I am flying back from Geneva to DC. I have a long list of work I was going to do on the plane, a long list of various things to “think about” (I love to think in the air…). But, somehow, the personal video screen has kidnapped me. Somehow, I started to watch “Waiting for Superman.” It seemed the perfect movie to watch, as I have been thinking about education a lot lately.
My best friend is moving back to DC, and thinking about where she is going to live based on the school options; her daughter – and one of my goddaughters – is not even 3 years old. One of my sisters recently left Georgetown University after two years, without a degree. At 14, one of my future nephews is at an important turning point in his Swiss public school curriculum. Two weeks ago, one of my colleagues decided to leave DC (and Alchimie) and head back to Missouri because she was offered the chance to pursue an MBA for free. And, most vividly, my father told me yesterday, while we were talking about my 18 month old niece Sasha, that an adult’s responsibility in life is to teach his or her kids and grandkids about the world (in this case, he was teaching her about the elusive and temporary nature of snowflakes). Of course, over the last two years, I have also followed the rise and fall of DC ublic Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Somehow, however, I had missed this movie. Thank goodness for trans-Atlantic flights.
I don’t pretend to know anything about how we should educate our children; I certainly don’t pretend to know more than the thousands of professionals dedicated to education. I don’t even pretend to know if I would choose a public over a private over a charter school for my child. But, I do know that I agree with Bill Gates when he says that the economic success of the country, of a country, depends on the education of its people. I do know that education is a right, and should not be left up to chance or up to a lottery. I do know that parents should be involved in their children’s education. And I do know that my father (who was the first in his family to go to college, let alone obtain a medical degree) was right when he made me study when I didn’t want to; when he told me that As were the only option, not because he liked As, but because they would get me into college; when he told me that education was the most important thing in the world, and that especially for a girl, more degrees is always better. Thank goodness for Dad.