As social beings the full range of our lives exist within the framework of society. The effort of some to diminish the need for investing in the maintenance and continual strengthening of that structure is ungrateful and shortsighted at minimum. Whether we like it or not, we are all integral parts of the social framework, and because we benefit from that structure, we are obliged to keep it healthy.
Education is the first conscription of society. Long ago, very wise people affirmed that it was to the advantage of everyone in society that as each generation is added, knowledge is passed on and augmented in an organized way. It is essential that education equips successive generations with a broad understanding of how the social structure works … as with this education, those generations will be ready to participate and be productive members of that society.
Educationâ€™s role is vital because it is the foundation upon which all other social structures depend. In a prolonged atmosphere of ignorance our very way of life would eventually collapse. Education, being the behemoth it has become, moves slowly. Yet, its role is becoming ever more crucial given the increasing pace of change.
The changes that occurred in the 20th century were many – each built on the shoulders of earlier changes. Technologyâ€™s crescendo, at the close of the 20th century, has been eclipsed by the changes in just the first few years of the 21st century. The importance of this pace of change cannot be overstated. Computer technologies outdate themselves every couple of years, as opposed to the decades it took for technologies of our childhoods to change. The consistent resistance to acknowledging this as a fact of life is the equivalent of sticking our heads in the sand.
The benefit to society of educating our children is that they will then be equipped to carry on by earning a living and paying taxes â€“ maintaining the framework. That’s why the argument about only paying taxes for something that directly benefits the individual is so, dare I say, stupid.
There have always been disagreements on the particulars, but in todayâ€™s world there is no room for a lack of education. Gone are the days when â€˜reading, writing and â€˜rithmeticâ€™ were the only necessary components to becoming a well-educated person. Gone also are the days when making a living could be accomplished by nearly any occupation, even those that were unskilled. Flipping burgers has the possibility of paying some basic expenses, but it is unlikely to be the source of the funding needed to purchase property and pay a mortgage. Education has become a life long requirement and continuing education credits are required in many professions.
In my elementary education, I once â€˜acedâ€™ a yearly scholastic achievement test â€“ a battery administered over three days. Apparently, it was the first time any student had done that in the companyâ€™s records. However, by the time my eldest child was in seventh grade, I was beyond being able to help with much of their homework assignments. Our children have needed to have much more information crammed into their K-12 years, far more, than was ever expected of us.
Because education is such a vital investment in the stability and maintenance of the fabric of society, it is even more important for us to anticipate the world that our children will be asked to carry forth. Technology is an aspect unfamiliar to our historical understanding of education, however we need to change our precepts of educational basics.
We need to understand how essential an educated population is to our individual lives. This is not a favor we are doing. We are not educating all of our children for their benefit. It is for the survival of society. Technology is changing at a dizzying rate, too fast for some to keep up with. Do we really want to deprive ourselves of the benefits of a basic, well-educated populace? Can we really afford that? Ignorance always ends up being more expensive…and “you can’t fix stupid!”