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Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

Alyson,

You were free to write this letter, but until you had the skills taught to you, you truly were not able to do so.

Education IS a part of freedom, plain and simple.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Education is the FOUNDATION of freedom. Where does freedom flourish in the world? In nations where education is strong. Educated people are capable of resisting those who would deprive them of their freedom.

Where does freedom fail in the world? Let's see . . . Afghanistan, much of Africa, much of the Middle East. All places where many people have no education.

Where are people rebelling against oppressive leaders? Hint -- all are in places where more and more of the population is becoming educated.

Who are first people purged by those who wish to oppress their people? The answer is simple. It's the teachers and other educated citizens.

Why do some of our "leaders" want to defund education?

Think about that. Very carefully.

SEY
Sandy, UT

Good letter, Alyson. Detractors want to pretend you didn't emphasize the importance of education, but you did. That being said, nothing is more fundamental to a vital education system than liberty. The Soviet Union had a good education system, but it was saturated with Soviet propaganda. Nevertheless, they excelled in the sciences which are more difficult to propagandize.

People don't become involved in revolutions because they can't get the education they want. They throw over dictatorships because of the lack of liberty. To assert anything else is ludicrous. Superior education can exist only in an environment of liberty.

kathyn
Salt Lake City, UT

Actually, I think I understand why Alyson wrote this. Education and liberty go hand-in-hand. There is a trend in education today to make everything politically correct and to downgrade what our Founding Fathers did. I have grandchildren in school and some of the things they are being taught amount to social engineering and not to regular education. I worry that critical thinking is being replaced by political correctness.

Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

kathyn

Actually, as I get older and read more and more about the Founding Fathers, I realize that WE were taught the sanitized version of their stories. That is not downgrading what they did, but humanizing the truth. I prefer the truth to delusions of perfection. If these fallible individuals can create such a wonderful constitution and country, we too can rise to a level above the rest.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Now, more than ever, we need critical thinkers coming out of our schools. People who will take advantage of our freedoms. The last thing we need, however, is 'doctrine' in schools. No pseudo science, or wishy washy watered down stuff. Teach people to think and let them do it. For themselves.

SEY
Sandy, UT

Oh, Lane and Hutterite, so you think maybe we need more liberty to do critical thinking in our education instead of indoctrination? Such a novel idea. Any ideas on how to accomplish that? Maybe liberty is pretty fundamental and necessary for a quality education after all, huh?

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

"To preserve and promote prosperity, 'we the people' must require that any policy to improve education does not erode individual liberty."

Hmm. So, we must "require" the increase of liberty. Sounds rather authoritarian. Typical conservative mumbo-jumbo that sounds good on the surface but doesn't make sense when considered more thoroughly. Sort of like "We've got to get back to the Constitution!!!!!!!"

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

If a person was an avid businessman bent on becoming rich without any regard for others, and who’s definition of individual liberty was mainly the liberty to commercialize everything, and who’s definition of prosperity was the accumulation of wealth, his attitude might approach that of conservatives regarding the nature of education.

A Businessman would tend to have little regard for education because it makes his customers more wary of his promises and his workers theoretically thinking they should have higher wages.

The sad fact is that as business becomes more dependant on smart machines there is less demand for educated workers or any workers at all. While it takes some smart workers to make the smart machines, the need is for only a few.

If we are to ever have prosperity again for people, we may have to change the rules of the game.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Ultra Bob" the businessman that you describe typically self destructs, and destroys himself. Look at Totally Awesome Computers. The company was growing, and the owner did much of what you describe. What is the condition of his enterprises now?

Another example is Walmart. While they have not folded, they have a bad reputation in many parts of the country because of the greed of Sam Walton's kids.

You are wrong about the dependance on smart machines. The more smart machines a company uses, the more educated people they need to service the machines. It is the uneducated people that lose their jobs. Think of an assembly line. You replace 100 line workers with 30 robots. You now need to hire an educated electrician to maintain them, and a computer programmer to fine tune them to your exact needs.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The sad part is the 98 guys who lost their jobs. Many of them were half way through the course requirements for electrical engineering degrees.

