Read, Young Padawan, and the World Is Yours

Woman teaching geometry, from Euclid's Elements.

Woman teaching geometry, from Euclid’s Elements. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Education in the United States is a hot topic. As it should be. “Teaching to the test”  is unimaginative on the part of bureaucracy, and leads to bored teachers waiting for a chance to teach their students what they need to know to become competent, if not enlightened, decent human beings. And adults who can successfully balance their checkbooks, cook, and pay taxes. Instead, teachers are oftentimes stuck simply relaying strategies for fill in the blank multi-day tests. Anyone can imagine how dull school would be when we sit all day filling in copies of worksheets. This guy got it right: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iflIOklflrg

If you’re going to teach, make it interesting.

I know that this is an enormously complex issue that will not be solved soon. But I am hopeful that there are methods to improve the education system internally while meeting plenty of federal and state regulations. My advice: READ.

Read as much as you can, young padawan, for with literacy comes the world.

Really. Please, teach children to read, write, understand, and criticize. Those are the necessary tools. Make someone want to learn. To understand why. Why not. And how. Anything. Please. Spark just a little curiosity. If the only thing a child will read is a book on curse words, so be it! They are still curious about something. Maybe, in time, that curiosity will develop into seeking the origins of mean words, and that kid will become the greatest linguist of all time. Probably not. But at least they can read and think for themselves.

Personal story. I am a horrible, terrible, no good student. I cannot for the life of me memorize, concentrate, or identify. I can, however, read. And I still do. Voraciously. Because of fundamental literacy and curiosity about everything, I am able to teach myself anything. I truly feel as though the world is at my fingertips. And it is!

Had I not the necessary tools to read and write, my education would have ceased. Instead, I am capable (and am currently) teaching myself what I did not learn in school. As many bright minds have said, literacy is not simply the act of reading and writing. It is much more. Literacy is handing over the keys to whatever kingdom one chooses.

Educational systems are failing.  Infinitesimally basic corrective steps are in order. And Step 1 is to encourage curiosity through literacy.

Next Up: Step 2. Reverse the prison to education ratio. Fix this: http://politic365.com/2013/06/18/850-laid-off-from-chicago-school-system-and-3783-in-philly-but-500-million-for-prisons/ With increased education comes decreased crime.