Friday, May 21, 2010

Education and Economic Revitalization

I have had a long absence from this blog. Recently, however, I was privileged to participate in the 4th Annual MidSouth Summit held at the University of Tennessee Martin. I spoke on the intertwined dependencies of community banks and small towns. One of my points, the role of education, seemed to strike a chord with the audience. Another speaker, in discussing the effort to bring a new employer to the region, mentioned that this particular employer would only interview candidates with at least an associates degree. I immediately seized on the thought that the lack of suitably educated applicants could not be corrected overnight.

Education, or the lack thereof, is the root cause of much of our economic situation. Remedying this takes a concerted effort. First, parents, across all the cultures that make up our great land must value education. This must be imparted to children daily . . . encouraging them, monitoring their homework and grades, and holding them accountable. We must then drive these children to a love of learning, a desire to expand their own horizons, and to understand that the self discipline and hard work that go into getting good grades are the same tools they will use all their lives if they are to be successful.

Educators must include parents, not exclude them, and must further seek to continually refine their teaching methods in order to remain relevant and hold the attention of students in today's fast paced world.

The business community must also participate in this effort to raise the "status" of education in the minds of our children. Partnering with schools, offering education support relevant to their particular industry, and encouraging employees to continue their education are all good examples.

In coming weeks, I will add to these thoughts, and I hope to have much in the way of feedback from others to aid in building the value of this blog.

That's all for now.

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