Years ago, in a high school history class, Mr. Grodhaus told us of a tradition in the United States, that of undervaluing education. For the life of me, I cannot recall the roots of that but it had something to do with the settlement of our country. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that most of the people leaving Europe were searching for an improvement to their lives and a homeland where there was more upward movement. I know that is what all of my grandparents were thinking. The United States, without a visible royalty might have offered them that opportunity. As an educator all my life, I have felt the disdain and often disrespect from people on high and people less so; I have felt disrespect from my own family members. My own blood uncle thought that once I had a few years of teaching under my belt that I would be set for life and I could just teach what I had.
Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that having an education is an advantage. Yes, there are people who can succeed big time without the piece of paper, but statistics will most assuredly bear out the fact that most of us with an education are better off.
Do all people need to go to the university? No, but for a society that functions well, we need people prepared to do all sorts of things. Think as well, of those migrant workers who do the jobs no one else wants to do and what would we do without them? That is a story for another time.
We have a big job in this country. By showing disrespect for the educators and by paying them little (which is a form of disrespect), we are sending a big message. Although that is an issue, and although this means that we have segments of our country where good educators do not want to go, I really don’t think that is the major issue.
The major issue is equality. There is no reason in our supposedly civilized country that we cannot take care of the entire populace. When I mean ‘take care of,’ I mean to have services that are equal to all. All people should be able to work and that means that people with children should be able to have the means to work and to be assured that their children are provided for…childcare.
Despite all of the silliness of the response of a large amount of our population that a uniform healthcare for all is ‘pie in the sky’ and too expensive, my guess is that it might be the opposite. If we did something as they do in Canada, for example, a country much like ours, we could take care of everyone. I would guess that although startup might be expensive, that in the long run it would end up being way cheaper than the current system and we would have a healthier, happier populace.
Education is the next thing and we need to make changes in the system that would allow for every person in the United States, be it in New York, Alabama, or Puerto Rico, to have access to a quality education from birth through either a college education or some sort of technical or career education and to not have to pay a ridiculous sum for it. Having graduates with diplomas and a lifelong debt is ridiculous. We also need to do a better public relations job and educate the population about its importance so they buy into it.
Finally, I am back to equality, it is time that we latched on to this item with a vengeance and assure ourselves that we are really trying to achieve it. We need equality for people regardless of color, race, gender, sexual preference, etc. Not having this is a mockery of what this country stands for.
If we had more of the preceding ideas in place, we would not be in the dire situation we currently are with our government. Our current government seems to have been elected by a very large amount of disenfranchised United States citizens without an education and with the help of foreign government intervention.
Aren’t we all sick and tired of this cycle? My answer is simple and sometimes answers stare us in the face. What are we waiting for?