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Dear student: one day, you will get very angry at what you have not been told. Among these: * That you were watched; * That you were impoverished; * That you were not trusted; * That you were free labor; * That the grades you received were not a real estimation of your worth.
And so much of this is true for your teachers, too: * They have been watched. * They have been impoverished. * They have not been trusted. * They have too often been free labor.
Instead of educating you, schools have asked you to cooperate, to believe their record of history, their store of knowledge, their expertise. And when you haven’t, they have penalized you in ways beyond reckoning.
What too much of education today has done is separate you from your inherent knowledge, from your ability to participate in your own education, from your keen skill to ask questions, to question answers, to inform the older generation of the wisdom of your experience and life.
This is not what education was ever for. Education is meant to emancipate, to liberate. To channel our inspirations and our interests into a life of productive, active citizenry. To enable us to make change. To give us the confidence to intervene.
If you have not learned of your brave capacity to intervene, if you have not been invited to contribute to how and what you study, then demand more. If you have not been believed, if you have not been trusted, demand more.
Education should inspire—even welcome—all of us to question education.
Education is more than the credential waved in front of you even when food is scarce and housing is uncertain. And for your teachers it must be more than the job waved in front of them.
Education is more than taking tests. It’s more than memorization. It’s more than agreeing to post once and reply twice. It’s more than grades (it’s so much more than grades).
Dear student: one day, I hope you will get very very angry, and that you will look for (and find) what education didn’t encourage in you. I hope you will find the genius that has always been there. And that you will light the world on fire with that genius.
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