“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” This quote is attributed to Derek Bok, who was President of Harvard from 1971-1991. I haven’t researched Mr. Bok’s detailed intentions for this quote, but what it leads me to think about is the comparison of one’s life with an education versus one without that education. In this analysis, I would define ignorance as a lack of knowledge as a result of the lack of education.
I think this is a very appropriate quote for these times, because the “expense” of education is something that is being passionately discussed and dealt with across the country. The cost of education can be quickly assigned a dollar value, while the benefit of education is not as easily quantifiable (at least in the minds of those who typically get to make these budget decisions). State governments are trimming, slashing, and gouging education budgets (and other public services) from coast to coast. These cuts go far beyond employee compensation, and these reductions will negatively effect services and choices for students and their families.
While these cuts are being made, the word “reform” is thrown around to describe what lawmakers are doing. Does this reformation have an end product in mind? Is there a model system of education that these reformers are working toward? To me it looks like many of our elected officials don’t have a plan and don’t really care. They know that they don’t like what they are currently getting and are complacent with debilitating what is in place. Rather than working toward a robust and dynamic system of education, we might be forced to see what happens without a coordinated system at all.
I would hope this doesn’t occur, but it’s going to take more than my hope to get our leaders together to make a sensible plan to prepare all of our citizens for an unforeseeable future.