“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Martin Luther King Jr. knew that freedom could only be demanded with the self-realization of oppression. To seek freedom, you need to realize you are not. You need to be equipped with the knowledge to fight. A fight fought with words, voices a unity.
Who are we? We are the growing whispers when voices around are muted. We are the actions executed when a lack of educational freedom paralyzes. We are the essence of Martin Luther King Jr. We are the presence of Geronimo fighting for the Apaches; we are the melodies of Bob Marley. We are Freedom.
In the United States, education is largely determined by your residential address at age four. Your teachers are chosen for you by a district, which, decided in dollars, how important education within that community. Classes offered are not a product of what a child wants or what individuals dream. Classes are not even a product of a community’s cross-section, or what clusters of children wish to academically equip themselves with. Classes are the product of state laws, federal laws, and subjects, which support a “No Child Left Behind” framework.
In our history, influential visionaries have preached about the importance of freedom. Franklin D. Roosevelt understood and could articulate, “True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” In 2015, we would hope societal advances would yield Roosevelt’s dreams, yet what we have is the occurrence of his fears. Too many of our students do not have the bare necessities, which enables freedom to be pursued. Learning to find your purpose (your NaMaYa) and learning to discover your talents and dreams is every child’s right. This cannot be further from the realities in which children are faced with today. Wouldn’t it be nice if dreams could be set and followed with mentors who taught to a child’s interests? Teachers those are equipped with the skills and opportunities to be part of the dreams, not just a puppet being pulled by the strings of bureaucracy. We talk about child slavery as a marked injustice against freedom.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of a slave is “A person who works very hard without proper remuneration or appreciation.” We stand judging China, who enlists children in sweatshops. Yes, China places children in an environment where they are forced to work without payment, bullying children to adhere to the rules set before them without any options to pursue individual choice. The questions that we want to be answered are; do our current educational approaches fundamental differ so much? Children don’t want to be in sweatshops. Children don’t want to be in schools. Freedom to pursue knowledge is absent in sweatshops. Freedom to learn is absent in schools. Payment is neglected in sweatshops. Individual appreciation and recognition for strengths is neglected in schools. Is it too difficult to educate in a way that fosters freedom so informed choice can transform societal injustices? Schools should not feel like a 13-year sentence.
Governments are providing 10-20 thousand dollars a year investing in each child. Can this money be utilized with some freedom to pursue individual choice within a curriculum? We are victimizing slavery systems in hundreds of countries overseas, yet our own education victims are sitting in our own factory farms being enlisted to pass multiple-choice tests. This is our multiple-choice question for you.
What is the greatest achievement you would like to see your child by the end of 2nd grade?
a. To be able to recognize a vowel in a sentence
b. To be able to roll two dice and find the sum
c. To be able to read the sentence “I go to school to learn”
d. To have a child who is inspired to learn.
Bob Marley, one of the greatest lyricists to grace our ears once said “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” Education is the key to unshackling our minds! Freedom can be grasped with an educated mind. The preaching’s of societal injustices are no use if we do not start with the underlying foundations. That foundation is education. Let’s educate every youth so that they are informed to walk along the path of freedom. They are informed to stride past racial and socioeconomic persecution, which, in turn fuels academic oppression.
Life is not a multiple-choice question. Exams and tests should never have the boundaries of a. b. c. and d. The overall result will be F every time.