I heard the book “Where Good Ideas Come From” on my road trip today and it proves, without a doubt, that public education in the United States is the best institution to foster creative innovations that can improve global economies, technology, poverty issues, children’s hunger, etc.
There are big issues with the public education system, like white flight, lack of nutritional school meals, social conflicts between racial and ethnic groups, not working toward social inclusion and against segregation. In my lifetime, I witnessed how public housing and gated communities have created a divide between school-age students that omit the other group by default.
I moved my children from a large socially divided city to a town on the U.S./Mexico border. My son did not see why I had done this. My daughter made the move before we did to join family members there. I explained that they (my kids) would live in a very diverse community. They would live among the rich and the poor, the educated and the unschooled, the cops and the robbers, city folk and country folk, in an international setting where local, state and federal laws are quite different on both sides of the border. When my kids traveled the world, served in the military, learned additional languages and became global citizens, they got it.
Young people from this very diverse community can be found all over the world doing amazing things and contributing to society in creative, innovative ways and in at least two languages. Most attended the public school system. Many teachers in the system became part of the community, were actively involved with parents and the community, and some traveled more than 150 miles every school day because parents, administrators and the community supported the public education system.
In Steven Johnson’s book, he speaks of communities that incubate creativity and innovation. I believe that the United States, and this blog, have to help the public school systems get back there…again.
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