Commentary: Invest in education: the catalyst for change

Commentary: Invest in education: the catalyst for change
September 08
07:00 2016

James Ewers Jr.

Guest Columnist

It is safe to say that school has started in almost every city in America. As my Jamaican dad would say, “Jimmy me boy, your free paper has burned.” In other words, your summer vacation is over and school has begun.

The stores have provided the latest in school fashions for some months now. However, there are a number of school systems across the country that now have their students in uniforms. Those in favor of uniforms say that it saves parents money and it places less peer pressure on students.  Every store has some type of back-to-school special. Electronics top almost everyone’s list of must-have items. After all, a student today can’t go back to school without a tablet, a cell phone or a personal computer. Whatever happened to pens, pencils, paper and crayons?

Teachers are also getting back into the swing of things. They have prepared their rooms with great care making them look inviting and warm. Teachers influence and shape the minds of our students. That is a high calling!

I believe teachers have some of the most powerful positions in the country. Every successful person can always point to a teacher who provided them with motivation and inspiration. There is truly a correlation between the education system of a country and the strength of a country.

All students at all levels have equal excitement and eagerness. Students from elementary school to college must understand and accept the serious nature of school. The competition starts early and will only get more intense.

Don’t let it scare you. In fact, have fun with it. Learning new material at any point in your life is always a good thing.

Having a solid education will help you in your future endeavors. This is what many of us know not what we think.

Speaking clearly, having your subjects and your verbs agree will always get you a seat at the decision-making table.

If you use a cell phone as most students do, there is a text speak that you use. My strong advice to you as a future leader is not to write and text the same way.

When I reflect back upon some of my “school days,” there are several things that come to mind. First, I remember how big my elementary school was. It was probably so big because we were so small. I am sure that it is the same for younger students today. High school was probably a coming of age experience for me.  Changing classes, having different teachers and taking part in clubs and organizations were all new to me.

Walking home from high school, my friends and I would always hear the adults ask about our day in school and how much homework did we have. I will simply say we always had homework in high school. Homework was a dreaded work yet a necessary work and it paid off in the end.

While many of us have children that have graduated from high school and gone on to post high school opportunities, we must still support public education. As we move forward, I do hope that more young people choose teaching as a career. They will become change agents in the lives of students.

As parents, grandparents and love providers, let us encourage and support our children. Let us give them the boost of hope and help that they need. Let us value education in our homes. As I reflect back now, everyone in my neighborhood in East Winston in Winston-Salem, N.C., placed a high value on education. My neighborhood was diverse educationally yet rich in wisdom and common sense.

Education is still the catalyst for change that it has always been. The investment that we make in it will always pay dividends.

James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is formerly from Winston-Salem. He is a retired college administrator.

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