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I love it when Eckerd College president Donald Eastman writes an op-ed

Today in the Times:

From at least the time of Thomas Jefferson, education in this country was considered not simply a personal but a public good. When Jefferson said, "An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people," his countrymen believed it. When he called for "a system of general instruction, which shall reach every description of our citizens, from the richest to the poorest," they supported it.

Education, and in particular publicly supported education, was considered the indispensable foundation to a democracy. Anything less supported the view — widely held in Jefferson's day — that a monarchy was the only competent form of government and that public education was not only unnecessary but a sure cause of turmoil among the governed.

It was Scotsman John Knox, the fiery, troublesome Presbyterian clergyman and rabble-rouser who, in the spirit of the Protestant Reformation as it threw off the monarch-like hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, helped establish the first public schools in modern history. The Presbyterian Scots developed the finest schools and colleges in the world, and many of its students and ideas made their way to America and taught, among others, Thomas Jefferson. Those ideas and values showed up in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.

Never in the history of the Republic has this fundamental, formative commitment to education, particularly public education, as a public (not simply private) good been more under attack than over the past decade. With respect to public education, we have lost our historical and our moral moorings. Florida's recently concluded legislative session did little to reverse this sad trajectory of divesting in public education. Read it all.

[Last modified: Friday, May 16, 2014 3:33pm]


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