Our founders were wise enough to know that if we are to be a participatory nation in which all participate, we need to be educated. Education is not just for the privileged few, it is a right and a necessity for all.
Unfortunately, we have been moving more and more in the direction that, in order to progress and get the highest jobs, in Washington especially, one must have graduated from an Ivy League school – preferably Harvard. It has almost become a reality that if one wants to get the highest leadership jobs, run the country, make it in the media, and have the most power, money and influence, they must go to Harvard or Yale.
- I do not think this is what our founders meant nor is this bias good for the country.
Our founders wanted and thought it was a necessity for everyone to have a sound basic education so they would have the knowledge and experience to be able to make sound decisions as a voter. This meant EVERYONE not just a privileged few. Everyone – women and men of all races, creeds, and colors.
- This very basis of a democracy is participation by all recognizing that we, as a nation, need the knowledge of ALL to help put the pieces together in the best way possible.
- This means that the voice of the ditch digger is just as important – AND EQUAL – as the Harvard-trained lawyer in a democracy. There are things that the ditch digger knows in his/her closeness to the earth that the lawyer doesn’t know and there are things that the lawyer trained in Montana knows that the lawyer trained in the East doesn’t know. A democracy is built on the wisdom that all societies and all perspectives of all knowledge are needed to put together the bits and pieces of information to reach our richest wisdom.
Just like we need the wisdom and perspectives of immigrants, we need everyone to have a basic education together with their particular, peculiar wisdom and experience to give us the wisdom we need to thrive as a nation.
“Education” does not mean just “readin’ and writin’” in this day and age. Nor does it mean science, math, and technology. Education includes science, math, and technology and it also includes history, the arts of all kinds, respect for nature and the planet, honesty, how to connect with and stay connected with our deep moral compass, how to be an honorable person, how to participate as an equal with others, respect, honoring and listening to our elders, dance, movement, the arts – – – We need all of the above for a functional democracy and this is why our founders made education – all education – a basic part of the warp and woof of this nation. As we have grown so has the width and depth of our needs for education. We need to respond to all these needs to have a democracy.
Our most talented dancer who has the ability to help us learn who we can be may be a ragged immigrant child. We need that child. We need to help that seed that is within everyone to reach its fullest potential for us to realize our promise as America. Education is one of the most important pillars of who we are and can become as a nation, a species and a planet.