Education: One Key to Keeping Dr. King’s Dream Alive

King

As we observe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, most people think of his famous I Have a Dream speech, and well they should. It was brilliant, inspiring, and timeless. But part of Dr. King’s dream also recognized the importance of education, believing that an educated society is a key not only to freedom, but to advancement–for all Americans. At the tender age of 18 he wrote about what he called a “true” education:

Dr. King's Dream

The strength of our nation depends on an educated society—a society whose citizens are intellectually curious and who possess the ability to read and think critically.  A truly educated society, however, must also exercise good character and integrity.

Character Matters

Dr. King recognized that simply having a strong command of subject matter doesn’t serve the common good. A mind can be filled with facts and information. However, unless knowledge is coupled with a genuine desire to help others, that knowledge does little good. In fact, it can be quite the opposite:

Dr. King's Dream

 

Keeping Dr. King’s Dream Alive through Education

Entire books could be written about how we can activate Dr. King’s instruction on education. However, here are a few things teachers, parents, students, and community members can do to keep his dream alive:

  • Let’s use our knowledge to positively impact the lives of others–to serve the greater good.
  • We must help our youth to build a solid core of ethics and integrity—an inner compass.
  • Do the right thing even when no one else is looking.

The list of things we as a society can do is endless. It may feel overwhelming, but the important thing is to start somewhere. Start small, and start today. Together, on this special day of remembrance, we can keep Dr. King’s dream alive.

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About the Author: Dr. Roberta Ross-Fisher has expertise in higher education quality assurance, educator preparation, and competency-based education. A former public school teacher and college administrator, Roberta is now an educational consultant specializing in the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). 

Twitter: @RRossFisher

Email: globaleducationalconsulting@gmail.com 

 

Top Graphic Credit: WordPress

A True Education

Dr. King

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

This philosophy as articulated so eloquently by Dr. King should steer the mission and vision of every P-12 and higher education institution in our nation, whether it be public, private, charter, or homeschool. The strength of our nation depends on an educated society—a society whose citizens are intellectually curious and who possess the ability to read and think critically.

Many years ago, I heard a pastor say, “You have to be able to separate the grass from the weeds.” This is the essence of critical reading and critical thinking: being able to comprehend, analyze, and evaluate what one is hearing and reading, and then drawing well-informed conclusions that perpetuate a solid body of knowledge that we can rely on.

However, as Dr. King cautioned us, simply having this ability is not enough—it’s what we do with it that’s important. That’s where character comes in, because simply being smart or informed doesn’t mean we are educated—we must use our knowledge to positively impact the lives of others–to serve the greater good. This requires a solid core of ethics and integrity—an inner compass. It requires being a person of your word so that others can count on you. It requires you to do the right thing even when no one else is looking. It mandates that we take a different path, even when it may be lonely or unpopular. Learning builds our brain, but character builds our core. When coupled together, the result is an individual who is a lifelong learner, who carefully considers and reflects, and one who uses his or her knowledge to make the world a better place.

I challenge every educator (teacher, school leader, paraprofessional, parent, curriculum director, etc.) to take a moment to seriously reflect and consider: Where does YOUR school fit on this continuum of academic excellence? Are you contributing to providing your students with a true education, as defined by Dr. King? If not, why not? What is holding you back? What would you need to light this match and make it happen? Make a commitment and get started. Today.

–rrf

 

Dr. Roberta Ross-Fisher is a national leader in educator preparation, accreditation, online learning, and academic quality assurance. An accomplished presenter, writer, and educator, she currently supports higher education, P-12 schools, and non-profit agencies in areas such as competency-based education, new program design, gap analysis, quality assurance, leadership, outcomes-based assessment, and accreditation through her company, Global Educational Consulting, LLC. She also writes about academic excellence and can be contacted for consultations through her blog site (www.robertarossfisher.com).