This article originally on heartland.org.
In most Americansâ?? minds, education is tied to career preparation. And Americans are worried about jobs. So itâ??s no coincidence that education has risen as an election issue, although it typically resides somewhere in the middle of votersâ?? priorities.
This week, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul prodded potential 2016 candidates for president, assertingÂ no candidate would win the GOP nomination if he or she supports Common Core. American Federation for Children counsel Kevin ChavousÂ appeared on Wall Street Journalâ??s Opinion JournalÂ to note school quality and the increase in school choice are putting in play voters who traditionally would vote for Democrats.
Single-issue items such as these may be important for 2014 or 2016, just as jobs are currently important because thatâ??s where the pain is, but the long-term health of this country requires voters to start considering more than symptoms. A republic cannot continue long without people who can manage themselves and analyze ideas. These two qualities are exactly what business owners want in employees, and theyâ??re exactly what citizens want from their co-governors, their fellow citizens. Yet a third of the adult populace cannot name one branch of government. One shudders to think how many voters would fail the citizenship test for legal immigrants.
Because it necessarily cultivates the next generation of people who must rule themselves and thereby rule their fellow Americans, education deserves much higher ranking on votersâ?? priority lists. And not just for immediate, tangible, and individual rewards. To preserve what is good about our country, people must first know what it is. Right now, many never learn that.