Pippin
Kaysville, UT

Ms. Williams,

Thank you for your thoughtful article! I could not agree more.

We are surrounded by politicians on all hands who will spare no expense and will spare no liberty in the vain effort to provide free education for all. They will force individuals to get an education and they will force their neighbors to pay for it.

And then they'll try to pull the wool over our eyes by declaring that liberty presupposes education and therefore they are justified in violating freedom in order to ensure it with free education. Wrong! A man is free regardless of whether he's attained any education or not. He's able to take greater and wiser actions with that freedom as he uses his liberty to gain more education. But freedom is first!

I congratulate you for seeing through the sheepskin and for sharing your clear vision in print.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

What is “the unprecedented tracking of our children and the concentration of all educational doctrine into the hands of a few”? In general, it has been state school boards that have required accountability (tracking). Most conservatives have thought that accountability was a good thing. Also, I have read in this newspaper articles where very conservative legislators have put forward bills to require the teaching of this or of that. Is that the type of concentration the author is worried about?

Certainly liberty is essential to progress. And an education saturated with propaganda (liberal or conservative) does not serve any constituency well. But (as others have pointed out) a populace lacking education is a ripe target for demagoguery. And how can any product (education included) be any good without accountability?

So is liberty good? Undeniably so. Is education necessary to sustain liberty? Absolutely. Is accountability necessary? You bet. There is no conflict here.

If folks want accountability at the local level, vote that way. If at the state level, vote that way. That is the way of liberty.

wrz
Ogden, UT

@one old man:

"Education is the FOUNDATION of freedom."

You got that backwards. Freedom is the foundation of education. Without freedom, education mostly goes wanting. Freedom means people are able to peruse education.

"Where does freedom flourish in the world? In nations where education is strong."

No, no. Education flourishes where, and mostly only where, there is freedom.

"Where does freedom fail in the world? Let's see . . . Afghanistan, much of Africa, much of the Middle East. All places where many people have no education."

Again, no, no. These countries fail becasue they are controlled by dictatorial regimes who suppress freedom.

"Why do some of our 'leaders' want to defund education?"

I've seen no leader who wants to de-fund education. What they wanna do is get parents to understand it's the parents' responsibility to ensure their kids get educated. Kids who fail in their education pursuits are generally the kids whose parents don't give a hoot about it.

"Think about that. Very carefully."

I did. And my thoughts are as above.

Mr. Bean
Ogden, UT

@Kent C. DeForrest:

"Sort of like 'We've got to get back to the Constitution!!!!!!!"

Nothing wrong with getting back to the Constitution. It's a great idea. Why do you suppose the Founding Fathers drew it up? So it can be ignored? Of course, if you think the Constitution is outdated, the Founders made a proviso to fix that as well... called Amendment.

It's also a great idea for our leader in the White House to get back to obeying the laws of the land as written by Congress. Those who don't follow federal law are deemed felonious. Obama decided some federal laws don't need to be obeyed/enforced... such as the law governing immigration, including aiding and abetting same (8 USC 1324).

cjb
Bountiful, UT

Saying liberty is key to prosperity not education is like saying, vitamin C is key to health, not vitamin D.

What kind of liberty contributes to prosperity? In the United States it is much easier to choose what you want to be in life than in most other countries. In many other countries, it is very common that a person is walled off from being what they want to be because of tests they didn't get high enough scores on during elementary, junior high and in high school. Also in the Unites States it is relatively easy for a student to change their major. All this adds up to the fact that if a person in the United States wants to become an __________ they most likely can become one.

This meanswe have more people following their passions here in the United States which means that we have more individuals contributing more, which leads to more prosperity.

SEY
Sandy, UT

@cjb: you might not have noticed that the title of the article was misleading. The author didn't say that education was not the key to prosperity. Some editor at the DN said that. Alyson acknowledged the importance of education in creating a prosperous society, but pointed out that quality education relies on a foundation of liberty. There goes that darned MSM distorting things again!

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