I know that medical reform is necessary to save lives, but as a retired educator I am as worried about the gutting of American education by our current economic crisis. Education ultimately saves lives as well — those who most need it if deprived are likely to end up criminals and jailbirds whose lives are as much destroying and destroyed as those without adequate medical care.

When our children were young, our local public schools were more or less disaster areas. Neighbors who tried to send their children to them found then not getting educated and too often brutalized by students of different economic and ethnic backgrounds, so our family made considerable personal and economic sacrifices to send our children to the best private institutions at all levels where they thrived with some scholarship assistance and lasting loan obligations that I am still trying to pay off.

The report today about the cutbacks in NYC school budgets:

A New Meaning for Cutting Classes
The recession is coming home for administrators, teachers
and students in New York City’s public schools.

is undoubtedly echoed across the nation and does not bode well for our future. A badly educated nation cannot compete in the modern world simply by throwing its military might around — where we are also wasting funds to our “military industrial complex” and world cop fixation.

Where this is all going to end, I do not know. But formerly third world countries are now doing education better — we used to be the world’s leader in sending our students on to higher education — no longer so. And if we are forced to cut our education budgets even further, we will fall deeper into the cesspools of ignorance and poorly functioning democracy which requires a well educated public to thrive. Much of the current political hate stuff is the outcome of the anxieties (being exploited by political con artists) about unemployment and loss of basic housing amidst our current economic travails.

What do you think?

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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