I have always valued my education.  All of it, from lessons learned in the family garden, preserving food, and taking care of a house to my formal education in public school and  college.  Education has always been part of my life - it is as natural to me as breathing. 

I know there are people out there who don’t view education with the same thankfulness and respect that I do.  I began wondering about other views concerning the importance of education and wanted to see how closely some of those views might mirror my own.

As I was doing a little research, I came across a top twenty list on a website called Top10Zen.  These are the top twenty reasons many people believe that education is important:  20) gives purpose in life, 19) one learns facts, 18) better healthcare, 17) make dreams a reality, 16) earn more money, 15) fit in with society, 14) outside experiences, 13) make someone proud, 12) become streetwise, 11) extra-curricular skills, 10) keep up with the technological world, 9) improve equality, 8) leads to innovation, 7) one earns respect, 6) one gains confidence, 5) helps understand the world we live in, 4) keep a safe community, 3) country’s economic growth, 2) survival in everyday life, and 1) make friends.

Some of the items in this list had already occurred to me, but others gave me pause for thought.  There are benefits to education far beyond the obvious reading, writing, and arithmetic. 

Great benefit can be gained from educating oneself about local issues - economic issues, local governing bodies, community activities - all the things that impact our daily lives.  When we are educated about need, we have the opportunity to work to make our community the best it can possibly be - for ourselves and for those we hold dear. 

Education provides us with the tools we need to take in information, process it, and make our own decisions rather than relying on others to tell us what to do.  Education promotes individual thought which often leads to inspiration and change.

Even though I have been out of the classroom for nine years, I still work to educate myself about changes in the paradigms in public education.  I am still very interested in what is happening in the educational system, both locally and on a state and national level.  I read professional journals, talk to teachers who are still in the classroom, and I talk to kids. 

Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.”  Education gives us a knowledge of the world around us and changes it into something better.  It develops a perspective for looking at life.  Education helps build opinions and points of view.  Information cannot be converted into knowledge without education.  Education makes us capable of interpreting things - not just lessons in textbooks, but lessons in life.

I encourage everyone to take the initiative.  Educate yourself about our community, its schools, local programs of all kinds.  Become involved.  That should be the goal of all education.


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