Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Education: Part three-Building a life-long continuum

When we look back at this administration's ambitious agenda, we'll compare it to another president who took on the task of improving education for all children. Not
George W. Bush, though, in his own way, he did attempt to get us to focus on children with a lovely motto. I was thinking of President Johnson, his war on poverty, his attempt with various educational acts, Title I comes to mind, to level the playing field. I became a teacher way back in the sixties, when money from Title I financed our first summer school for poor readers.

There are so many fields where we educate our youth, that just understanding what's going on will take many experts and many dissertations. Any one issue, can splinter the conversation and send us all to sulk away in our corners. I hope we can think this through critically and lovingly. We have great examples to draw from, to help us see the full picture.

Our mission should be to educate people throughout their lives, pre-school to death. Our compulsory education stops at the 12th grade, or age eighteen, whichever comes first. Our post secondary education has become expensive and not easily available for those children in rural areas.

Through education, people will appreciate and utilize their many potentials, will make ethical and moral choices in their financial, personal and career choices, will become active participants in a law abiding society, and will protect the environment, their health, and the welfare of all people.

In the past few years, here in the United States, political chatter has derailed our mission. We have pitted religious thought when it was convenient to win an election, and ignored the same when the economic collapse of banks and financial assets froze us solid. People all have the same basic needs to have a safe and secure life, free to pursue their dreams and utilize their potential.

So, we need to bring the conversation back to the table and lay down some premises we can all accept:

1. To assure access for all: education is and shall remain the responsibility of government, paid entirely through common funding.
2. To ensure fairness and quality programs: families should be given choices of schools/location/ and configurations; they should not be allowed to opt out. ( I have very good friends who would be very upset with me on this one.)
3. To promote active participation: families should be partners with schools, with mutual contracts of understanding, support and assessment.
4. To develop support and cooperation: schools, families, students, community, employers, all share the burden of continuing to support educational opportunities.

5. To instill commitment: taxes and levies will support education, not just in one state or one county, but equal base of support for each child no matter where he is.

Local communities/board of education, must align their goals and mission to the nation's goals and mission; yet, and in addition, they must understand and promote local values, history and expectations. In a community such as Port Orford, our arts community is so active in schools that they automatically make this a goal in our schools.

I don't have a ready made agenda; these thoughts have been brewing for a while. They are probably in need of pruning, fertilizing, tilling under. What do you think?


jinksy said...

Learning on all levels of life is our only hope...

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

You know back in the 60s I was still in college and remember one night in my car hearing Pres. Johnson on the radio saying he would not run for re-election. It was a time of crisis with Vietnam and I was so happy he was stepping down.
Of course, Vietnam was not all his fault. Now we see how lucky we were to have him in the White House promoting his education and civil rights agendas. We are all better for his having served as president.
I am in total agreement with your statement, "Through education, people will appreciate and utilize their many potentials, will make ethical and moral choices in their financial, personal and career choices, will become active participants in a law abiding society, and will protect the environment, their health, and the welfare of all people." If we do not approach education in a positive, thoughtful manner we will pay for the lack of education in the future. Actually, we already paying for the errors in judgment. We spend way too many $$$ trying to warehouse and rehabilitate people who did not receive the education that is due them. Society will pay the price no matter what and isn't it better to pay in a more positive effort than in paying to clean up messes brought on by lack of education.
You keep pushing this agenda and your community will be the better for it. One of the main purposes of an educator is to encourage & provoke a desire for life-long learning in our students. Oh yes!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

The die is cast for a child at age 2 in terms of growing up to be at risk of any manner of child poverty issues and indicators...

Good and universally accessible education is the only way out of poverty. We owe it to our children not to fail them. Achieving your views on education, Rosaria, is vital to that goal.

Fantastic Forrest said...

I've silently enjoyed many of your previous posts, and this one is no exception.

Your five premises are simultaneously basic common sense and wildly radical. I am sure you will stir up some with those ideas. But I like them.

I agree totally that the mission is to educate people throughout their lives. I'm proud to be part of the Clark College (Vancouver, WA) Mature Learning instructor corps. My older students are awesome! I love to hear their responses to discussion questions as we address social justice issues.

Lakeviewer, you and your readers are warmly welcomed to come check out my teaching blog and join the conversation at

marc aurel said...

As long as we can educate everyone enough so that they can educate themselves....and want to.

Pinkerbell said...

I can't help thinking that the 3 trillion pounds being stumped up to bail out the financial market again could have been better spent on education, maybe with a bit of financial prudence thrown into the curriculum...

lakeviewer said...

Jinksy- Thank you for reading this post especially. I appreciate hearing on this subject.

Cheryl, you and I have a bit of history to examine. We know what needs to happen; how difficult it is to get everyone working together; how most people look at a problem and try to find the easiest solution to fit their particular circumstances. I really want to engage all retired teachers/administrators/legislators in an inclusive conversation. No one holds the master key here. We want educational opportunities available to all students, at all ages. Thank you for your constant support. I have a friend in you and a few others who have encouraged me from the start.

