A New Year’s Resolution for Children’s Education

Malala Yousafzai stated it best in her CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour: “I do not understand how governments can find more money for guns and tanks than for children’s education.  World leaders claim they care about children’s education and rights, but they are not living up to their promises.”

As a teacher for over fifteen years, and my continued tenure as a teacher in public schools for the last ten years, I cannot stand by and let statements about the lack of education for either females or child slaves fall on deaf ears.

It makes me wonder if all people who live above the poverty level took the money they spend on the latest gadgets (me: dresses, books), most luxurious cars, etc… and put that money toward coalitions to end child slavery, to fund schools, books, etc… to show that the world cares more about these issues and we, not the government, hold the power to affect change.

I can’t help but wonder about Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzai (whom I am sure will soon be called Malala), some of my favourite activists, Sven Volkmuth & Jacynthe Omglin who run their own NGO, chance for growth and how much time is dedicated to making sacrifices for the better living conditions of others.

What if all of the above decided it was more important to buy luxury goods instead of helping save lives, protect the innocent and invest in a better future where education is no longer seen as a luxury, but a necessity to all human life?

I want to be a part of that future, thus I am pledging this year (and hopefully forever) to spend not a dime on anything that:

  1. was made by child slaves, or in a country that abuses its workers or allows children to legally work in factories
  2. I do not desperately need (i.e. will cause starvation)
  3. I cannot make myself
  4. make an negative impact on our environment because I am promoting world pollution through buying something I could get second-hand or live without
  5. makes it less possible for me to get out of debt in the next four years

I bring up debt because a lot of people in industrialised countries have easy access to debt, something that I know I can live without and will give me the freedom to give more of my excess to helping people worldwide.

I hope to contribute by being able to teach during my summer recess and give my time to organisations which want to improve the quality or set-up schools for all children who are in need, especially in countries where girls are forbidden any education or an equal education.

I may be only making a drop in the bucket, but I am making a purposeful drop that millions of others can join in to make our world a better place.

Happy Channukah

Happy Christmas

Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!

25 thoughts on “A New Year’s Resolution for Children’s Education

  1. I agree with you. People spend more money on them self than they even, think about helping others. I like that brought attention to this. I also love that you have pledged to do something to help others. So I will also make a pledge. I Laila will always help others that need it if I can.

    • In New years, they make Resolutions that Can be made, but after a few months some people start to forget or quit their Resolutions. This could effect themselves depending on what they promised to, it could also effect others also depending on what the Resolution is. Everyone starts their year positive but then things go down or stay the same. Children’s Education is also a really big problem, Resolutions for school shouldn’t be made, they should always be the priority always.

      • I agree with people breaking their new years resolutions because they get so caught up in their old ways they forget on what they say they were going to try new. My family has stopped making major new years restitution because we end up breaking them or something helps us get into the habit of either forgetting about it or doing something totally different than what they said they were going to do. I think the only new years resolution I have is to be a better person, get good grades, work on my personality/ attitude, and accepting people for who they truly are.

  2. These people, Malala Yousafzai, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, etc., in my opinion, are people who see the world as it is. They see the troubles when some don’t.

    What I mean is, these people know what the world is under the surface. They know because they lived through it. They see what’s happening and achieve true greatness by doing something, big or small, whether if it’s helping someone or some day making child labor illegal everywhere in the world.

    In conclusion, great people like Dr. Martin Luther King or Ghandi, were everyday people who saw the problem and did something. They were just like us common folk, and that means we all can achieve true greatness like them. If we all decide to do even the littlest things, it would make a huge benefit to the world.

  3. I think that the people you mentioned (Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Malala) are good people. They are people that I think are peace makers. I agree that people do need to focus more of there money for good causes. With the whole child labor thing I agree as well. It is a bad thing and needs to be stopped.

  4. I agree with you because most people of our Nation think that violence is worth more than knowledge. Malala Yousafzai is a very young wise woman who makes valid points on the youth of today. I think that what she has gone through is very unfair and cruel just because she was standing up for what she believed in and that she is a very strong woman who stood to what she believed in even though she had people telling her not to. I also pledge to help others who are in need and who seek help and who will appreciate what people who have done something for them.

  5. Money is being used for the wrong purpose, instead of using what we have for the things that the world needs we buy unnecessary items forgetting the fact that people who can not afford the luxuries that we can are starving and dieing, children who do not have a chance to receive decent education. While we complain about not having the most recent I Phone people around the world would kill just for the leftovers that we throw away, without a care. Education is also a major issue their are children around the world who are not going to school, instead they are doing chores or being married off to others, children who may be around my age, twelve. Especially female children, women and girls deserve to get an education they have the right to just like anyone else who would like to go to school but then again even if these children are going to school they risk their lives just by doing so. If we all would take our attention off of ourselves and social media we could come together and help the less fortunate, even if we only get three children into school or we only feed one thousand people out of millions it is a start and a difference that is being made in the world today.

