These are the questions raised in recent conversations with people in my community, people who are leaders, philanthropists, business owners, and parents. People who are concerned about food insecurity, poverty, health (and health care) in our midst. People who wonder why education seems to make so many of us less concerned, less willing to help, and less aware.
My response at the time was that we have, perhaps, forgotten the purpose and value of education. I've given it a bit of thought over the past few days and I have no better answer, though I have found others with more eloquence:
At their core, schools should prepare people to be constructive citizens. A part of that is the building of a common base of civic, cultural, social and political knowledge. (The Jackson Herald in an editorial.)
Public schools are an instrument of democracy to the extent that they maintain a vital connection with families and their community. (Education historian, Diane Ravitch in her blog.)Perhaps it matters to be competitive in a global environment, but not at the expense of being connected and constructive citizens of the community around us.