Investing in the Future – a progressive take by Amy Meier
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” – Thomas Jefferson.
Public education is essential to maintain an informed electorate that can fully participate in a democratic government. An ignorant electorate cannot choose an appropriate government, and a corrupt government can easily sway an ignorant electorate. Education is the cornerstone of having an informed public; public education provides the basics our young people need to have a healthy, happy, productive life. This is borne out by the fact that high school drop outs earn less over their lifetime (which means collecting less taxes), are more likely to commit crimes, are more likely to be unhealthy, and are more likely to need public assistance.
Taxes used to fund public education are in investment in the future of American society. We pay for public education through local property taxes, sometimes local sales tax, and federal income tax. Public education acts as a great equalizer in our society, without it our already shrunken middle class would likely vanish completely. Taking a look at societies that lack public education, you will find time and time again that an uneducated population is more vulnerable to victimization, which leads to a host of problems in society – militarization, child soldiers, human trafficking, disease, poverty, slavery – any system where ignorance and powerlessness can be exploited. That’s what it boils down to, education is power. In societies like ours that is already a borderline plutocracy, taking the “public” out of public education would mean no education for millions. The World Bank and the UN support that without education, families have no chance – no tools – to break the vicious cycles of poverty and oppression they may be in. Taxes support our belief in education and opportunity for all kids in America.
Funding public education is pro business. Companies cannot be as productive or efficient if their work force is unskilled and ignorant. Without public education, families would not necessarily have the means to afford private schooling nor the time and skill it takes to teach a child the basics from K-12. In our current hand-to-mouth economy, families struggle to pay for child care while the parents work – millions would simply not be able to educate their children properly. The Dept. of Education is there to see that all states are providing equivalent educational opportunities across the nation.
Admittedly no policy is perfect, especially when it is created by those that hate government involvement. George W.’s NCLB has proven problematic because it attaches all rewards to performance – instead of critical thinking or learning (a typical all or nothing conservative approach). Throwing the baby (public education) out with the bathwater (a troublesome policy) would leave us in a very undemocratic lurch. Luckily, I’m (publicly) educated and empowered enough to try and improve the system – that’s how democracy works.
Be sure the read the complementary piece in our feature The Pros and Cons here, it’s a conservative take by Robert Malt.
Amy Meier is the creator of CivilTongue. As an activist she’s done messaging work for war resistance, hunger solutions, creative entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, spiritual programs, and social justice campaigns. She’s been an advocate for foster children and victims of sexual assault. She also writes commercially. Amy has been studying and promoting Lakoff’s ideas and applying them to the interactions and confrontation with conservatives in her life. Through a global network of academics, psychologists, sociologists, marketers, spiritual leaders, linguists, and thoughtful people, she has joined a growing community that believes understanding political framing is the key in crafting effective communication. Effective communication can change the world. As a mom, Amy feels like it is her obligation to work for the values she believes in.