Viewing the United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C. for the first time stopped me dead in my tracks. I wasn’t expecting such majesty and grandeur to rise out of the trees and look down over the city. Maybe it’s from growing up in California-we just don’t have history that is so universal. Everything in D.C. is grounded in our forefathers’ vision for the American Dream.
I also wasn’t expecting the fascinating experience I had in the Visitor’s Center. Located in the publicly accessible area of the Capitol, the Center offers a comprehensive display of all aspects of United States history.
Looming large on the entrance wall, plaques proclaim key values of our country. Catching my eye, naturally, the word ‘knowledge’ jumps out at me. As I took a closer look, the text spoke to me: “Knowing that democracy flourishes best in an open environment with an educated citizenry, Congress has promoted public education…”
Is our forefather’s message still accurate? Does our democracy still flourish? Can our children still hope for the American Dream?
Are we advocating for educated citizenry in this time of education cutbacks, pink slips, and layoffs? Is this really an open environment for our children, when they are told if they work hard, take the right courses and score well on standardized tests they will be rewarded with a college education, yet that reward will strap them with debt for decades?
Knowledge definitely is power. The question is, who has control?