Ed: Education. It’s a weighty topic. And, it would be easy to sit back and take pot shots at the education system. But, we here at the View Looks Good from Here, Fresno choose not to do that. Instead, we would like to celebrate educators and the education system. They face immense challenges and more than make due. From elementary to university, it seems like schools are operating on a shoestring budget. Priorities seem scrambled at times, but maybe we’re just not aware of the whole situation. Perhaps we are taking it easy on education because we both have worked in educational institutions in various capacities. Or, maybe we just like to look at the sunny side of life. Maybe it is due to the fact that we had relatively good educational experiences. Whatever the reason, we’re not here to criticize. So what do we want to talk about Adam?
Adam: Our educational system is shit! The whole system is bunk and in need of a massive overhaul! Just so we're clear, those are potshots, not criticisms (I'd probably know that a potshot is a criticism if it weren't for my public education). I kid, I kid. No really, I have baby goats. But now I'm way off track; like kids on a year round schedule. No, real kids, not baby goats. Remember year round schedule? Those were the good old days when your parents had to negotiate to get you on the same track as your siblings so that the whole family could take a vacation together; in February. But let's be serious for a moment. Ed, what's your favorite syllable in the word education?
Ed: I went to a year round school, and I turned out fine. My favorite syllable in education is the first one. I'm curious about learning, and not just from an educational standpoint. How do we test the information we're given? I remember a Rage Against the Machine song that started with the line, "The classroom is the last room to get the truth." Now, obviously that is a very jaded perspective. Or perhaps it's a very honest one. How do we decide what is the truth about the information we receive? I mean, obviously I accept everything that is in the Undercurrent as gospel, but what about the Bee? Are they educating me about the world around me with truth or is it something a little less?
Adam: Well now you're charting in new waters! I'd argue that news media is less about education and more about the creation and dispersal of information. I suppose in a broad sense you could call it education in that it may still have a formative effect but I think that it's not nearly as intentional as something like schooling or parenting. To put it another way, how one interprets and applies the information given by the newspaper or nightly broadcast would be informed by one's education and previous understanding of the world. But this is all semantics. You know you can't trust the Undercurrent to get it right. They let us write for them!
Ed: Touche, my friend. I bring up the news industry as a source of information/education because I read a recent opinion column that was filled with verifiable facts about an issue that was also calling into question the handling of the issue by another news source. It intrigued me, the idea that one source was essentially saying, "You're right about the issue, but you're not telling the whole story." It's this sort of thing that brings me to the point where I believe that newspapers/stations have become the de facto educators for a large portion of society. Should we challenge this, and if so, how?
Adam: I don’t think we should challenge it. I think we should foment it. We should build on it. This is not to say that I believe news media should be the sole source for educational material but more people, in more places should be engaging in open dialogue with one another; hearing another side and being open to the idea that the ideas we hold about the world may in fact be wrong. If that comes by way of a newspaper, then so be it. In fact, I don’t believe that enough news sources are actively engaging in sharing a balanced perspective. But then again, I’m a commie socialist as Glenn Beck might suggest and I think that too many news sources are inclined to make money on the capitalist model more than they are inclined to inform a social ethic or morality. Who cares about the long term when you can make millions misinforming the short term?