Want to Stop the Insanity? Focus on Education

How many shake their heads every time they listen to the news?

If you are like me, you wonder what in the world is going on in our society today. It seems everything has become so politically partisan. When it comes to opinions Republicans are phobic and racist, Democrats are liars with delusional ideas and no matter what bad thing happens in our country or around the world, it is President Trump’s fault. Would you call this insanity? I would!

As a conservative that believes God created all of us in His image and every life is precious, I sit back and wonder when the partisan bickering will stop or at least subside. When will people attempt to have an element of logic or common sense interjected into the discussion? I question if people really know or understand what they are saying. I wonder if people really believe in what they are supporting. I don’t understand why people have to be so mean, cruel and unkind to their fellow human being.

I would like to point out that we are not as different as many would want you to think. As Americans we strive to live a good life, improve our economic status, care for and be supportive of family and friends, and help others less fortunate than ourselves. These are what I believe most strive to achieve.

So where did the partisan and divisive attitudes come from? Are we born to think a particular way? Have limited thought? View ideas from one perspective? Many lessons can be learned from the innocence of children. From an early age children are free from the attitudes of judgment, bigotry, elitism and partisan labels.

Consider a 5 year old and how they react to other children when they begin their primary education. Many are scared about leaving mom. Yet, children go to a place where their surroundings are unfamiliar, don’t have their own toys, and a stranger is telling them to do things they don’t necessarily want to do. However, after a short period of time, often less than a week, children become familiar with their surroundings and start making friends. They don’t notice skin color, fashion labels, titles or other status conscious signs adults tend to focus on. They just know they like their classmate, or not, and want to enjoy playing with their newfound friends.

As children progress in their education, I’m pretty sure they are taught attitudes that deviate from those of that 5 year old. They not only learn academics in an education environment, but also behaviors that shape their attitudes and future actions towards others in society. I would argue a significant element of learned behavior centers around embracing a political correctness mindset vs. an exchange of ideas mindset. For decades our children have been taught there are differences based on a variety of perspectives. Though we are all different, we are all humans and should advance unity. But, our differences have been highlighted to a point were we see children self-segregate based on social expectations or perceived norms. Is this good for society? Is this good for the future?

The future of America should be a focus for all. Believing in America and its greatness should be a goal we all can embrace. Therefore, a primary focus needs to be on the education of our children. If we do not understand the long-term impacts of an education system, look no further than what is going on in society today. In many places, we have failing schools that fail to prepare our children for life and the workplace. We have bribery and fraud within our higher education institutions. We have young adults who believe socialism is good for our economy. It is the education system that plays a major role in shaping attitudes and behaviors, which is reflected by its people in any society. And too many parents have surrendered their responsibility by expecting the system to assume responsibility for their children.

I challenge American’s to get serious about the education system. We need to get back to basics that will truly benefit children. The economy is humming along as reflected by the great numbers reports. Yet, we continue to have available jobs in which necessary skills are lacking or non-existent. The system need not offer courses that provide unnecessary and/or non-relevant knowledge that does not align with a student’s interests, talents and/or career choice. For example, if students want to learn how to take care of large or small animals they should seek opportunities to work on a farm, at a pet store, veterinary office or volunteer at an animal shelter. This would allow individual talents and interests to be driven by way of partnering with private industry while allowing students to learn skills relevant to their career aspirations. Let’s ensure our children are focused on and excel in learning the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic.

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About Dr. Karen Hiltz

Dr. Karen M.S. Hiltz is a retired Federal Acquisition and Procurement professional. She currently serves on several education boards as an elected official and by appointment, including the Franklin County School Board, the Virginia Western Community College Local Advisory Board and Education United. The opinions expressed here are her own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Boards on which she sits.. She is an Adjunct Professor for the MBA program at Mary Baldwin University and advocates for various business and education issues
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