Why empowr (part 9)

by Johnny Cash on February 05, 2017

Why empowr (part 9)

Hello everyone,

Together, we've been reading the Why empowr book, written by one of the empowr founders. 

If you're interested in why empowr was created, or want to know where it's headed, this is a good way to find out.

Just joining the conversation? You can read the earlier parts here:  
Part 1:   Here
Part 2:   Here
Part 3:  Here
Part 4:  Here
Part 5:  Here
Part 6:  Here
Part 7:  Here
Part 8:  Here

As always, many thanks for your thoughtful comments that you left in the earlier parts; we're all reading your comments very carefully (and deleting spam and unrelated comments).


Thank you!

 

Education saved the world...

As the industrial revolution kicked off in the mid-1700s, affordable, accessible quality public education became increasingly important to the world. The world population increase, GDP, productivity, and the advancement of every technological field benefitted from this phenomenon. Ultimately, improved public education has helped much of humanity live longer, happier, healthier lives.

 

“We don’t need no education!” At least, that’s what the song said as I listened to it in my classroom. It was my freshman year of high school, and I was stuck in a French class in which I had absolutely no interest. I made my disinterest glaringly apparent to my French teacher by blasting Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in The Wall” during class on one memorable day. For those not familiar with the song, it basically accuses schools of brainwashing students and turning them into drones for society—sort of like simple bricks in a wall. Not the most inspiring song to be listening to as I began my high school education.

As I sat in class, smirking at my French teacher while he scowled down at me, a big vein in his forehead pulsing, I thought I was the funniest kid in school. I had been a rebellious student since the beginning of the semester, but it appeared that Pink Floyd and I had finally pushed my teacher over the edge. He grabbed me by the arm, stood me up, walked me to the empty classroom next door, and forcefully sat me down.

At this point, I was pretty sure I was going to get reamed. You know, the typical threats about the principal’s office, calling my parents, that sort of thing. But that day my teacher had something entirely different in mind. With a look that combined extreme annoyance with resignation, he told me that, so long as I stayed in the empty classroom next door for the entire rest of the semester during French class and didn’t disrupt the other students’ learning, I could do whatever I wanted and he would still give me an “A” in the class.

I thought I was getting the deal of the century! I got to sit and listen to my music and I didn’t have to put up with any useless, boring French lessons; all while still getting a great grade in the class. Since I didn’t like French and I flat out hated French class, I quickly agreed to my teacher’s offer and spent French period for the rest of the semester listening to music and screwing around in the empty classroom next door. At the time, I thought it was a great arrangement.

But here’s the thing, my French is terrible now. If my teacher back in high school could have found a way to reach me and help me to understand how awesome it can be to know another language, I might actually be able to speak at least passable French today. I was a cocky, cynical teenager who was a giant pain in the ass for my teachers, but I remember that some of my best teachers were still able to reach me and help me learn the subjects that make me the (arguably) well-rounded person I am today. Without that solid educational foundation, I would probably never have been able to build the companies I’ve built or develop the new technologies I’ve been a part of creating.

And that’s really the point of this whole story.

The difference that great teachers
and quality education make

The best teachers and educational systems never give up on providing their students with the highest quality education that’s available, whether those students are cooperative and friendly, or they’re snot-nosed little jerks like I was. This is because, over the past few hundred years, the world has realized that ensuring the next generation is educated is one of the best ways to safeguard the future of a country. Top-notch teachers and the educational systems they are a part of are one of the cornerstones on which every industrialized nation has been built. President Franklin D. Roosevelt even went so far as to say, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”

The global recognition that an affordable quality education is critical to a country’s success is something that is taken for granted today. Nobody believes a country can get away with having a terrible educational system and still expect to remain globally competitive for very long. But this wasn’t always the case. Despite the invention of the printing press in 1439, which made books exponentially more affordable to produce, up until the 18th century, education was often restricted to a relatively small portion of the population. The best that most regular people could hope for was to find a good trade master to whom they could apprentice.

While the start of the industrial revolution in the mid-1700s began to push countries toward educating enough people to invent, produce, and run new machines, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the model of affordable, quality public education we have today really started to become popular. New national leaders created quality public school systems that were free (or at least very affordable) for everyone, regardless of their status in society. In addition to improving access to education, modern educational systems increased the quality of the material being taught by establishing schools dedicated to training top-notch, professional teachers and professors.

As a result of these educational reforms and the new technologies being produced by the industrial revolution, the world experienced some of the most rapid growth in the history of humanity, as death rates plummeted and birth rates did not. For example, up until the early 18th century, the population of the world had remained under 1 billion people. Yet, as a result of educational reforms and the inventions of the new generations of engineers and scientists that those reforms inspired, the world population jumped from under 1 billion people in the year 1800 to over 6 billion people in the year 2000.

