Using Education to Socialize People as Good Citizens
When it comes to having a healthy, stable, and functional society, it really becomes important to note how education plays a role in helping to create the kind of citizens that are needed to have that kind of society. So, how can education help to do this? Keep reading and find out.
While growing up, I was educated in an elementary, then junior high, then senior high school. In fact, all Americans must go to elementary and junior high schools, since it is compulsory and most Americans graduate from a senior high school as well. But, there was a day in the not-too-distant past when not everyone went to school, and where most people were illiterate. A couple centuries ago, most people would have thought it outrageous to pay taxes for educational purposes. Of course, there are several reasons why education is important these days.
For starters, it is important to note that it would be next to impossible to get a job in today’s professional environment without knowing how to read and write – even the most trivial of jobs require some semblance of reading and writing skills. It also requires that people know at least basic mathematics. So, from this standpoint, we need to be able to teach the next generation of workers in our society how to do those most basic of social functions, reading, writing, and math.
Besides the basics, though, since we live in a democratic republic system of government, where most adults can vote for the people who make the laws, policies, taxes, and public agencies and organizations that govern our lives, it is important for people to be educated, in order to know what questions to ask, and to be able to form proper conclusions. If, in a democracy, the common people are the repository, or storehouse, of power for the state, then helping the common people in forming their judgments through good education seemed the appropriate thing to do. In fact, with the passing of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, which offered lands in the new territories of what we now call the Midwest, for the sake of creating schools for educational purposes, stated, “religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means for education shall ever be encouraged.” In fact, after the Library of Congress was created, one of the first books that they published was the Christian Bible, to be used in the nation’s schools, “for the teaching of public morality.” A proper moral teaching of tomorrow’s adults helps to create a better class of good citizens, who have a good moral aptitude, who obey the nation’s laws, and contribute to society through some type of meaningful and industrious work.
Another reason why we have education these days is to advance social goals, which can tend to be such a controversial subject these days. It used to be that the social goals advanced were quite simple, such as trying to instill patriotism in the people of our great nation, helping tomorrow’s leaders know what it means to be an industrious and peaceful and law-abiding citizen, trying to stop drug abuse, resolving racial conflict, and teaching job skills that people could use in the workplace. But, these days, it seems that the social goals are crossing moral and ethical lines, and are teaching things without a proper moral framework to guide them.
You’ll find also that our schools end up teaching what they are required to by law, and that those laws frequently change as a result of special interest groups and their influence on our congresspeople. In fact, many of these special interest groups are nothing more than big business, meaning that any law changes they influence, in their favor, is about helping to create better consumers for their products or services in the future, and are not about developing better citizens.
It is also argued that a good education, especially one that helps to provide good technical skills that can be used within the workplace, allows an increase in the average income that people get, and as incomes increase, the economy is improved, which allows for a more prosperous society that is better off, and has a higher standard of living. Although there seems to be little evidence for the connection between a better education and economic well-being, there does seem to be an inverse connection between ignorance, or lack of education, and similar lack of economic well-being.
With that being said, it can be asked how my education has helped socialize me as a member of my nation, state, and locality. Personally, I was raised at a Christian school, where they do still try to instill some Christian moral values, such as honesty, integrity, respect for the law, honoring authority, a good work ethic, valuing your fellow human being, and so forth – all coming out of the Christian Bible. I tend to think that if I was not taught Christian values, I would probably be either dead, in prison, or paying out the backside for child support or alimony or something. In this regard, I do think the Christian moral and social values that I was taught are good for society, and good for me and my family, and in this way my education has helped socialize me as a citizen of my locality, state, and nation, and much better than a public school could. I believe that it has taught me to be a better citizen, to contribute to society through meaningful work, taught me the importance of family relationships and community relationships, and the rational background behind our mode of government and our laws.
Just to help you understand the importance of teaching a good moral foundation to tomorrow’s leaders and workers, and how important it is to many people, I have a story to tell. Several years ago, my mother ran the front desk at the Christian school held at the church which she attended, and one of her duties was to show people around the school, people who were interested in sending their children there. One day, an Indian family (that is, emigrated from India) came to the school, wanting to be shown around. In the process of conversing with the family, my mother discovered that they were not even Christians, but were Hindu in religion. At this point, my mother told them that because this was a Christian school, that they taught Christian values and principles that they believed were found in our Bible. “Yes, we know.” stated the Indian man, “But, we want our children to have a good moral understanding, and they can’t get that in public schools.” That statement says a lot about our public education, and their lack of education of one of the most important things (morality) that needs to be taught to keep a stable, industrious, and neighborly society, which they seemed to understand two centuries ago when they passed the Northwest Ordinance, but don’t seem to understand now. We seem, these days, to allow our schools to be the indoctrination grounds of special interest groups and big business, using our students for social engineering experiments, when we really need to realize that the best way to understand education was the original way.
Another important aspect of my education was the history and social studies courses that I was required to take. I would argue that courses like this allow a student to become more aware of their surroundings, and understand the nature and mores of our society. It helps us know where we came from, how we got to the place we are now, as well as understand issues that encompass others in our society, such as the fate of Native Americans, the feelings of futility and animosity that still surround the African-American community because of injustices that have occurred to them, the reason why women vote now and how it got to that point, the development of our great nation from an original thirteen colonies, the building of the railroads and the settlement of the Midwest, and so many other things. This understanding of our past, from all angles, including the social angle, allows us to be better citizens, and to better help and understand those around us.
I also took English grammar and speaking classes while in junior and senior high school. This is another element that helps a person socialize within society. I don’t think that I would be able to voice my thoughts and ideas in such a way that they could be conveyed to others, and do it in as clear and concise a manner, if I hadn’t taken those classes. They also allow me to better understand others, when they are trying to do the same thing. And, we all know we need this ability if we are to better socialize with others around us. We know we need this if we have an issue and need to try to explain it to others so that they understand.
As I stated earlier, education is important in helping to get the generation in charge tomorrow to better socialize as a citizen of their nation, their state, and their locality. It not only gives them the ability to read and write, and do basic math, but allows them to do so much more these days. It gives them the ability to know what is needed to be a good citizen, who respects and obeys the law, who contributes to society through meaningful work, who pays their taxes, who cares about the well-being of others around them, and who stays out of trouble. It can also help them better socialize by being better able to convey their thoughts and ideas from themselves to others around them, and understand the thoughts of others. It helps them understand how they got to where they are now, and the issues in the lives of others. And, it should, although many times it doesn’t, instill a good moral foundation within the generation that will be leading society tomorrow.
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