  6. I agree that even though we may be small in a world of billions of people but if billions of people tried to make a difference than something will change. I sometimes (as in the examples of Malala, Martin Luther King and Ghandi) sometimes it just takes one person to be brave enough to show their opinions to the world.

    I hope that we can look at others in need and not only want to help, but to be grateful for the many blessing in our lives and the ways that we can lift others up. I do believe that the world can change if enough people looked around them and stopped to think.

  7. I hands down agree with the fact that most of us in the military are spoiled. For example, while we’re getting an education which to some people it’s bad (NOT!), most kids are working for their next meal and sometimes don’t even get three of them.

    People are people. It doesn’t matter if their skin is darker than others, so what? Science now proves that because people have black skin is the amount of melanin they have. It’s not their fault. It especially doesn’t make it right to make them work for nothing in return. Very good points.

  8. I agree with the fact that people shouldn’t be spending their money on either insanely expensive or not needed perishable vanities. I also don’t like using items that are manufactured with either slavery or child abuse/labor. If I went to the store and I saw a vanity or clothing item I would think if I actually wear it. There are some people in the world who would buy a lot of shoes/jewelry they would never wear.

    I think that if you had an item that you outgrew you should donate it to an orphanage. If you don’t need an item people hold on to it that there are people every day dying because of freezing to death or because they have no shelter. The government sometimes thinks more about themselves rather than others. They want to win the war, rather than directing it towards education. There are places in the states that their schools don’t have enough money for whiteboards or markers.

    I think that the government should think more about education for kids and for adults. There are collages that have just the bases for education.

    Money makes people greedy, if you asked a person and they said that they will give it to charity about three thirds, wouldn’t fulfill their promises. Money makes a person greedy i mean, why would you need to make food now you can eat out every day or; why would you keep an old car when you can have a better one. Things like money can make a person that greedy, they would not give; for the good of the cause; they would spend it on themselves.

    Finally, I believe that there should be more money

  9. I agree with you I think that the government should give the money to school and not get weapons, because children go to school everyday, but the military don’t use the weapons everyday, because they don’t go to war.
    I also think that if rich people pass someone that doesn’t have anything, I think that they should give them some money so they can buy them something to eat and some thing to eat.

    • Reading this article made me think about how life is. I think, that The New Year Resolution of 2015 should be about better education. I think, that the government should focus more on giving everyone a better education. Instead of them thinking about spending money on war and making more weapons that might not needed. Every child should have the opportunity to get a great education because in some states or countries they don’t have it and it’s so needed. If we are able to get that then there would be more better job opportunities for the future. Instead of having a lot of homeless people in the street even veterans go through that. Veterans have faught for our country going to war and they can’t at times get a job, because they don’t have the education that is needed now. I think, they should teach them so they can have an opportunity of getting a job and better themselves instead of living in the street.

  10. I agree with you the government should give the money to school instead of buying weapons. The government should think more about the children and adults education. I personally think that money is used for the wrong reasons people buy things that are unnecessary. They through away stuff that are not half finish and never think that people are suffering and starving and begging for food and they are wasting money and peoples time buying unnecessary stuff.

  11. This article reminded me about my thoughts on money. Money can and is used for many things, People spend it on cars, and different types of worthless entertainment. Often they forget about the families that can not afford many of the basic things in life or even the poor slave children that are forced to make items to be sold for money. Government spending should still focus on defending the country from terrorists. I also think that spending money on improving education and making it accessible for everyone is also an important thing to consider.

  12. This article is a very true people should try to spend less money. They should also like you said spend money on things that could help the world. Also more New Year’s Resolutions for children’s education is a very good thing to do. The government should give more money to education because what if one of the students that didn’t get a very good education because of the government decides to join the army and then they say no because this person didn’t score high enough on the ASVAB. I believe more money should be going to children education since these children will one day be the one that is ruling our country.

  13. I think this article does not shy away from the truth and I think we shouldn’t spend money on things that kill people and are not even worth it I think we should just have peace and no war there are maybe 14 year olds that don’t know how to read or write but they know the names of 45 different types of guns or a picture that someone posted on Facebook we should help those who need education who beg and plead for an education there are some people in there 40’s that are now getting their High School Diploma but at least their trying to get that education that they never had and trying to make that change we shouldn’t be spending money on things that don’t make the world a better place sometimes I think that humans are the worlds biggest problem because we are killing the world but not all humans are like that in fact I was watching ET News yesterday and Bill Gates created this machine that turned poop into drinking water and whatever was left turned into electricity and he actually drank the water that’s something that is positive and meaningful that’s the kind of things I hope for in our world today if I grow up and have children I hope they don’t grow up how I have because this generation is sad I just pray that the world could be better than this and I hope that people change how they decide on how to use money and sometimes all I think people really care about is money no one should have to get a diploma at age 40 education is important and is way more important than guns

  14. you can clearly tell money isn’t begin use the right way we are your future why not have a smart and educated future that will change history forever

  15. I think that a lot of things that the government is doing is wrong lying to us about a lot of things and covering those lies with other ones but this is something they can cover up or any government for that matter. But if we really think about it as a people some very wealthy people and companies could help as well other that mainly focusing on the government.

