When Everything Else Fails, Reform The Education System

The idea that children must retain love for learning after they finish their education has no justification. In a liberal democracy, who has the right to tell me what kinds of interest I must have? This idea of the ideal person always in search for learning for learning sake traces back to Enlightenment, and is neither liberal nor democratic.

As I survey my Facebook wall, I am struck by the high percentage of my progressive friends who are fed up with the Democrats, fed up with Obama, and fed up with being yelled at for voting third party. Why, they wonder, can’t we have some candidates who actually espouse progressive values? Why can’t we propose real universal healthcare? Real Wall Street reform? Real education reform? In short. real progressive politics that reflect a secular government respecting the rights of all Americans?

I wrote about the education of Barak Obama, then a candidate. Let’s now look into Sonya Sotomayor’s education. Like Obama, she does not have a privileged background. Born and raised in the Bronx by immigrant parents, her father dies when she was 9. She goes to Blessed Sacrament School in Soundview, and then to parochial Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx. Just like Obama, Sotomayor is not a product of public school system.

But did we all give away our common sense on that day too? Was Marie Morrow planning on hurting someone with her clearly fake rifle? Was Zachary Christie going to get in a scuffle and gauge another child’s eyes out on the playground?

Researchers are studying the issue. It’s clearly a national, even global trend. Studies show that kids who spend time outdoors are more psychologically healthy, mentally alert, and physically fit. A few studies have documented a rise in test scores after students spent time doing research outdoors in environmental topics. Others have shown that kids who are indoors more tend to be overweight more often (big surprise!), and have a higher incidence of psychological problems.

Last week’s debt ceiling votes by Indiana lawmakers had me scratching my head, especially when it comes to the Tea Party movement in this state. They blasted U.S. Senator Dick Lugar and U.S. Representative Larry Buschon for their votes in favor of lifting the debt ceiling, but said nothing about Mike Pence and Todd Young who also voted the same way. There is also talk the Tea Party will try to run a primary challenger against Buschon in the 8th Congressional District.

We in Kansas City know all about misspent money. Our city was awarded billions in a desegregation ruling. We got a bunch of pretty new schools, tons of administrators, gaggles of bad teachers, a laughable school board and the same miserable educational system, just as segregated, disconnected and irrelevant as it been since the length of my memory. Ours is not an isolated cases but a shining model of all that is wrong. The one room school houses of the 19th century are better education models than anything we have today.