SOESD / Learning Matters / Newsletter Archive / April 2007 / Education as a Patriotic Profession
Education as a Patriotic Profession
Recently, I read a legislator's newsletter advocating that veterans deserve the number one priority because they have put their lives on the line to preserve our freedom and way of life. This description could also define the work of educators: to preserve our freedom and economic way of life. Educators serve their students, communities, and county to make us strong. Schools need financial support to assure a strong future for our country.
A typical response from educators, when asked why their job is important, is that they are helping young people grow to maximize their potential. There is a sense of purpose around our work. In helping individual students maximize their potential, we are also helping citizens of our country and world maximize their potential. Who can predict the contributions an individual student will offer their world? Public schools serve all students.
I believe education is a Patriotic act. Patriotic with a capital P. Educated individuals with a sense of purpose can give more to other people, more to their communities, more to their state, more to their country and more to the world than undereducated people. Strong citizens make for strong societies.
Knowledge helps prevent individuals from becoming dogmatic and intolerant. Educated people tend to be less fearful and more rational. Terrorists don't act in rational ways. Many insurgents in the Middle East see teachers and journalists as far more threatening than soldiers. They fear teachers will impart knowledge and reason, which is what they fear most. By killing teachers, destroying schools, and intimidating parents and students, they can prevent knowledge and reason from overtaking their political philosophy.
Politicians like to line up behind the military and those who have served. Most have served admirably. Some politicians have portrayed educators as being self-serving and only looking out for their interests. The vast majority of teachers work unselfishly educating young people to assure their future and in a larger sense, the future of our country. The work of educating people is a Patriotic act.