Liberty and Education
Everyone is familiar with the commonly recounted story of an immigrant family that moves to the United States in search of a better life. First, the parents get low-paying jobs and work nights and weekends to put food on the table. Then they tell their kids to do the same thing. Wait, no, that’s not how the story goes. They send their kids to school. Why? Because education is the ticket to a better, more stable life.
A person’s level of education is clearly correlated with personal freedom. A better education results in more skill which in turn results in stability, both financially and the kind that comes from having a supportive network that wants you to succeed. This kind of correlation is glaringly obvious.
What is not so obvious is the application of that correlation on a societal level. Could the level of education of the entire populous directly affect the amount of freedom we all enjoy? Yes. Definitely. Education is a critical prerequisite of the liberty that we enjoy.
Would the 2008 financial crisis have happened if the people of the United States of America understood basic math? No way. If you can balance a checkbook, you can do the math that will tell you not to buy a house that you cannot afford, even if your promotion-motivated banker is a great salesman. Poor math skill sunk our entire economy. Ouch. And who is still suffering? The people who are still bad at basic math.
Education is also a critical component of a government that should be by the people and for the people. Government should be a reflection of the values of the people it serves. Without proper education, voters are increasingly susceptible to propaganda rather than a focus on policy proposals that affect their lives. Educated citizens are also engaged citizens. In a country where voter turnout hovers around 50%, it is clear that we have work to do in order to make our government truly represent us.
The priority of the government of the United States is clearly not focused on education, and we the people are to blame. Does education even get mentioned in presidential debates? Hardly at all. Yet our society’s future is dependent on an educational system that is usually dismissed as hopelessly broken and then promptly swept under the rug.
What can you do to improve our collective situation? This holiday season, instead of buying that new gadget that will probably end up in the trash in 6 months, or neglected on a shelf somewhere, give the gift of education to those who are less fortunate. Whether this gift is in the form of a donation to an organization that is advancing the cause of education, or volunteering your time to help tutor, our society is dependent upon our efforts to foster a robust culture of learning.
For a more concrete idea of how to do this, take a look at the Charity Navigator website to find highly rated education-focused organizations in your local area. Once you have done your research, donate your time or money to make the world better, safer, and more free.
Below are two highly rated organizations and the Charity Navigator website to get you started.