- Jonathan Wilson is Des Moines’ lawyer.
- He was on the Des Moines School Board from 1983 to 1995.
They say we don’t know what we don’t know. It’s hard to argue with that. They also say that what you do not know, you will not teach. This is also hard to argue with. And the combination of these two statements explains how civilization is transforming and, in effect, drowning out citizens.
Who benefits? The advantage of those who find it easier to manipulate citizens. And, in addition to this, the victims of this stun do not realize that they have thus become victims, which goes back to the axiom that you do not know what you do not know. Unstudied history; unlearned facts; untrained sciences: untrained skills of critical thinking; untrained responsibility citizenship in a democracy.
The very basis of the preserved, existing democratic form of self-government is based on avoiding this transfer of power. Quality, free, public education is key, and we in the United States have had neither for decades. By underfunding public education, we affect both the quality and the free part. At first I ran for the school board because I then assumed that public schools were not funded; it was 1983!
Read more:Opinion: Increase confidence in police activities through accreditation
Read more:Opinion: An omission that stains Borlow’s legacy
Funding for public education has not improved in almost four decades since I had this, unfortunately, clear idea. Funding for public education has even benefited from the transfer of money to private schools – it’s like subsidizing people who set up private pools because they don’t want their kids to swim in a public pool and then they don’t care a bit about the quality of public pools in their community.
As for the free part, free public education was not a fact in 1983, and not now in 2022. My children pay huge money for the educational opportunities available to my five grandchildren, for a fee. Those with more limited resources are denied these opportunities. My grandchildren will be fine, but we all pay a non-monetized price when in our daily lives we have to interact with ignorant, stupid people who have been denied what they do not know but could be taught. There is also a monetized part: we trade investments in quality public schools for the cost of maintaining an expanded prison system.
Read more:Des Moines Public Schools May Need to Cut Budget by $ 9.4 Million by Next School Year
Read more:That’s how much Iowa schools get after Kim Reynolds signs the school funding bill
School boards in this country are being attacked more than ever by those who do not want to teach awkward history, read books awkwardly, develop critical thinking skills or do not want to teach basic civil law. An attack by those who fell victim to the stunning of the transfer of power.
The next time you talk to someone that doesn’t make much sense, be sure to ask yourself, “How and what did I do in the ballot box or otherwise to support proper funding for free, quality public schools?” The less you have done in response to this introspective question, the more you blame yourself for the unsatisfactory, frustrating interaction you have just experienced. The same goes for the unsatisfactory, disappointing election results.
The dead do make a deal with the living: learn from what you have learned, learn from the mistakes of your predecessors, learn ways to eliminate those mistakes for the common good, and learn in this way. You will also die and you want to demand this pact with those who will live after you. And you want to claim a preserved, functioning democratic form of self-government for the sake of your descendants.
Jonathan Wilson is Des Moines’ lawyer.