Sunday, October 16, 2011


Today I feel like writing about education, which incidentally is an area in which I have some expertise. There is a lot of talk these days about how the United States’ educational system is failing which is an assessment I happen to agree with. There are also a lot of people pointing the finger of blame at an awful lot of other people and a lot of those people’s time might be better spent looking in the mirror.

Some people say we need to spend more money on new buildings with all of the modern accessories, computers, school lunches, higher paid teachers with better benefits, lots of teacher’s assistants, the school band, the extra-curricular activities, the football team, and all kinds of mental experts to try and figure out what could be wrong with our kids. All of this which would be backed up by a nice strong teacher’s union with powerful collective bargaining rights.

“Yes sir! That would fix it for sure!” they say. "How could we possibly educate our children without lots and lots and lots of money?"

Well, let’s take a look at that…not the education, the money.

Ironic that I should show you a five dollar bill here isn’t it?

What? You don’t think so?

Well consider this; the man on the five dollar bill was likely educated on less than five dollars. Of course nobody knows the exact amount but it wasn’t very much and none of it came from the federal government also known as the taxpayer. Hmmm…a log cabin, an oil lamp or candle, no teacher, sometimes no mother, sometimes no father, sometimes no food, no band, no chess club, no glee club, no football team, no collective bargaining, no psychologists, no computers, no school system, and no teacher’s union.

Do you kind of notice a few minor little disparities between what we are being told is absolutely necessary to educate our children, and what a man who was as many would argue, one of the best presidents of the United States, actually had to get his education? How on God’s Earth did this man ever succeed in his education without all of this money? But a better question might be; how is it with all the cash pouring into the system that we get such a large number of students who can’t even read?  Boy they sure can toss a football though can’t they? Could it be that we’re missing something here?

Is an education a football team? Is an education a cheerleader? Is it a teacher, a union, a computer, good lighting, food, collective bargaining, good heath care for the teacher or any of the other things we’ve been told are necessary? I would think not. We have plenty of those things. So much so that we are about to go broke paying for them. Lincoln had none of the things people are saying are so important and he rose to the presidency. Now I’ll grant you that some of those things, like cheerleaders for example, are really very nice to have an abundant supply of. But I think it’s pretty clear that none of those things are an education. With the results the system is getting it could be argued that those things are more of a distraction.

As a person who earlier in this article claimed to have some expertise in education I’ve learned a most important thing. You have to understand the definitions of words or becoming educated is an impossibility. In that spirit I give you my own personal definition of what education is. Education is a communication to students, in a manner which makes the data understandable and usable to the students for the enhancement of their lives. If you haven’t accomplished all of the things in this definition you are not educated in spite of all the facts you can regurgitate or how far you can throw a football.

Don’t underestimate the value of a good education. Just be sure what is happening in the schools follows the above definition in spite of all of the other things going on and it will be a good education.

Some might say I'm against education. Nothing could be further from the truth. But there is something I hope you will always remember:

You can’t develop a good product without a formal college education.

You can’t make money if you drop out of college.

You can’t be successful if you don’t graduate from high school.

You can’t change the world without going through the public education system.

And nobody will ever take you seriously if you don't have an education that you are completely satisfied with.

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