Education Matters: Why the sky isn’t falling
by Bart Moss, community columnist
When you have two children I guess it is only natural to ponder the world in which they are growing up in and the world they will inherit. Every generation, it seems, stretches what seems to be culturally and morally acceptable. Every generation has its social and political events that make one believe the world is coming to an end. It was that way when I was growing up. It was that way when my parents were growing up. It just seems that those things are expanding with greater and greater speed with each passing day.
When my Mom and Dad were growing up in the 1950s and 1960s it was Elvis Presley and gyrations that made parents blush and teens scream. Television was in its infancy. Parents knew only an era of reading and gathering around a radio to listen to live programs. But television, it was the devil. Whole rooms were being arranged around it. People began to just sit and watch.
They grew up with the expanding threat of Communism and the Soviet Union and nuclear war. They endured radical social change with desegregation and the growing drug and free sex culture of Woodstock. They watched as leader after leader was cut down with bullets from John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert to Martin Luther King. It seemed the world was falling apart around them.
My generation grew up in the 1970s and 1980s. Fresh off the 1960s counterculture movement was a growing distrust in government with the Vietnam War and the impeachment of Richard Nixon over Watergate. Oil embargoes were causing gas lines all over the United States. Iranian revolutionaries took American citizens hostage for over a year; the same revolutionaries in charge in Iran today. Interest rates were in the double digits and people, including my parents, wondered about the future of their children.
The moral limits were stretched even further. Along came Madonna and Prince who made Elvis look like a choirboy. My mom, a huge Elvis fan, confiscated my Prince Purple Rain cassette tape because of the lyrics it contained—lyrics that are tame by today’s standards. There was no Internet yet but the personal computer was growing in popularity. My parents bought me a Commodore 64 (which I still have, by the way).
The day my niece was born in 2001, the first of what would be my parents six grandchildren, Islamic terrorists flew two passenger jets into the World Trade Center in New York, one into the Pentagon, and another, seemingly meant for the White House or Capitol crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. It was a day that changed a generation, like Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy assassination. That act sparked a decade a war and financial turmoil that would eventually usher in the first black president in Barack Obama.
Today, under Mr. Obama, Islamic terrorism is on the rise throughout the Middle East, Russia is doing their best under Vladimir Putin to reconstitute the old Soviet Union, our government is letting old dictatorial regimes off the hook such as Castro’s Cuba and the Ayatollahs of Iran. China is rising and its economy has outpaced that of America’s. The homosexual lifestyle is becoming an acceptable way of life; television and the Internet can take you to dark places never before imagined.
I am not going to be like other generations and say all of this means the world is coming to an end. I believe the Bible when it says that no man knows nor can any man predict. Two of my favorite books of the Bible are Proverbs and Ecclesiastes because they impart very practical advice that is applicable today as it was thousands of years ago. They are written as a teacher talking to students. My favorite verses from those two books come at the very end of Ecclesiastes where after the teacher is explaining that everything is meaningless and makes little sense, he gives this final piece of advice:
13 “Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 “For God will bring every deed into judgement,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.”
Education Quote of the Week: “The way to get started is to get doing.” – Walt Disney
Education Stat of the Week: According to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, 29.6% of Russellville City school graduates of the Class of 2014 who entered college last Fall had to take remediation courses in Math, English or both. In the Franklin County school system that number was 42.1%. The state average is 32.1%.