Restoring Education to It’s Proper Role

March 9, 2009

It’s about time we place more emphasis on knowledge for knowledge’s sake. So many throughout the past few decades have chosen to go to college and what they would study in college and ultimately what they would do with their lives based on how much wealth they could accumulate by taking that path. What happened to an actual widespread thirst for knowledge and a hunger for truth? Shouldn’t prospective students want to know how things work, what has happened in the past, what science reveals, what psychology says about us, how people do or do not worship and how such ways differ and affect entire cultures and societies, what is going on in the world today and how such things get to their respective points? Most important of all, shouldn’t the main concerns a prospective student has before picking a potential career path be: will this work make me happy and will this work make the world around me a better place for my having done said work?

Realistically, I understand that before undertaking the massive amount of work, invested time and accumulated debt one will accept in training for a career in a college or university one should be relatively certain that there will be a valid job awaiting for having such training that also will pay enough to cover the bills and make such an investment worthy of the time it required. Yet I also know that many of us often overstate how much is “enough.” Going through college to get a job that will make 40,000 dollars a year should not be a laughable goal. So often people assume they have to make 100 grand a year or its simply not worth their time. I think its quite clear that in most areas of the country we can get by (and get by comfortably) on much less. Living in a bit more moderate of a fashion is not a wasted life.

Education should not be limited to a fine area. Many undergraduate students throughout history have complained that they had to receive such a broad and across-the-board base coursework. Someone studying to be a physicist may hate that they have to take Literature, History, Philosophy or Psychology. Someone studying to be an English teacher may often loath taking Calculus, Biology and Geography. Yet it’s often the occurrence that a student may find their passion in a completely unexpected place by taking such mandatory’s. It’s also important that the experts in every field can understand a basic level of comprehension in those “across the board” areas. I think such broad learning should be extended. Today in schools across the country there are many students who find arts and humanities slipping from the curriculum because such areas aren’t deemed as important as Math or Science in acquiring a job. Although science and math may teach you how to apply skills in many professions, arts and humanities teach you who you are and open you up to the “why” instead of just the “how.” Obama mentioned in a recent address his desire that all adults capable of taking at least one class in a higher education setting – be it in college, technical school or wherever—is a great call. That class would benefit anyone whether it served as vocational training that deepened their job knowledge or simply an educational course that taught them more about history, science or math, even if that course simply served to inspire them artistically through art, craft or writing. The point is that no education is wasteful. No knowledge is bad knowledge. The more we as a country can learn the better off we will all be. The coming generations need as much broad and specific knowledge as possible to compete in the growing global market as well as to contribute to the rest of society through scientific development, historical discovery, artist output.

Furthermore, knowledge is essential to freedom. Simply knowing and being aware of fact, possibility and truth calls oppression, whether it is oppression brought on by a ruling class, a government institution, an oppressive religious organization, a personal relationship, a societal organization or simply ignorance itself into the light. I truly feel education has the power to destroy most prejudices, stereotypes, judgments and limited viewpoints.

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