I have finally come to a very simple, poignant and strong belief. Money is the be-all in education. This is not something that I am proud or happy to admit. In fact, this conclusion brings on me great depression, despair and a little bit of loss of my own humanity. Unfortunately, just like the rest of society, especially in a capitalistic society, money rules the world. There is no way around it. Money finances our schools, what we teach, how we teach it, and who gets to teach it. From the technology that is used to the advancements in experiments, field trips and even school events, money is involved everywhere. It seems, as though it is often, inescapable, as everything we want to do, in and around education costs money. What is the most disheartening, however, is that money is tied, without any cut in the string, directly to what we teach, how we teach and most specifically, what students “learn.”
However, there is good news. Money has not gotten into our brains (at least not yet). We are still able to think, think individually, critically, with self-expression and with an understanding of who we are and what we hope to accomplish. We still have the ability to have an imagination and to be creative and innovative. It was once said by Picasso, “If you can dream it, it is real,” and this is something that money has not bought, at least not yet. We still have one glimmer of hope. What is this hope, you ask? We must have the conviction to shift the educational paradigm to directly using money as the vehicle, but do so without any conditions. I am a firm believer that education can be obtained, without any schooling at all, but I also understand the reality in the time in which we live, a time in which education is clearly defined by buildings, classrooms, and community of people. However, what must shift in our society is an emphasis on education, as the most important element of our society, and not simply as lip service, designed to keep the large majority of the public silent until the next election outcomes are concluded.
Politicians, educators, economists, parents, teachers, administrators, and staff members talk a great deal about money in education and the need for it to be funded – but what is rarely suggested is that it must not just be funded, but funded as the #1 economic component of our economy. I would argue that even above health care and far more than the military, education is what will save our democracy and without it, and with its continual decline, all other services become weakened and ineffective, eventually leading to the collapse of the empire. However, it’s not just the funding of education that needs this dramatic shift, but the condition of NO CONDITIONS must be attached to those funds. The schools, the administrators, the teachers, must all be liberated, to teach, advice, and work without an attachment to “earning” a certain amount. Education can no longer be a conditional element of our society; it must be the heartbeat of it. I suggest to you, that taking any less approach than this, is denying the reality of the system in which you are participating in and, unfortunately, you are only making incremental dents in an iceberg the size of Greenland.
Listen up! Teachers are NOT the problem. Administrators are NOT the problem. Parents are NOT the problem. Students are NOT the problem. Staff members are NOT the problem. The School District is NOT the problem. Even the Department of Education is NOT the problem. The only problem is the belief that in order for an educational system to exist, which learning is involved, is that it must be proved through an arbitrary move, that the system will benefit society in a capitalistic way which will provide a value in future earnings or expanse of the economic system. Fortunately, or Unfortunately, learning does not fall into this line of thinking, it does not work in this system, so in order to make it fit, money must be the lynch pin (or fall guy), which proves the belief to be true.
Unless we fund education, as the most important element of our society, while simultaneously transforming and shifting the paradigm of education to eliminate and erase economic conditionals, which attach themselves as a cancer to critical, creative and innovative thinking, then we are doomed, not only for the individual and collective liberty of our children and their future, but also, for our empire as a whole. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The exact thing which accelerates our economic, capitalistic growth the most (new ideas), is the exact thing that we are training out of our youth. Ask yourself this one question: As long as money is tied to determining the worth of a child, the extraction and determination of their learning, do you see our educational system dramatically improving at any time? I know my answer, what’s yours?