Education in America: Declining or Hopeful?

There’s a quote that is attributed most often to William Butler Yeats that says, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” Education, in its purest form, isn’t about to-do lists or “getting it done with” but about the freeing of a mind. It’s not requirements and deadlines but igniting within a young person a love for truth, goodness, and beauty. It’s not about doing the least amount possible but about doing what’s right.

We believe that education is both a battlefield and a sanctuary. And the better we are at one, the more effective we’ll be at the other.

The battle for the hearts and minds of our young people is waging both in the classrooms and on the political platforms of our country. From curriculum decisions made from the top that are rooted in ineffective, deceptive, and even outright dangerous philosophies to classroom environments that are toxic to impressionable minds, there are intentional plans at work to make education something other than what’s in our students’ – and our nation’s – best interest. The more educated we are about these efforts and the issues and trends in education in our country, the more equipped we’ll be to engage on behalf of all students.

Education should also be a safe place where students encounter what is true, good, and beautiful. It’s where a fire starts in their hearts and minds that isn’t limited by curriculum choices or assignment sheets. It gives students eyes to see the beauty, opportunity, and freedom found in discovery.

At Education America, we’re here to fight the battle and to build the sanctuary.

If we were only about the battle, we’d lose sight of what’s sacred and what we’re trying to build. If we were only about the beauty and unwilling to engage in the battle, we’d be unable to lead toward any real change. We’d be uninformed…and therefore powerless. But the battle is worth fighting because of the beauty of our mission.

At Education America, we’re committed to providing people with the tools and resources that they need to make the right choices. To learn more about what we’re doing and why Education America is here, listen to our most recent discussion here.