Income/wealth inequality, climate change/environment (the quality of water, air, and nature), and jobs/education are the some of the most important issues of our time.
Jobs/meaningful jobs are essential in creating stable and thriving community. It gives dignity, pride, independence, and positive outlook. The first question is where are the jobs coming from? What kind of jobs are available? Could I create my own jobs? Who and what is creating the jobs? What are the nature of the jobs? The next question, then, becomes how do I prepare myself to get or to create the jobs?
The whole world is grappling with the issue of well-paying quality jobs in big enough numbers to fully employ people who want a job. France has been cutting working hours to give employment to more number of people. In the U.S.A., black youth unemployment/underemployment rate is 51%, and we are witnessing the devastating effects everyday. This devastating and depressing jobs problem in black youth makes it obvious that it is not just individual-level problem; it is a national-level policy problem. At the same time, it requires grassroots movements to make the issue very clear and to emphasize the urgency of it. It is going to take time but the world needs bottom up surge to move forward, and, in fact, it is true of most of the issues we face, now.
This grassroots surge starts with each one of us and the community we belong to. There is the need to find out and discuss the trend in jobs market, including the many career choices out there. Community level dialogue and awareness are a must for the community to upgrade, and without community level responsibility, there would be left a barren ugliness. It is a sign of the maturity of a community whether a community can come together or not. If there is no mature community, that is the end of the story. There is nothing to tell. Nothing can grow on it.
Here comes the importance of education. It is a complex topic with many moving parts. I'd like to quote a couple of articles which nicely sums up the essence of education. William Deresiewicz, Sept./2015, Harper's magazine: "'The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.' Thinking clearly, it wants us to recognize, leads to thinking independently, Thinking independently leads to living confidently. Living confidently leads to living courageously. Living courageously leads to living hopefully. And the entire chain begins with a college that recognizes it has an obligation to develop their abilities to think and live."
Another quote is from New York Times, 9/22/15, op-Ed page: "Academic life is inherently social. Focusing solely on grades or graduation rates obscure that fact." One more interesting quote is that "Talent is universal, but the opportunity is not." I agree wholeheartedly with the authors. They point out the essential base of education. After this essential base is established, the other many moving parts of education come into play to help guide the next generation toward well-being and fulfilled life, including national education policy.
There are a lot to think about, to communicate, and to share for the community we belong.