Wednesday, September 30, 2009
"Thousands of children marched to City Hall this week in sensible black shoes, a stream of boys and girls from township schools across this seaside city that extended for blocks, passing in a blur of pleated skirts, blazers and rep ties. Their polite demand: Give us libraries and librarians."
No, that paragraph was not in a pamphlet from your local librarians and educators, but from an article in the New York Times describing a protest by students in South Africa to demand an overhaul to the education system there (click here to read the entire article). Earlier this month, PBS aired the latest installment of the Wide Angle documentary, Time for School, a 12-year project on global education. The recurring themes from both the series and article are: education for all children is a inalienable human right; developing countries
It seems as if the students from those countries yearn and appreciate the value of an education more than children in the 'First World' - specifically our children. What happened? When did we lose our way? There was a time in the history of this country when education was the only way to a better life. In fact it's fair to say that some folks died trying to receive a good education. In the Jim Crow south, children were packed into one-room schools; earlier than that, it was a crime for slaves to learn how to read and write. Yet fast-forward two/three hundred years, we have adopted such lackadaisical approach to education. Can we ever get back that passion? Does something have to be taken from us before we feel it's worth fighting for?