I’ve been a huge supporter of ongoing lifetime education. I take, on average, the equivalent of ten continuing education courses in a year along with time set aside for associated readings. I’m not just talking about continuing education for my profession. I’m not talking about the education available in our high schools, unfortunately, or even some undergraduate colleges.
I’m talking about curated broad-based education in history, humanities, science, public policy and more. I’m talking about gaining information and deeper understanding through channels other than social media and the evening news. My god, I’m even talking about reading important books!
Enlightened educators worldwide make this type of education freely available. My favorite platform is Coursera where I’ve dropped in on classes taught by the best minds in universities around the globe. Other platforms like Apple seem promising but I have less experience with them. I’ve taken between 25 and 30 non-credit courses through Coursera so far. Right now I’m enrolled in a certificate program, finishing up one course at University of Chicago next week. I start another program with University of Rhode Island (not through Coursera) this week for a short overlap.
I often find myself wishing that others had the same experience. I catch myself thinking, for example, if Donald Trump had read this particular book he wouldn’t be saying what he does. It is sad to know that he doesn’t read. Similarly, I often feel frustration dealing with public expressions of ignorance. Certainly if more people relied on peer-reviewed research (or were even more familiar with the concept of information integrity) then we wouldn’t be as vulnerable to fake news propaganda. It is disappointing to know that so many people have not even been exposed to the disciplines of critical thinking.
As we prepare to enter the darkest and scariest days of our lives and our nation’s evolution, cloaked in national ignorance and denial, my prayer is that more Americans embrace real education as a means to the truth and empowerment. We have no other viable choice but to cling to our beliefs of human decency, civility, and shared human virtue that exists within all, no matter how hidden or obscured.
Education is the tool to unlock our virtuous potential.
This is my prayer for America.