  16. I completely agree. I do not think that it is fair for people in some countries to not get as good an education as we do. We should not take it for granted but at the same time we should try and help the people that can not afford or be as fortunate as we are. The people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzai ect., they did not care how much money anyone had or what race they were they thought that all people were the same and that they should all have the same rights and education.

  17. The army should stop spending money on weapons and use it on education so kids can get better equipment and school supplies. In Asia, don’t even get me, there is modern day slaves there and in 2010 there was a estimated 5 million people working in factors. Now there could be double that.The world leaders need to step up and do there job

  18. In response to this article, I agree. Though, yes, we do need to have some money to contribute to the military’s resources for out on the field, such as weaponry, food for soldiers, etc. there should be a significant amount more money for schools than there is now. But as a reason for a lack of wise investment now instead of schooling kids, they work in places were they are more than not forced to. Is this the kind of future generation our world wants? One scarred by poverty and a ruined childhood? I don’t think so. We want an educated, stable, and nurtured society, not one filled with labor that is unneeded. We say we are going to fix these things, but have we seen any improvement? No. In my mind it is because half the world isn’t watching what is happening to it. We think something like ebola or a natural disaster is going to destroy the whole world, and we live in fake fear. There won”t be an ebola apocalypse or a sharknado that will ruin the world. It will be a corrupted generation. And if we don’t act soon enough, even in the smallest ways, I have a feeling we are on a fast road towards this. While we sit on our butts complaining that our computers are slow or that we don’t have the newest iPhone, people exactly like you are working off theirs or starving because the government doesn’t think to consider the fact that winning a war has exactly the same impact as raising a new generation. Do we need this much technology to keep ourselves out of boredom? Do we need these fancy clothes just to impress others? Do you need to buy this much food? Do we need to spend extra money just so it can be gone? I think not. We need to wake up to reality. Though it has been in our faces, to many are blind to see it. And often those who do are not always the ones who have a huge input to society. I believe we need to stand up for something that really matters. We all need to take a stand to all this waste we create. It needs to stop. We can’t just let it sit here for others to pass by as a minor issue. These are the stories that should be in the news, and for the whole world to see. So humanity can wake up and take a glimpse at the real world. So our society can be changed for the better, and for good.

  19. I also want to bring up another point about education. It’s not necessarily about the lack of funding for schools and kids ability to attend school, but about the way teaching is administered. Though, yes, we will learn as students from watching PowerPoints and filling out packets, it doesn’t really express a real learning experience. Without teachers that won’t actually explain a subject, give time to students to understand it, and answer questions a student has about what they teach, I don’t think that experience really expresses true teaching. People will say students don’t pass school because they don’t care enough to do any work or to pay attention in class. Though sometimes that is the case, I believe it is because they don’t really have anything to listen to. Being handed a packet to do and expected to know how to complete it, or watching a video being expected to know why and what it is talking about (as well as be expected to know what to write down from it) is not real teaching. Real teaching prepares you for the world, and when the best teachers come around you know they are there. But teaching that seems to be coming around the corner far more often these days is only teaching you to read, write, and repeat. And we know life is not filled with repetition, but with many unknown doors. School is supposed to educate us to learn about not just information about a subject, but also what it is like to have a passion knowing about one. When teachers show this passion it is real, and that is what makes kids excited, the reality we are soon to embrace on our own. So my conclusion is that school does not just teach us about knowledge, it teaches us about life and how to prepare for it. I thank all teachers for their hard work and I hope that real teaching like yours never fades away.

    • MacKenzie: you bring up a really valid point. Simply giving students packets and videos without a sense of synthesis (an objective and a desired outcome) does not help students to arrive at a particular conclusion. I am definitely not a perfect teacher, I do show videos (rarely) and also give out hand-outs (I hate the word packets :)) Not that there’s anything wrong with you using that word.

      The main point in educating kids is that the way the American system of education (and many other developed nations) is set-up is to educate the most students for the cheapest price. A lot of U.S. schools have this problem, more than overseas schools do (we won’t name names).

      I worked for a non-profit organization before I became a teacher where they kept their class sizes to 10 students. That’s it. And there was a ratio of 1 adult to 2 kids in our group classes. It was great! We learned so much. That, in my opinion, is how schools ought to work: passionate adults, who love kids, and their subjects, working together.

      Sadly, I am in the minority when it comes to this subject. Most, average, middle-class people don’t want to pay a lot for education. Many other industrialised countries don’t mind paying for the best.

      I think money, unfortunately, at some point factors into education. If you want good educators, who have a lot of experience, they do have to be paid well.

      Your final point about school teaching you more than knowledge. That is a huge debate. I tend to think that certain things ought to be taught at home by parents and certain subjects (grammar, literature, creative writing, composition) ought to be taught at school and reinforced at home.

      I agree with you that real teaching needs to happen….the question is how shall we find that happy medium? Is it a matter of economics or a matter of philosophy? Are great teachers people like Socrates and Plato or are they like Gandi and Mother Theresa?

      We shall see!

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