                Why empowr (part 9)

 

Another example of a benefit of improved public education is how much longer people started to live, once educational reform began. Between 1500 and 1800, the average life expectancy of a regular European is estimated at forty years of age. Thanks to advancements in medicine, sanitation, and health care (particularly reductions in infant mortality) produced by educational reforms, the average life expectancy has now more than doubled, with the average European born in 2014 expected to live an incredible eighty-one years. This spectacular growth spurt for humanity was made possible by the industrial, societal, and technological advances created by highly educated people.

Educated people and
the wonders they created

Many of the most fantastic contributions that have been made to the world were invented or discovered by highly-educated people. Bernard of Chartres, a famous 12th century philosopher and scholar, once wrote that modern people are much like dwarves perched on the shoulders of giants. What he was trying to get at is that, because of those who came before us who learned so much, we can now advance so much further than we ever could have done without their accumulated knowledge.

Because education gives us the ability to stand on the shoulders of giants, it has, over the course of history, led to inventions that revolutionized the world. For instance, take the case of Waldemar Haffkine, a famous Russian doctor and creator of the first vaccines for cholera and the black plague. Born in 1860, Haffkine was educated as a child in Berdyansk, a city in what is now Ukraine.

He attended Malorossiisky University in Odessa, where he studied microbiology and had a chance to work with future Nobel laureates. He eventually earned his doctorate and went on to work at the Louis Pasteur Institute in Paris. It was there, in 1892, that he developed a vaccine for cholera, a disease that was creating regular pandemics throughout the world.

Eventually, Haffkine created a vaccine for the bubonic plague, a disease that had once wiped out almost a quarter of humanity. Haffkine was also a brave man, testing out his vaccines on himself before trying them on other human beings.

Speaking of vaccines, no discussion of them would be complete without including the creator of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk. The son of poor Jewish immigrants, Salk’s intelligence was recognized early on, and at age thirteen he was allowed to attend Townsend Harris High School, a school for gifted children. The public high school prepared him well to attend City College of New York, which charged no tuition but gave him the education he needed to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.

Salk attended medical school and graduated as a medical doctor. Many years later, he contributed to creating a flu vaccine for the U.S. Army and, in 1957, created the world’s first vaccine for polio. In the U.S. alone, polio was killing thousands of people each year and crippling many thousands more. After Salk created the vaccine, it was widely distributed worldwide, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

Most, if not all, vaccines were created by highly dedicated and highly educated medical professionals who learned from the experience and hard work of their predecessors. Thus, without education, millions of people throughout the world would be either dead or horribly crippled by terrible diseases. To get a small idea of the difference that vaccines have made in the United States alone, just take a look at this comparison:

Why empowr (part 9)

 

While vaccines are wonderful, they’re just one of the fantastic advances brought on by the power of modern education. The number of discoveries and inventions made by highly educated people is countless, but here are a few more, just in case you’re not already convinced.

If you’re reading this on a computer, chances are you have education to thank for it, especially so if the computer is using a Windows operating system. Microsoft founder Bill Gates graduated from Lakeside School, a top American high school, in 1973 before going on to Harvard, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, where he continued his pursuit of computer science.

One of the most popular misconceptions about Gates is that he didn’t need education to succeed but rather did everything on his own. Gates laid this myth to rest in a recent interview when he said, “Although I didn’t complete my degree, I was very close. I didn’t leave school because I was bored or because I didn’t see the value in completing my education. I left because I believed we had a small window of opportunity to launch Microsoft. But, since that time, I have certainly taken a lot of college courses—either online or on DVD. It’s one of my favorite things to do—so I’d have to be described as an enthusiast when it comes to higher education.”

To further demonstrate Gates’s enthusiasm for education, one need look only at the work that the charity he and his wife created is doing across the globe. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spends millions of dollars every year on philanthropy aimed at improving global access to affordable, high-quality education.

The value of education is not limited to technical fields, either. Some of the world’s most famous and admired people have been dedicated advocates of education. World renowned South African hero Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” 

Mandela himself made extraordinary efforts to pursue his own education, even attending college at a time when doing so was extremely difficult for black South Africans.

Another widely respected activist and peacemaker, Mahatma Gandhi, recognized how critical education was to the success of a country, although he thought that teaching through doing was the key to educational success. Gandhi once said, “The real system of education is one where the children of rich and poor, of king and subject, receive education through crafts.” One of the lesser-known facts about Gandhi is that he was an English-trained barrister (the English term for lawyer).

