Ignorance is This
Since most school districts across the nation are in the process of starting a new school year, maybe it’s a good time to shout out an encouragement to the parents of the kiddos donning all those new backpacks. In my time as a public school educator it has astonished me how much this part of their education they take for granted. I wondered if my generation did the same thing, and deduced that indeed we did. There were differences however – differences in perspective, in effort, and in ignorance.
Don’t flinch or raise your eyebrows at the “I” word. It’s unfortunate that people over generations, have reduced such a resourceful word to a – well – ignorant style of insult, when in fact it has a very simple and useful meaning. (That simply means that ignorant is a word people use when they don’t know what else to say) Look it up if you want to, but at the end of the day, to be ignorant simply means that one doesn’t know much (if anything) about a particular thing.
If you want to get real and raw about ignorance, we’re all way more ignorant than we are informed. We know a lot! But our collective intellect and knowledge is so small it’s harder to find than Waldo or Carmen San Diego. That’s not meant to be an insult, but a reminder of how important it is to share what we know. We know a lot of truth and consequences regarding the power of education. We simply have to start teaching our children about it.
Every day right now we’re being bombarded with information (some of it formed out of ignorance) about the possibility of free college for many, most, or all. For now at least, it’s just a campaign promise. It’s a dream for some, a matter of interest for others, and has a very small probability of ever happening in America – or anywhere for that matter. Part of dreaming things into reality requires reality. The sheer dollar cost of sending most 20-somethings to college without having to pay is unimaginable to most of us, and likely unsustainable, regardless of the dream.
Here’s the encouragement. If there is ever a possibility of free college for everyone, what good is it to us as a society if children currently in public schools are ignorant to the value of the education they are currently receiving? In other words, how many parents are making a daily effort to ensure that their children are taking their public education seriously? I doubt there are many parents that don’t have “the talk” with their children when they begin school, or maybe at best, each time they “graduate” to another level of public education. They tell their children that their education is important, and that winners are educated, and that educated people get all the breaks, and that nobody cares about what your degree is in, but they care that you took the time and effort to earn one. But do they make it their daily responsibility to stay on top of something that is so important?
A middle-aged woman and her husband were having a meal together one evening. While they ate, she reminisced about their life as she observed his graying, thinning hair, and the newest wrinkles on his forehead. She became a bit wistful and finally asked, “You do still love me, don’t you?” The man put down his fork, wiped his face with a napkin, looked across the table at his bride, and said slowly, “Honey, I told you when I married you that I loved you. If I change my mind, I’ll be sure to let you know.”
Not making your child’s public education a continuing education experience at home is a mistake that will render many if not most 20-somethings non-college-worthy. A very high percentage of households determine that it is the job of the teacher and the teacher alone, to encourage and cheer and forgive and instill. The professional educator is usually the one expected to carry the load of getting each student across the finish line, just so they can start another race in a few weeks. If a student’s parents aren’t leading this charge, ensuring that their child understands the need to persevere through education, free college is as useless as the “ueue” in queue.
Even if a student carries the flag across the finish line at high school graduation, they need to understand the importance of their public education, and to have developed a work ethic of dogged perseverance during their formative years. Whatever dollars might be provided by the federal government to send a young adult to college will be wasted on many of these students. Not because they are inept, incapable, or stupid, but because they are ignorant.
Educate your student about their education. Pour into them the importance of putting their best effort forward. But do it regularly! It doesn’t require renting a billboard or purchasing advertising time on television. It requires understanding what your child is studying, and keeping up with the rigor of their classroom work. It requires knowing what their assignments are and when they are due. Without that parents do their part in this process, and enlighten their children by example, free college will be a short-lived concept in comparison to other successfully instituted government programs. In order for it to be successful with ignorant students, the education will be diluted and contaminated. The resulting effect on the leadership of free enterprise and governance of the United States of America could be catastrophic.
Educate your child about their education. Don’t be fooled – we’re playing the long game here. It’s a daily and sometimes inconvenient effort to be a great parent. It requires sacrifice and consistency, discipline and consequences. The absence of any of those characteristics is indicative of ignorance.
It also produces more of it. Start this school year with a positive educational experience. After all, it’s up to you!
I’m Just Sayin’