Wednesday, May 9, 2018

History and Education

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin & culture is like a tree without roots.
M. Garvey
Alton Schoolhouse at Forest Park Museum
with teacher Leslie Wiles
      Last weekend was filled with Iowa history.  Karen & I visited the Alton Schoolhouse at the Forest Park Museum, in Perry, where Sue Leslie led the members of Nu Alpha Gamma Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma in unveiling a new audio exhibit on the adventure of learning in a one-room country schoolhouse.  Many of the stories related to the hardships during the Great Depression.  I remember my dad telling about eating lard and radish sandwiches.  One former pupil told of sneaking into the country schoolhouse with her brother during the summer so they could read books because they could not afford books at home.
  It was a vivid reminder of ingenuity, determination, sacrifice, and cooperation that was required to bring public education to rural Iowans.  It is also a poignant reminder of how important public education is to a democratic society, where our young people don't just learn facts, but social skills, critical thinking, and the value of working together to attain greater goals than we can alone.
with Don Harmelink

  Public school is the beginning of community.  If we allow public schools to be undermined by the notion that public money should follow students into private schools (whether through vouchers or otherwise), we threaten to stratify our society.  Public schools are especially integral to rural communities.  Online learning can impart knowledge, but learning to get along with one another requires human interaction and the loving guidance of dedicated teachers.


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