Change through understanding, understanding through education reform

Home Opinion Op-Ed Change through understanding, understanding through education reform
Change through understanding, understanding through education reform

Dear Mr. President,

Despite the fact that this letter will undoubtedly be scanned by a plethora of eyes that belong to everyone in the District of Colombia but you, I have unjustifiable yet boundless hope that it will find your particular set eventually, as I am writing to you from the perspective of a proud American with a sharp mind, an able hand, and a passionate heart.

I understand that you are inconceivably busy, but as someone who shares your desire to change the world for the better, I would be forever grateful if you would humor my temporary level of superimposed vanity by allowing me to believe that I, a blue-eyed, glasses-clad, backpack-wearing architecture student from New Jersey, can help you help our country, if you would be so kind as to allow me to take another minute of your time (please):

As an American, freedom is something often expressed without hesitation, thought, or fear of consequence. Freedom is something to which current occupants living within America’s borders feel entitled, yet have largely never earned. Americans were granted this right, or rather this series of rights, by men with a vision for the betterment of humanity—a vision to form a more perfect Union than had ever existed in the known world before them. These men sacrificed their lives so that humankind thereafter could live free from predisposed judgement, intolerance, and persecution in a country that would serve as an international safe-haven by establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty.

Although the physical embodiment of America today is nothing like the country established by our founding fathers, despite these differences, the problems of ubiquity that necessitated its initial principles of governance have never been more applicable than they are today. These problems, instances of religious and racial intolerance, are embedded in American history, yet have been forgotten by the American populace.

We, the people of the United States, have become so out of touch with the principles of our nation’s founding that we have allowed our characterization as the melting pot of nations to overshadow our existence as a united entity. When I look around, I see a nation that is more beautifully diverse than any other geographic region on the planet, but I also see a nation disjointed by violence derived from a lack of knowledge and genuine understanding. For better or for worse, I believe that people are inherently good, and that everyone is merely a result of their surroundings. Here lies the answer.

Although the diversity of surroundings regarding levels of influence within the borders of our vast country seems daunting, one thing is consistent: mandated K-12 education. Although I am fully aware of the differences in educational systems from north to south and east to west as far as successes, failures, and the desired right to teach everything from creationism, to evolution, to spaghetti-monster-ism, I think that education reform is the first step to avoiding future intolerance by teaching the beauty of diversity so that we can combat the future with grace, rather than allowing the tragedies of our past to dictate our present.

With Gratitude, Respect, and Hope,
Robin Hanrahan

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