T. Paine and Education

One of my favorite quotes of all times comes from Thomas Paine the Revolutionary War Pump-Up-Speech-Master:

from mediavisions.com

Not T.Pain the rapper:

from idolater.com


In “The Crisis #1,” Thomas Paine writes, “What we obtain to cheaply we esteem too light. It is dearness only that gives everything its value.”

While the meaning of this quote proves widely applicable–dating, school work, athletics, promotions, the list goes on– I think it is very interesting when applied to the current American education system.

Our students in the public school system get education for free, and now we have to force many of them to attend school. In Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson tells of children walking miles to do math problems and write in the dirt because education there was nearly impossible to come by.

Are we doing American students a disservice by making education “free”? Do we de-value education by forcing it upon our students? Are teachers less valued because of this system?

What about the difference between private and public school? Having taught in both, I can say that the teachers at both schools are very similar. The quality of education provided (if taken advantage of) can be equally rigorous. And yet, some people persist in the belief that private school is “better” than public. Could that mindset come from the fact that public school is “free” while private school can be very expensive?

How can we make education more “dear” to our learners? To our society?

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