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BellaOnline's African American Culture Editor

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Education is More Than Knowledge...It is Power


I was taught that education was the key. However, I was also taught that knowledge gained was nothing unless it was applied and used correctly.

Education Is Power
With knowledge comes power. And, with that power is responsibility. An education can be gained through many facets: home, school, the street, life. It is what we do with what we have learned that will make a profound difference, not only in our own lives, but in the lives of those around us.

Whether you do something or do nothing; your choices have consequences. When you gain an education, and fill your life with knowledge; once it is applied, you will understand the power that you have to make changes…to make a difference.

Prisons are filled with men and women who have “education”. Some attained knowledge, but chose to apply that knowledge in such a way that it cost them their freedom. While others never bothered to apply their knowledge. So, now they sit behind a wall with iron bars; brilliant poets, writers, artists, and technical skills to match any free man or woman. Hopefully when their time is up, and they are free, they will not become a statistic of the high recidivism rate, but venture to apply their knowledge to a productive and legal life. And, perhaps school the younger generation on the difference between wise and poor choices.

New School Year
School will be back in sessions fairly soon; some beginning as early as next week. It is expected that approximately 50 million students will be in the public school system this year. Approximately 6 million students will be entering private schools. It is estimated that roughly $543 billion dollars will be spent towards their education.

Yet, it is till disparaging to know that in the Black and Hispanic communities, public schools are still not coming up to par. Although there was a drop in the rate of drop outs among Black and Hispanic students in 2009; the percentage was still notably higher than those of Caucasian students.

As a community, we must hit the ground running and not slow down when it comes to educating our children and given them a fighting chance. We cannot idly sit by and not be proactive in the educating of our children. Black and Hispanic communities must learn to fight for what is necessary for our children.

More Than an Education
Just an education is not enough. They need to learn what to do with the education they are receiving, and parents and communities must know the value and the depth of the education that their children are receiving.

It is not enough to send our children to school, and not know and understand what is going on in the classroom. We must fight for every student’s right to have an education that will enable them to go farther and make wise decisions concerning their life and future. We must place it in our children’s hearts and mind, that education is more than just knowledge, or learning something. It is power. It is the key that can unlock and open doors that they may never have known existed.

It is vitally important for every parent and guardian to know the curriculum that their child will be involved in. Know the teachers, the principle, and the assistants. Know the district that your school is in, and how much money has been allocated to that school district, and school specifically. Know who is in charge. Be present. Let the school know who you are, and that you are taking an active role in your child’s education…from prekindergarten to High School.

When You Expect More You get More
Go to any school district and make an assessment of the various schools. Note the differences between the schools that are excelling, and those that are barely making it. The attitude in each school is vastly different. Even the school administration and teachers will have a different attitude.

It is vitally important that the mindset of everyone is on the same path, and that it is understood that failure is not an option. It is sad to see that in poorer communities; where the schools are overcrowded, books outdated; that the moral of the administration and some teachers are quite loathing.

Education should open up doors and broaden horizons of each and every student. Not just some, but all students have a right to the very best education available. Billions of dollars are spent on education in America. Yet, many of our children in the Black and Hispanic communities are faring way beneath their counterparts.

Changing the Status Quo
It is vitally important that we take a stand for our children, and for anyone that seeks to have an education. There is power in an education. There is power when you apply what you have learned, and dare to make a difference. One person can make a difference.

School was my life. I lived to go to school. I dare not miss a day. I have an insatiable thirst and hunger for knowledge. But I know that unless I apply that knowledge; it is worthless. The difference and power comes when I use what I have gained to not only better my life, but my family and community’s life, as well.

There was a guidance counselor who once told me that I should not go to the University I applied to and was accepted into. She told me that my expectations were too high, considering where I came from. That set an even hotter fire in me; a determination to do and go farther, and to use what I learned to make a difference.

We have to fight for what we want. We have to continue to push past barriers and negativity and grab a hold of what is in front of us. We must learn to look past the obstacles, and shut out the naysayers. We must learn to teach our children that no matter what obstacles appear they do have the ability to overcome, and that there is a power that comes with an education. They just have to want it and never stop going after it.

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The Education Dichotomy of Black Life
U.S. Department of Education
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Content copyright © 2013 by Ruthe McDonald. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Ruthe McDonald. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Ruthe McDonald for details.

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