Dr. Slammy in 2008 – EducationF1rst: a statement of principle

Put simply, education is the single most critical issue we face. Every dollar (wisely) spent today on teaching and learning is an investment in our future. While there’s no magic remedy for all our ills, education comes closest to being a panacea, because when you educate, you’re crafting the minds that will solve all other challenges.

For example: a dollar spent on education is also a dollar spent on the looming energy crisis. Teaching cultivates the minds that will one day develop the sustainable, environmentally friendly fuel resources we need to assure the growth of our economy and our independence from unstable foreign suppliers.

A dollar spent on education is a dollar spent on preventing and curing disease, as we develop ever greater knowledge about the causes and treatment of illness and on the steps we can take to live longer, healthier, more productive lives.

It’s a dollar spent developing the diplomatic skills we need to peacefully navigate our increasingly dangerous world. A dollar developing the military strategy and technical capability required to the integrity of our national interests. A dollar spent safeguarding the environment for future generations. Exploring the mysteries of the solar system and the universe beyond.

A dollar spent on education is a dollar spent shaping the political and economic genius required to innovate solutions to complex problems like immigration. Cultivating the entrepreneurial foundation for new industries and revitalization in existing ones, assuring that we have ample vocational opportunities here at home. It’s a dollar spent creating jobs in America so global corporations aren’t tempted to offshore employment to places like India and China.

It’s a dollar spent sparking the next golden age of American art and culture. Literature, dance, music, visual arts – and on the creation of new art forms that feed the spirit and utilize the new technologies of the brightest society on Earth.

Best of all, a dollar spent on teaching is a dollar spent on learning innovation. The more we learn, the more we understand how to learn, and as we discover new and better ways to educate, we ensure that our collective learning curve will be ever steeper, providing ever greater rewards.

In other words, when you devote resources to education, you’re not spending, you’re investing. The resources you allocate today will generate significant, even massive returns in the future. In a generation we will be smarter, safer, and healthier, and our world will hopefully be a more peaceful one, ripe with opportunity and possibility. Our children and grandchildren will look back in gratitude for the commitment we made to their big picture and the patience with which we stayed the course in the only battle that really matters.

There is nothing we cannot learn, and no problem that learning cannot solve, if only we’re smart enough and brave enough to bet our futures on the American mind. After all, it was our intelligence that propelled us to our greatest moments in the past.

Why should tomorrow promise less than yesterday?

9 replies »

  1. You already know I agree. It’s a great theory. But I’m not sure how you’ll get it to work. What you are describing involves long term thinking. And based on what I’m seeing in research funding, Congress just isn’t set up for that kind of thing. Budgets change every year. How are you going to create a program that will work for K-12 and beyond when Congress can change its mind every year?

  2. Excellent post. I agree with all of it; however, all the dollars in the world won’t change a thing so long as we have a terrible attitude towards education. To be educated in America, be it formally or informally, is to be scorned as elitist. Apparently the only mathematical knowledge that we all possess is that of the lowest common denominator. We have universities filled with people who don’t want to be there and probably shouldn’t be there; consequently, the value of a university education has approached nearly nil. At best, education is the means to an end. It means a “good” – i.e. high-paying – job. So long as we ignore the inherent value of a quality education, we will continue to have learning factories that produce nothing but good consumers and ill informed voters. We will continue to be, as Curtis Mayfield said (sort of) a nation of educated fools from uneducated schools.

    Very good point, Mr. Pecaut, our inability to think long-term is detrimental on a host of levels.

  3. Good points, and all I can say is give me time. You raise questions that I can hopefully address in future posts. Our culture of stupidity is a huge roadblock, and Congress is a wonderful illustration of that culture, to be sure. But if I can get elected, anything is possible.

  4. Before we commit to you, make sure you have no skeletons in your closet.

    You don’t want to wind up like Rudy “Bones” Giuliani.

  5. Here’s a step towards a better education for everyone.

    It’s goal is to create standardized electronic text books (e-books) for pre-university level education.

    For more information please visit the site.