Not only are we spending an unprecedented amount of money on wars, we spend much of our time focusing on wars.
I have my Google homepage set up with the New York Times front page headlines in one column and the Guardian headlines in the next column. The difference between the two sets of headlines is quite telling.
The Times first three articles are usually about wars in some part of the world. On most days, it’s at least two out of the three lead articles. The Guardian yesterday led with green house gas emissions and the Fifa controversy. The NY Times has not headlined the fact of increased gas emissions on Google. The Guardian sometimes has a headline about fighting somewhere but it is not a usual lead item.
This is not a scientific study that I have made, simply an observation.
This morning I read Dr. Ravitch’s Op-ed in the New York Times Waiting for a School Miracle in which she states in her last two paragraph’s:
Families are children’s most important educators. Our society must invest in parental education, prenatal care and preschool. Of course, schools must improve; everyone should have a stable, experienced staff, adequate resources and a balanced curriculum including the arts, foreign languages, history and science.
If every child arrived in school well-nourished, healthy and ready to learn, from a family with a stable home and a steady income, many of our educational problems would be solved. And that would be a miracle.
Then I looked at today’s headlines on my Google homepage and realized that our country has become so invested in war and world dominance particularly of oil rich countries, that our children have also become victims of our own wars. We consider children around the world whose lives have been lost or irreparably damaged due to war but we are not thinking about our own children. You might think that our children are safe in bed, possibly because of the wars that we have started elsewhere, while children in other countries are suffering. One can then compartmentalize the devastation of war and create a distance from the pain that others are experiencing. But because of the cost of war and the tax cuts from the Bush Era, continued by Congress this year and President Obama, we are now cutting back on essential care for many of our own children. The poverty rate is soaring for our children and at the same time we are taking away the safety net for families rendering them homeless, without adequate food or medical care. Our children have become victims of our own wars.
The effect of our wars also extends into our schools. We are letting teachers go, cutting back on in-school services for our most vulnerable and allowing unsafe conditions in our schools to worsen. Many districts are holding off on buying desperately needed text books and librarians are being replaced with volunteer parents if the school is fortunate enough to have parents who don’t work full-time and can step in to support the school. Art programs are becoming a thing of the past as well as sports. We have shown where are values are and they do not extend to our children or education. Politicians including President Obama talk the talk about the value of education but their actions are far different and reflect what is most important to them.
As Dr. Ravitch stated in her Op-ed, there has to be a complete reversal in our thinking for our children to succeed in the future.