An Observation from Pelham – 2015
I said it once before: Question Everything…(Continued)
4. It is incumbent on each individual of the populace to take responsibility for his or her own (and family members’) health and well-being. This includes taking those actions to feed, clothe, and house one’s self and family, i.e., having a job or vocation that provides value to society, or supports someone who does. It is also the responsibility of each individual to recognize that people are different, with different capabilities, skills, talents, and potentials. This also means that each individual should have the right (to me “right” is a very rarely used word) to be able to develop his or her individual potential to the fullest extent possible (or desired). The initiative and energy required to achieve this potential is largely the responsibility of the individual.
5. It is also the responsibility of each individual to participate in the governing of local, state, and national government, i.e., through being a candidate or through informed and thoughtful voting for representatives and/or issues that will have an influence on the individual and/or the community.
6. The key to Number 5 is the “informed” state of the electorate. Being informed begins with sound parental guidance, formal and informal education, and access to an honest and complete record of issues of importance to the “informed electorate.” In addition to the “three Rs,” education should instill curiosity. For me, the fundamental principle of education is to “question everything.” Although the scientific method of “test and confirm” may not work on political and social issues, education should equip each individual to be capable of learning with the ability to listen (or read) critically, keeping in mind that what one hears or reads is often slanted to promote a specific point of view (if not deliberately misleading). And sometimes the message is accurate and factual, but the only way to tell the difference is be prepared to question both the facts and/or the source of the information—even someone you trust and support.
6A. Education should be objective, and rigorous with defined standards, but it is best managed at state and local levels. Education is most effective when parents and students believe/accept that the education they are getting is what they need, understanding that there are certain standards for reading and writing (communicating), math, civics, knowledge of the world (basic science, geography, and in this era, geo-political familiarization—other countries and societies with whom we share this planet). I would add a course that I would call “Accept but Verify,” that would encourage folks to question what they hear and even see.
Note: I will have another “rant” on education in a separate posting soon.