone of education in America.

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