Could education be the great equalizer?

I was born in a home where my biological parents were married, all my siblings lived with us, my father was a university professor and my mom stayed at home until I graduated from high school. She volunteered in the schools and my dad helped with tricky math problems.

Ann and I each graduated from the university. Alex is finishing up her master’s degree and Nick is headed for medical school.

nurseEducation has been a fundamental priority all of our lives.

There are many roads to take to get an education; some find the university the right fit, others will excel at tech training and trade schools, others will take specialized courses preparing them for a field that interests them, still others will take advantage of work programs and apprenticeships.

mechanicThere is a place for everyone to make their difference in the world.

The American dream?

Quite possibly.

 

But what about a child who is born to a single-parent without a GED and sporadic employment?

I can’t imagine that this would be anyone’s dream.

Neither myself nor the child mentioned above had anything to do with the circumstances we were born into. You could say that I hit the lottery while he/she is left with a crumpled ticket.

It’s really not fair.

I guess we could spend our time lamenting and blaming about the unfairness of life, but I just don’t see how that will result in any change.

Unless it leaves the less fortunate more bitter about what they don’t have.

prisonAnn and I read an article about piping in on-line courses from local universities to prison inmates. It wouldn’t cost anything as the schools are already providing the video feed; there would just be a bigger audience.

Kind of like more people turning on the TV channel.

But it sounds like a big roadblock to expanding these opportunities is the sentiment that criminals are getting a free education while we on the outside have to save and find a way to pay for it.

That’s really not fair.

I guess we could spend our time lamenting and blaming about the unfairness of life, but I just don’t see how that will result in any change.

Unless it leaves the more fortunate even more bitter about the number of people they are “carrying”.

Here’s the way I see it:

Life isn’t fair; never has been, never will be. Get over it and move on.

people

All men (and women and children) are created equal.

different

However, all opportunities are not created equal.

What if, instead of focusing on everyone having the same opportunities to ensure fairness for all, we focused more energy on helping people end up in a similar place?

Let me explain.

I started life indescribably ahead of the child born in poverty to a single mother with perhaps no better than an 8th grade education.

That’s just a fact.

Because of this fact, I simply didn’t need the outside help that he might. My parents provided amply emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, etc. in preparation for my future.

Does that mean that he shouldn’t get outside options for free that are only available to me if I pay for them?

I think we sometimes focus our worry on just how much we may lose to others around us, forgetting that we can only lose the most if we have the most to start with.

graduationIf Ann and I are fortunate enough to be able to get our kids through school without government programs and aide, wouldn’t that mean that we are, in fact, fortunate enough?

Education and learning changes a person. Self-esteem born of understanding and the confidence that comes from contributing help an individual to be able to live providently and, in turn, share what more they have with those in need.

Slowly making more of the “have’s” and less of the “have not’s.”

I’m sure that people will argue about who may or may not deserve an education.

There will always be people who play the system, taking advantage and finding ways to take more than they give.

Life isn’t fair; never has been, never will be. Get over it and move on.

But there will always be people who sincerely just want a shot at that same equality the rest of us so often take for granted.

So, wouldn’t a more productive argument be that all people need an education?

Some can handle it without outside aide, and their lives are already better for it; others are going to need some extra help to make it to that point where they can make a better life for their families.

It’s not about equalizing the journey through one-size-fits-all solutions, it’s about making sure that everyone has the chance to arrive.

teamBecause, all men and women and children really are created equal.

 

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