This is my space to rant and rave, vent and vex about education, my passion. I am calling it "Mining for Hidden Gems" because of the above quote and because as a teacher, my job is to look for those gems. The real valuable ones are not usually on the surface. You have to dig deep to find them.


I am also borrowing from Katherine Bomer's wonderful book Hidden Gems: Naming and Teaching From the Brilliance in Every Student's Writing. It has changed the way I look at not just student work but students themselves and all people around me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Would you rather educate or rehabilitate?

I am reading Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson of the Three Cups of Tea fame, and came across these statistics:  "In the impoverished hinterlands of the western Himalayas, $20 is enough to educate a first grader for an entire year, $340 can send a girl to four years of high school on a full-ride scholarship, $50,000 is sufficient to build and outfit an eight-room schoolhouse and endow the teachers' salaries for the first five years."  I know these numbers do not compare to the cost of education in the U.S., but I do know one thing:  It costs a whole lot less to educate a child than to rehabilitate an adult, no matter where we are in this world.  The same source also cites World Bank studies that show how one year of primary school can result in an income bump of 10 to 20 percent for women later in life.  Where girls are educated infant mortality rates drop significantly after one generation, as does population growth. So whenever there is a choice we must invest in education.

For the past two years, my family and I have been hosting a dinner to raise money for a very small school in one of the poor neighborhoods of El Salvador, where our daughter worked as a volunteer for 11 months.  The $500 or so that we have managed to raise each year, has paid for the education of two to three students. It may not be much, but it is our contribution to the constructive forces at work in the world.  This year's event is on February 25th.

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