Greyson Oswalt-Smith

Greyson Oswalt-Smith is a local columnist for the Rome News-Tribune.

I cannot express enough my admiration, hope, and love for our educators. Their patience, knowledge, and nurturing nature is one that is necessary for the profession. A profession that pronounces the prosperity or destruction of our society.

There are many subjects that can be addressed in the name of education including the allocation of funds to education, the pay of our educators, and the reformation of the education, which would lead us to many other shades of discussion. The subject of this length-restricted column, however, will serve as a type of introduction or general comment on the importance of education in a society. One that will discuss the depreciation of our founding, the decline in critical thinking, and the role our dear educators play in our endeavor to reverse the current trends that are penetrating our nation.

I would like to introduce the topic of our founding and the philosophy behind it. This is not an analysis, but a plain declaration. The founding of our nation was based on classical reasoning, political science from Plato to Machiavelli to Paine, and secular humanism. With this being said, I assert that reasoning and humanism should be a founding principle in which our education system is based, at the very least these qualities must be praised and taught. Now an example that will point to the lack of understanding and appreciation to our founding principles is the July 4th tweet from NPR of last year. The independent broadcasting station tweeted in full the Declaration of Independence, as it has for nearly 30 consecutive years. The immediate ignorant rebuttals thrust themselves into the public eye of social media. Retweets claimed the Declaration of Independence was a recommendation for the people to perform a coup de’tate. Others claimed it was liberal propaganda, denouncing the Trump presidency. This lack of knowledge in relation to the founding, politics and reason is something that can be prevented through a sound education in the three, a job fit for our educators.

Critical thinking is something that is lacking in our society. This skill should not be exclusive to our scholars, but should be a trait that is held by everyone. Basic critical thinking is necessary so that the masses will not be influenced and fooled by false words and images. We lack the will and interest in searching for the truth! We see words and images that fit our own narrative and run with it, claiming it is fact. An example as of late of our lack of critical thinking and inquiry is the Russian misinformation campaign that continued throughout the 2016 Presidential campaign season. Many of the online information that was dispensed was either misconstrued or plainly false. The masses of the internet took this, claimed it was fact without proper inquiry, and shared it like a viral virus. This lack of inquiry and sharing of misinformation led to the degradation of facts. If the information being delivered accomplishes one’s goals, does it matter if it is true? It doesn’t. Therefore, inquiry and critical thinking is necessary in the education of our youth.

For the immediate perusal of our educators, the creators of great generations. Your perpetuation of wisdom, reason, and knowledge forms the base of which our nation carries on. You point them in the direction in which they will run. You give our children the lens through which they view the world. You, believe it or not, are an extremely important figure in their lives. You, by impacting a classroom of children, challenging them intellectually, making them read and think, and encouraging them, are changing the world for the better. Do not let your energy match your pay, which is far less than enough. Let it match the ambition you wish for our nation to inherit. I hold our educators in the most high regard, for their status should equal the prestige of doctors and lawyers. Doctors protect our health; lawyers protect our life, liberty, and property; educators protect and preserve knowledge and the well-being of our society and nation.

Greyson Oswalt-Smith is a political science major at Kennesaw State University who plans on going to law school. He enjoys being politically involved locally, and serves on the Sara Hightower Board of Trustees. He may be reached at oswalt0426@gmail.com.