The long and short of all of this is that regardless which aspect of modern life you look at, education has played a critical role in making it possible at some point. From constitutions and laws written by highly educated intellectuals to scientific advancements made by doctors who spent years in school honing their minds—without widespread, affordable, quality education, the modern world would simply not exist.

By giving huge swaths of humanity access to public schools staffed by well-paid, respected, high-quality teachers, countries around the world have done their very best to prepare students to participate in the growing global economy and in the governments responsible for running those countries. The entire human race has benefitted from the new technologies and ideas that this strategy of universal education produced.

The most important defining aspects of the modernization of global education were accessibility, quality, and affordability. And it’s the rapid reduction in these aspects that now threatens the success of some industrialized nations.

264 Comments

Oxana Rogutko

Thank you! Always interesting to read!

1 month ago
Željko Sokol

good part

1 month ago
Amada Marcelino

I always visit the Alexa website to find the good standing of empowr and how it goes up monthly!

1 month ago
Mila Sorensen

Hi Amada! Wow - you are certainly committed to watching empowr's growth!! Keep in mind however, that empowr's Alexa rating isn't the end all, be all to how well we're doing :) Thanks for being so committed!

1 month ago
Riad Ezzat

Great post! Thanks for information

1 month ago
Richard Burger

Very true education does matter but when we was teenages we didn't realize that and
I wish I took another one but it wasn't required back in the 1970's in high school.

1 month ago
Grandfather Dimitrius

Good post!
Thank you!

1 month ago
Wottsm

This is great information for enlightenment about our world.

1 month ago
Elena Emily

Another very interesting part of Why empowr book. Human beings today need to have a specific set of skills to survive in this competitive world as well as progress. This set of skills can be referred to as Education.
Education is important for a country to grow. Whether it is economically or socially, education plays a vital role in the growth of these two important factors. Thank you for sharing with us!

1 month ago
Mila Sorensen

Hi Elena, we're so happy to hear that you feel education is so important. We couldn't agree more! Thank you for contributing, and we hope you'll stay turned for the next chapter :) Thanks Elena!

1 month ago
Roger Herbert

We had better believe it! - The world generally speaking - is very poorly educated about everything!

1 month ago
Imad Nissan

The information revolution is moving quickly to change this world and its concepts again, the internet is making everything easy and cheap to reach to everyone, I believe the traditional system of schools and education will face dramatic changes very soon.
Empowr must have a share in all this, and I am sure it will!

1 month ago
Mila Sorensen

Hi Imad, you're definitely correct: the internet and technology will certainly impact education (and may cause some major changes). It will be interesting to see how education does indeed change. Thanks for contributing, Imad!

1 month ago
Dzack Co

Knowledge is everything..!
I agreed..!

1 month ago
Normina Esmael

Knowledge is power... Power to be successful on things that interests individuals. thanks for sharing another chapter of Empowr book with us!

1 month ago
Aleksandr Mikhailov

Thanks for interest post!

1 month ago
Yuriy Baragin

Hi All
Thanks for this post, the problem many gosudars is that they use the old Prussian education system Ktorov based on subordination, children in Russia up to 18 years for etoi learn the system and become a kind of program pattern.

They certainly have the opportunity to go to university and to choose a profession like and develop in this direction, but we understand that the omission lot of time, hard to learn new skills when you have corrupted the system itself, which has made of you a slave.

Children should be given from the first class in the direction that he wants, this is my personal opinion

Yuriy

1 month ago
Sasha O''Neil

We appreciate you sharing your educational experiences Yuriy. It is sad to hear about the system being corrupted hopefully the system is looked and and improved.

1 month ago
Yuriy Baragin

Thank you Sasha O``Neil

1 month ago
Marry Unchang

I love to quote this,"Because education gives us the ability to stand on the shoulders of giants, it has, over the course of history, led to inventions that revolutionized the world." by Johnny Cash.
Simply awesome!!! All the best to citizens and Empowr teams.

1 month ago
Indra SiGe

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants"
-- Isaac Newton

1 month ago
Sasha O''Neil

We are so happy you connect with that quote! Thank you for sharing Marry!

1 month ago
Lou De Angelis

Is there any way to have all the parts in pdf format..? It would be really more comfortable for me to read all the interesting parts managing page by page with my visus problems..! Thanks in advance.

1 month ago
David Bruyland

Thanks for this new and again very fascinating part of this blog.

1 month ago
Crispina Palopalo

Knowledge is powerful that can stand in the shoulders of the giants. That's why it's only thru education that democracy can succeed which allows people to choose wisely. Am glad that Empowr is always stressing the importance of education. “The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
― Voltaire
Empowr is awesome! and I am proud to be one of the citizens.
Thank you JC and to all.

