Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Teach Our Children Well

On this day, June 14, in the year 1642, the first compulsory education law in America passed by Massachusetts.
There are some amongst us who believe the laws should not interfere with parental choices, or that our government should not be invested in general education of the young, but they are outliers. Most of us recognize that the difference to all our lives, and the future of our societies, lies in support of education. Some of it must be done communally.
Let’s put it this way: without compulsory public education, communally supported, we will find ourselves where some third world countries are: parents paying daily to send their young to be schooled, and if one week the family’s short of puls (Afghani pennies) or Tambalas (Malawi pennies) – children must stay home that week.
Private education should always be a choice, just as we strive to make the public education as good as we can. But leaving it to the whim and sometimes meager pocketbook of parents should not be an option.
Obviously we who write, and cannot imagine a full life that doesn’t include reading, want a society that values this.
So today calls for a celebration. This day three-hundred and seventy-four years ago, (let me think… that’s eighteen score and seven years ago. Now doesn’t that sound learned?) some of our nation’s founders, before there was even a notion of becoming a nation, started us on the road to something truly grand.

So as the summer vacation starts all over the land, we rejoice that there is what to have a vacation from.

11 comments:

  1. An excellent reminder, Mirka. I'm so grateful for the education I had and that my children were able to have. And as a former teacher, I understand integrally what a challenge it can be to provide good education for every child. But it's critical for all of us.

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  2. ..and now I'm hearing that Crosby, Stills and Nash song in my head as brain radio. (Luckily I like the song.)

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    1. I suppose the song dates us, Barbara... Its lyrics actually have the opposite sentiment from my post, but I get that side also.

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  3. I'm amazed at how much my daughter learns in school.

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  4. Public libraries developed in a similar way. It stemmed from the belief that a democracy needs literate citizens.

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  5. Interesting...a day to celebrate indeed!

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  6. Great bit of history today, Mirka. Thanks for sharing. I'm thankful for all kinds of education.

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  7. Wonderful post, Mirka, and something to be grateful for, despite the flaws in public education. After living in Guatemala for 2 years and seeing how parents struggled to pay for their children's schooling, with many simply not going due to lack of funds, it made very grateful that my own children were able to attend school without us having to pay for tuition, books, uniforms. Not to mention needing to slip the teacher some money when test time came up so they'd pass the tests. These were just a few of the problems the families in Guatemala faced regarding educating their children.

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    1. Thank you for chiming in with first-hand experience, Karen. When we criticize our public schools or question the role of government in education, it is good to remember that public education (not free, but funded communally) is what makes the difference between a Third World and the developed world.

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  8. I'm thankful for the education I got to receive here in Singapore. Stressful, yes, but also near top-notched. Mirka, don't know if you remember my book feature on Ma Yan, a Chinese schoolgirl who had to walk for hours to get to school. It's after reading it that I'm deeply appreciative of the public education in Singapore.

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    1. Only those who have never lived where communally funded education exists can imagine we should do away with it. We lament the shortcomings, but should strive to improve it, not "go private."

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