One day, I hope to meet you and your great guy.

lakeviewer said...

A woman....The die is cast even before birth. A pregnant teen who does not receive good health education will not have a healthy child. In those first months of bonding, when her life will have changed drastically, how she bonds and cares for her infant child, insuring his/her welfare and well-being, how she behaves will affect that baby through the rest of his/her days. You are so right!

lakeviewer said...

Fantastic Forrest...Welcome! I will stop by your blog and connect with you for sure. Educators must speak out, join together to express what works, what needs to be done. I'm so happy to meet you.

lakeviewer said...

Marc, you hit the underbelly, the sore points. WE have many people who appear to reject what we teach them. I agree with you 100%. It is a goal of every educational institution to promote life-long learning, and hopefully provide tools and resources so people can help themselves. Thanks for the feedback.

Renee said...

And if they could all realize that a good education can never be taken away from you. You can carry it with you wherever you go.

By the way, I love you in your little hat that says SLAM. And yes I increased the picture to see your beautiful face.

Love Renee xoxo

lakeviewer said...

Pinkerbell...WE are all watching where the money is going.
The system has many parts, interdependent and interrelated. Education is probably the stomach of the body, where information is churned and digested, and then converted to nutrients to be used in the whole body. If we take the analogy a bit further, I can assure you that even if one finger hurts, the entire body suffers somehow.

Thank you for your thoughtful insights.

lakeviewer said...

REnee, welcome. The little hat comes from a sailing shop in Marseille, France. (A previous post revealed that we spent time in France in September.)

I'm a wannabee sailor, fisherperson, golfer, dancer, pianist, drama queen, and even, clothes horse. In my dreams, I run marathons, sit down with the governor and discuss educational and environmental issues, sky Mt. Hood, canoe down the Columbia, and discover one simple item that allows a person, when sick, to produce the slightest sound to indicate immediate needs.

Thank you for stopping by. What have you decided about Vegas? Did I miss that?

Renee said...

You are also 100% holy shit this lady is fantastic.


Love Renee

Renee said...

No not going to Vegas now, just going to wait until I have my tests and then get results. Just don't want to do it with that monkey on my back.

We shall see.

You have all these dreams and aspirations and all I do is think 'I wonder what the heck is going to happen on Lost.'

Love Renee xoxo

lakeviewer said...

REnee, I'm glad I returned to this post to find you again. It's 10:30 here on the west coast and I'm not sleepy yet. The meds are driving me loopy.

The only sane thing in life is to plant seeds. I mean everything is decaying, hurting, breaking and disintegrating. Life is a big compost heap. When heated enough, it will transform into nutrients. Isn't that a lesson? Only then, shit becomes gold.

Now, I'm just closer to the edge, with friends who have seen more death and more pain than I can ever imagine. We pretend that life is about all those lovely things that we dream about. It is not. We dream so we can escape and invent and escape what's inescapable.

I used to have faith in a perfect Paradise that would be there after the pain of this life. Whether it is or isn't, doesn't matter. WE just have this day; this moment; this short, complicated life that is going down the rapids. We can believe, we can dream; but we can't change what is.

I think about you all the time; you are facing your mortality every minute; you are on that tightrope and speak about it to any one who will listen. Do you know what happens when you remind us of that tightrope? WE cry, we choke. We are wordless.

That's what happened when humans developed language and tools. WE now have words to manipulate our reality. Why do they fail us? What can't we escape our deepest fear? To be or not to be? No. The question is: How can I be me when the me I know cannot speak anymore?

Thank you for indulging me. If this ranting is way too long, just let me know, and I'll erase it.

Good bye.

Lola said...

Lifelong education, what a poetic concept. Utopia? Hopefully we can start with little steps, like your potent 5-point agenda. Rosaria, why does the world not understand that without free and accessible education, everything would be different, better? Learning lies at the base of all things good. Thank you for reminding us.

Renee said...

Dearest Rosaria:

Ranting -- what ranting.

I love you for what you write.

I also, to be very very honest, which I always am, want you to know that I admire you. I am so happy that I found you or you found me or whatever, or however it went down.

The fact that it did go down is what makes me happy.

Yes I face my mortality every day, but at the same time not really.

Yes I talk about whatever I feel like and always have.

For a one month period while I was on chemo I would get up every morning and stumble to what I called my coffin on the couch and just sit there and cry. All day, every day for about a month and then you know what happened. I just couldn't sustain that level of sadness anymore.

So now I come and I go with it. I have never been that sad again, but I know I will be.

I go through stages.

I have shared in the deaths of 14 dear friends in the last two years and it is not easy to lose the people that you fall in love with, but with so many deaths too, it also becomes okay. Not that you aren't sad, but what are you going to do?

Okay, now I'm rambling.

Take care.

Love Renee xoxo