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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 6/18/15

First Thoughts on Education and South Carolina

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Today I am happy to return to OEN as volunteer Education editor. It's an important site for creating and encouraging open dialogue, providing and seeking information. For the free exchange of ideas. And I am proud to be back.

My first post in a long time, my thoughts on education today run only to events in Charleston and how education, and the understanding it brings, must be a bigger part of the national conversation around these events.

Education teaches us why some lack opportunity, others seem to have it thrown at them, how wealth is created, and where it tends to go.

Education frees us from our fears. Fear of ideas. Fear of the unfamiliar. Fear of folks who don't look exactly like us.

mourning another mass killing
mourning another mass killing
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An educated person would not believe that black people are 'raping our women' or 'destroying our country.' An educated person would know where such ugly ideas come from.

But we have become a culture that mocks intellectual pursuits, praises and elects politicians who see teachers as lazy, university professors as over-paid elitists. And therefore embraces ignorance and fear. As we started down this path about 30 years ago, limiting economic opportunity, crushing the middle class, under-funding education at all levels, where did we imagine we would wind up? Add to that toxic mix easy access to guns, and I wonder what, as a culture, we imagined we were doing.

In this space we will be talking more and more about education, and I will be encouraging us all to seriously press our politicians into action on education--particularly the ones seeking the presidency. As Tim Wise, so widely quoted today, boldly reminds us, "This is your nation on white supremacy," I remind us that such prejudice especially thrives absent education.

(Article changed on June 19, 2015 at 07:48)

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Kellie Bean has been a Professor of English at Marshall University, an Associate Dean of Liberal Arts, and most recently, Provost of a small New England College. Author of "Post-Backlash Feminism: Women and the Media Since Reagan/Bush" (McFarland (more...)

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