You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.
– Tom Brokaw
Most nights when I let Dexter out at about 9:30 PM, I invite him by calling out, “Dex, do you want to go out for pee-pee?” He races to the door and stands there expectantly. I then put my hand out and ask, “Where is your permission slip?”
Graduation from Lincoln High and James Madison meant many things to the 1,500+ students who were in my classes, but I wonder for how many of them it meant the ability to use a restroom when they wanted. I could truly never get that worked up about hall passes and bathroom passes. In fact, the latter, usually fashioned from a disk of wood that could be hung from a hook near the teacher’s desk, was the likely carrier of so many bacteria that I would rather not urinate than touch it.
I also wonder how many thought of their diplomas as a “ticket to the good life.” I know that I see young people right now who appear to be holding that thought. Others have already become resigned that their ticket will not get stamped. Mr. Brokaw offers the interesting alternative of considering our educational certificates as tickets of change. I really like that idea and I have had the privilege to know many colleagues over time for whom this was exactly what they saw – the power to change the world for good.
Still, as I look at the dismantling of public education in several states in the U.S., I am left wondering if these degrees have become something altogether different for a number of people – a permission slip of sorts to get revenge. Won’t give me a bathroom pass? Wait till I vote! Don’t like my paper? Let’s see who fights for your union rights! Think I am a moron? Watch me get elected and see who the moron is then!