Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Answers for getting ahead

I am enjoying "Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance.  Vance was born into a family from Kentucky that had moved to Middletown, Ohio.  He is a graduate of the Yale Law School.  His book has more than 7500 review comments and rates 4 and a half stars.  I was surprised by the revelations of American feelings and politics in the last election and this book makes clearer who is suffering and how and to some extent, why.

In one of the most telling statements in the book, Vance explains that his grandmother, who was the main person who raised him, was interested in the welfare of local children.  He thought she would have liked to be a lawyer but didn't know that to become a lawyer, one went to law school.

I am confident that most of the official curricula in American schools need to be modified and updated.  Vance describes in his book, which I am listening to in my car, and in his summative TED talk, the cost of teaching children standard content in the humanities, arts and sciences without paying attention to their backgrounds and day-to-day lives.  Vance describes a partnership between himself as an elementary school student and his supportive and lively grandmother in the matter of football.


She was supportive of his reading and exploring but as happens too often neither he nor his grandmother seemed to have much of an idea of using library resources and tools that librarians could have directed them to.  What kind of educational system graduates students who have not developed a reflex to inquire?  There are more avenues to knowledge, answers, development tools and funds and opportunities than a person can count.  These days, the inquiring mind wins while the quietly suffering mind gets left behind.  There are many roads to one kind of success or another and our schools should be sure students know where they are and how to travel them.

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