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Education, Part 1 – Willful Ignorance

May 6, 2018

Old books, Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library, Antwerp, Author missmarettaphotography (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

“We don’t need no education.
We don’t need no thought control…
Teachers leave them kids alone.
Hey!  Teachers!  Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall…”

-“Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd

There is a disturbing trend in America to applaud ignorance, as if the pursuit of higher education were somehow unmanly…even unAmerican [1].

Generations relied on the sweat of their brow to advance the American dream.  There is no shame in that fact.  It was always, however, the goal that their children should have more opportunities than they did.

With the complicity of our politicians, that concept is being lost.

Tax cuts are never unpopular with the electorate.  In fact, the Tea Party demanded them, as a protest against uncontrolled government spending and perceived waste.  On a state level, however, tax cuts have had a dramatic and detrimental impact on the quality of education in this country [2].

A reduction in state revenue has resulted in increased class size, deteriorating infrastructure, and decreased resources (with teachers often providing badly needed classroom supplies at personal expense) [3][4].  Reduced tax revenue is the root cause behind teacher salaries stagnant at 1990s levels in many states [5].

We were told we could have our cake and eat it, too.  Now that the lie is being exposed, we are told we don’t really need the cake.  Ignorance is better than education.  Of course, an ill-informed electorate is more easily manipulated.

Unfortunately, there is little doubt that our children are falling behind.

The real issue is one of priorities.  Either we believe our children are worth the cost of educating them or not.  If not, this country will end up paying a heavy price for its willful ignorance.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1: 7).

[1]  Huffington Post, “America’s Cult of Ignorance Is No Match for Asia’s Cult of Intelligence” by  John Traphagan, 12/6/17, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-w-traphagan/america-ignorance-asia-intelligence_b_5505032.html.

[2]  New York Times, “We Don’t Need No Education” by Paul Krugman, 4/23/18,  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/23/opinion/teachers-protest-education-funding.html?partner=msft_msn.

[3]  WYDaily, “In short supply:  teachers foot the bill for classroom school supplies” by Brandy Centolanza, 1/22/18, https://wydaily.com/local-news/2018/01/22/in-short-supply-teachers-dig-into-own-pockets-to-buy-school-supplies/.

[4]  Money, “Here’s How Much Your Kid’s Teacher Is Shelling Out for School Supplies” by Martha White, 8/3/16, http://time.com/money/4392319/teachers-buying-school-supplies/.

[5]  Since the majority of states are required by law to operate with a balanced budget, deficit spending is not a solution to this problem.

This series will conclude next week with Education, Part 2 – Violence

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

7 Comments
  1. Yes, m’am, it is a shame our teachers are not paid better. A good teacher is such a valuable resource for educating those who are the future of this country.

    • It amazes me that we pay sports figures so much, and teachers so little. Certainly, talented athletes deserve to be reimbursed for their efforts. But teachers offer talent and effort of another kind. They change our children’s lives forever.

      • Exactly! 😊 I think you’ve got to be a special person and gifted by God to be a good teacher, too.

  2. Excellent article Anna. I think conservatives don’t like what they see as “liberal” ideas and they often see education as promoting a liberal mindset. To be honest conservatives don’t trust education, which is a huge mistake.

    • There is some research to suggest a liberal bias in academia. A more distressing reality is increasing materialism. The counter-balance to bias of any kind is not, however, ignorance. It is solid scholarship.

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