When the topic of reparations come up, I think that too many people think about paying money to a certain group like California did after the Japanese-American internment. But reparations are more than that. Reparations include the removal of barriers so that these groups are allowed to live their lives and attempt to achieve their own full potential. While some of these barriers are legal, others are not.
Education should be one of the areas where we ensure that everyone has equal access. Education helps everyone improve their lives as well as the lives of their families, and having everyone at a basic level of education helps us as a society as a whole. Many employers have had to start educational programs to give employees the tools they need to become better employees and better citizens. Many companies found that many among their lowest paid employees had trouble completing basic tasks that put their jobs at risk. While it is good that these companies stepped up, they shouldn’t have needed to.
We need to take education seriously in this country and agree upon a basic standard from which to build on. Along with basic skills like reading, math and history, we need to build up basic literacy in critical thinking and the use of technology. To do this, we may need to reach beyond the resources that a single school or family has at hand. Even before the pandemic, far too many schools were left behind, underfunded and understaffed, completely unprepared to teach students adequately. Due to the pandemic, this situation has become exponentially worse.
There is a way around this problem and it has two parts. First, we need to get computers into the hands of students as well as access to the software they need to learn in order to succeed. Second, we need to build a national database of curriculum and mentors to help these students.
It is unfair to complain about how bad the education system is and then to actively attempt to hobble it by restrictive policies and limited funding. Education is so much more important than many other things that a country can spend money on. If education wasn’t important, then why are we always having to train people? When you go into a career, you constantly have to train and educate yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the military, a firefighter or an investment banker; they all have to continually reeducate themselves.
The more educated the working class, the more able they are to handle change, improve their jobs and the products they are making for our companies. How is that not a win for us? I do not know. So, right now, let’s get together and get children the tools they need so they can start building the future for themselves even if that means giving them computers to access things that might make you uncomfortable.
The world is changing in ways which go above and beyond what most people have thought possible. We need a new way of doing things. So, let’s start by arming today’s children with what they deserve: a good education.