1 month ago
Sasha O''Neil

Thank you for sharing Crispina, we are happy you connect with the quote and share the same vision on education as we do here at empowr!

1 month ago
Artem Busygin

Great post! Thanks for information

1 month ago
Olga Kopteva

Thanks for interest post!

1 month ago
Olga Zhuravkova

Thanks for the info.

1 month ago
M  Ali

Thanks for interest post!

1 month ago
Yar Nov

Great! Thank you!
Have a good day!

1 month ago
Serj

Excellent post! Thank you !!!

1 month ago
Rom Ned

Excellent post! To read interestingly and informatively. Thank you!

1 month ago
Andrey Kunets

Excellent post! With great pleasure I read your posts.

1 month ago
Anzela Antonova

Useful and interesting chapter! Education plays an important role in the life people.Education background brings knowledge, discipline, hard work and a lot of other positive qualities in cheloveke.Ya Now try vyuchchit English ... difficult course, but I'm going to go! Thank you for stimulus !! !

1 month ago
Sasha O''Neil

We are so happy you have the same feelings on a strong educational background as we do, I know I agree with the fact that discipline and hard work helps make great things can happen.

1 month ago
Kumis Belyalova Kumisb

Thank you for the nice post, very informative and helpful! Good luck in business!

1 month ago
Olga Rakhimova

Great post. I read with pleasure and gratitude!

1 month ago
Tatyana Baeva

nice post,thank you!

1 month ago
Serval

Interesting information, thank you!

1 month ago
Joseph Eric

Very insightful and well researched article.
http://posts.empowr.com/c8cm8

1 month ago
M Sajjad

Thank you! Always interesting to read! Thanks for information!

1 month ago
Bayu Jasmine

Great post, interesting read it.
Many thank for preparing to us.

1 month ago
Сергей Поникаров

Thank you, wonderful and interesting blog!

1 month ago
Adil Nadeem

This book should be posted internationally so everyone could remove their doubts about empowr and understands its mission.
Thank-you JC

1 month ago
Rom Ned

Excellent post! To read interestingly and informatively. Thank you!

1 month ago
Ирина Шипулина

Thank you so much for the information blog! Very informative information may be requested!

1 month ago
Madonna Marie Perez

Great story! Education is key to success!

1 month ago
*Aхунский Сергей*

In this article is for education, almost all agree with the author. However, not all countries education is at the highest or at least the first level! And very often, there are instances when a very important knowledge, are deliberately distorted, ignored or just portrayed superficially. An example of this; the history, evolution, open physics and chemistry, which primarily deals with the military. Not for the good of man and his destruction!

1 month ago
Thor Xx

Well done post! “The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.” , Voltaire.

1 month ago
Aleksandr Rubakov

Great post! Thanks for information

1 month ago
Parvu Chivuta

Great information , good post , thanks dear empowr !

1 month ago
Valeriy Ananin

Excellent post! Thank you

1 month ago
Del Shad

Why history says that most of the college drop outs ended up rich? Then what are schools and colleges for?
There is something wrong with the system of education all over the world??? I always feel teachers should be trained to find out the true potential of every individual students. That will make a happy world with passionate people. Johny you found it yourself. But! So many out there need helps to find their true potential.
I was expecting this part from you, love reading it.

1 month ago
Sasha O''Neil

Thank you for sharing your views on education Dilshad. I agree with you that teachers need to be better at tapping into their students true potential, that would help every student develop and better understanding and passion for learning.

1 month ago
Angela Jurmoni

As a teacher I used to be I am very happy to read your considerations on education. The first part of your blog post brought into my mind so many memories about pupils like you. But not my memories are important now!

This is reality: education is very important for the well-being of a person and of a society. Those governements which don't understand the necessity to invest in education condamn their people to ignorance and lack of tolerance and lack of progress.

There are many great scientists and public persons who spoke about education in the terms you have already cited in your post.. I will add two more quotes: "Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death" by Albert Einstein and "Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family" by Kofi Annan.
Thank you.

1 month ago
Sasha O''Neil

Being a teacher your views on education are greatly appreciated, we are so happy you agree and are as passionate as we are about the quality of learning.

1 month ago
Kenny Bharksuwan

Great information to know. Excellent post! thanks for sharing!

1 month ago
Sergey Zubenko

Education - this is the way! The way of thinking, a way of behaving, a way of perceiving the world, and everything that surrounds a person! Interesting post, thanks!

1 month ago
Nezir Osmanov

Education shall be directed Middle East, Middle Asia and Africa !!!

1 month ago