13.5.11

Da-da's Open Pre-Commencement Day Letter to the President

Let's get this baby off the ground.
To: President Barack Obama
From: A Man Called Da-da


Greetings, Mr. President. First off, please forgive the third-person tenor of this open letter. After being Mr. Mom for six years, the nerves in Da-da's head have ostensibly lost the art of self-centered self-awareness. Anyway, Da-da writes you this letter as Commencement Day for schools everywhere is almost upon us, and Da-da had an idea that might not only help kids, it might also help those writing Commencement Day speeches. Now, rather than backtrack and talk about the past and the present and the sputnik and the thing, Da-da's gonna do one quick run-on PAST, then plunge headlong into the FUTURE. Here we go.

Da-da will begin with a big, "duh": Education is important. It's also broken, and no one seems to be able to do anything to fix it. And with Every Child Left Behind working no wonders -- but definitely getting kids used to taking lots of tests and not learning much and being stressed out all the time because of all the tests and preparing for tests and not learning much and the fact that teachers pass on this stress due to having to deal with all the soulless busywork homework and tests and preparing for the tests and not... you know, TEACHING -- well, no one's very happy. Indeed, 98% of folks agree that the program should be abolished, esp. as suicide rates among kids are increasing in step with Every Child Left Behind, but that's another issue. The purpose of this letter is the offering of a quiet, reasonably inexpensive and not-so-radical idea for the future of education. Ready?

You, Mr. President, could create a new university system called, "The University" (or somesuch), based on small, liberal arts college models, installing an inexpensive university and fully wired library in every state -- and in every country the U.S. is friends with -- granting untold access to a whole world of students via collaborative, global-reach learning. This would inject money into building projects in every state, and employ all those teachers and PhDs who are currently bagging groceries and piloting taxicabs, or simply feeling hopelessly unemployed. It would build libraries with real books that work even if the power goes out. It would install high speed networks linking all these universities and libraries and students and faculty and brain trusts together into a massive living global encyclopedia of shared humanity, fostering distance learning and international unity. (Might want to read that last one again.) It would open doors to students who are interested in both learning and serving their fellow beings who see other people in other countries as PEOPLE, people without the pressure of politics or sports or parties or consumerism or expensive corporate research... you know, education without an agenda. Create a university system whose charter is to create enlightened, omnidimensional thinkers who love learning and teaching and exploring, and can think abstractly for themselves.

Most importantly, the group of (say a few thousand) students would receive the best education money can buy -- for free -- so a clear higher-ed alternative exists for kids to shoot for, kids from all over, worldwide.

Those who think this is all about spending *their* money will invariably be howling at this point (if not much sooner), calling Da-da all variety of names. But Da-da has news for you: it's not your money. It's OUR money. It always was. And OUR money is being wasted on things with no value. What things? Da-da will tell you.

If we table untenable missions to Mars that benefit no one, and cease wars that no one wants (except military contractors and oil companies, boo hoo), and cancel blackworld projects that no one can account for (and are thus illegal), and stop participation in unwinnable wars on drugs, we could use a tiny fraction of those saved trillions of dollars (yes, trillions) for something constructive. We could not only rebuild education, we could boost it a whole order of magnitude -- you know, like a "leader" country would, back when we were one.

Do this, Mr. President, and you're suddenly, "The Education President." Why the hell not? The American Dream doesn't have to be dead. Why not install the hope of education everywhere? It would act as a global stabilizing influence. I think you'll also find that educated people are kinder people, less willing to foment violence and lust for power and call for the, "death of enemies," and who are more willing to... well, COMPROMISE.

Correct Da-da if he's wrong here, but COMPROMISE is what used to make America work. The lion's share of self-absorbed, self-centered ME-ME-ME special interest Americans have forgotten the word -- COMPROMISE, it bears repeating -- as evidenced by all the suffering it currently causes. We can not only remember it, but reify it here, getting together to educate future generations in an educational experiment like none other, raising a child's mind higher than any mind has ever gone before. Isn't this what all parents want? Shouldn't this be the goal of humanity? Educating people not just so they can get high paying jobs, but educating such that the system yields decent, open-minded people who can, "think sideways," and naturally work together. Every employer would fight over these kinds of graduates -- in every country. This may sound preposterous to some, but it's nothing if not entirely rational. And entirely do-able. And entirely human. Mr. President, Da-da eagerly awaits your feedback.

Best regards,

A Man Called Da-da
U.S. Citizen Taxpayer

Kids don't have to look like this.

1 comment:

Boredom Blogger said...

It's moments like this that I'm really really glad I was born in Australia.
We have free higher education.
Every Australian, with the relevant grades, has access to a free Higher education through the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) where students have their course fees paid by the Commonwealth. The students pays only the "student contribution" a few hundred bucks a year, then only repays the HELP debt if and when they earn over a certain amount per annum, through the tax deductions of your monthly pay.
It's brilliant.
It also means that people like me who went to Uni, and never finished, are paying off a HELP debt one pay at a time, instead of dropping out of Uni with no savings and no hope.
Good luck with your letter, I'm sure you'll get a speedy reply *insert sarcasm here*

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