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Concerning Education


WHEN I think of the 70,000 students in High Schools in the State of Nebraska, I wonder what part education plays in their ambitions. What ends does education hold out to them? Is it a means to wealth, or power, or fame, or something else? Just what does an education mean to them?

Why should a person seek an education ?  Should everybody aspire to a college course?  So many questions could be asked!

Well, let us see.

To educate (e-ducere) is to "lead out" one's talents. So far as the word goes, it may refer to mental or manual development. Both may be involved. It is not a process of filling an empty vessel, and no one can become educated if he begins with an empty head and a helpless hand. Nothing but a machine can be produced on this basis.

In a sense, education is a process of adjusting one's inner self to outward conditions. But here again, we must not overlook the fact that outward conditions involve other people as well as objects, and ideas as well as things. All of our training, however it is acquired, which tends to orient us in our lives is an educational process.

It becomes evident that only a small part of one's education comes from his formal schooling. The biggest and best classroom is life itself, and it is distinctly possible that a man who has never entered a college may prove himself superior to one from college halls, and may even beat him at his own game.

Upon the other hand, the difficulties of attaining an education are much greater without schooling than with it. School is a process of being exposed to incubating influences which develop us. and prompt us to use and to enlarge our inherent tal-ents. It is a scheme for surrounding us with those conditions and forces which encourage our growth and expansion. It should put us into a more effective relationship to our environment, and help us to establish higher ideals. It should assist us in realizing our ambitions.

It follows logically enough that, if this definition is accepted for education, everybody should get all he can of it. As to what kind of education one seeks, that is a different matter.

It Is evident to any observer that many men succeed, with only the least of schooling. These men are able to find in other processes the required interpretations of business, of people, and of things. They are not uneducated, but are self-educated. This type of education is very likely to be somewhat unbalanced, and even very limited in many respects. It does not often result in a broad-minded person, or one with wide interests, though there are notable exceptions to this.

Schooling, if subjects are well chosen, can enlarge one's horizon beyond that of any other influence. Study is like going up in Professor Piccard's stratosphere—up, and up. and up. till all records for altitude are broken, and the view reaches to unbelievable distances; even till the drabness and the matter-of-factness of the dingy old world is all but lost in a topaz which glorifies the scene beyond description.

The ends sought in schooling may be very specific and yet may include a breadth of training which leads to a full life. It is not necessary that a physicist be unacquainted with literature, or that an engineer be ignorant in the field of philosophy. What a man develops of his interest and capacities is largely a matter of his own personal and definite choice, and continued application—largely, too, a matter of his determination to expand his personality. Also it is affected by his will to play his full part in a world that is far from simple.

Many high school students feel that such times as these are bad ones in which to go to school. We hear not infrequently, "going to college will not get you a job!" Well. what of it? Will staying at home get you one today? We are already climbing out of the hollow, and what of tomorrow?

But. important as jobs ar, I cannot let the argument rest on them alone. Ask yourself this question—"Do I know enough to take an intelligent place in helping to solve present-day problems?" Remember that the safety of a democracy rests upon the education of its people. If you wish to do your part, lay the best educational plans you can, from now on till you die! For the immediate future, if you feel that you are fitted for a college course, make up your mind that there is nothing which can keep you from getting it.