Devanie, Graduate Student, CA
Imagine your child (or one you care about deeply) is now in their 30s – out of school and starting into adult life. What do you hope for them about their life? What would make it a ‘good’ life?
I think I hope for stability. I hope for opportunity and choice, which maybe is the same thing, but I think I’m really interested in people being able to realize their own potential, whatever that may be. Without stability and opportunity, you’re unable to explore those things and I think with choice – there are a lot of ways to find stability in your own life – but the ultimate good life is to look at a bunch of different opportunities and choose the one that you care about and makes you happy.
Do you think everyone agrees with you about what a good life is?
I think if we were able to drown out the noise of how we define things like happiness and security and health, maybe, but I think unfortunately we have attached so much weight to things like wealth and titles and power that I don’t know… I think a lot of people would say different words than I do but I think at the core what we all want is for people to feel like they have that agency, and have opportunities to build the life that they want and that they are safe and accepted in their community, but our culture doesn’t talk about that in those ways.
What role do you think schooling should play in achieving that ideal good life?
I think schools first of all should cultivate the whole child and whole person – I think wellness is really important. I think schools should help kids find their passion and their strengths and things that are meaningful to them. Using those strengths, schools should enable kids to grow from wherever they are.
Do you think schools are currently /doing what they should (for you/your child and for everyone)?
I think it depends on what child and what school – I think there are some schools doing a great job cultivating kids as the individuals they are, but I think unfortunately those schools are disproportionally serving wealthier children.
What is the purpose of education?
I think the purpose of education is to develop productive and happy citizens. I think it’s the gateway to living a meaningful life in a lot of ways. And it should incorporate anything kids need to reach that goal, whatever that is for them. That should look different for every kid...I would define meaningful as a life that is full of relationships and rich experiences and purposeful work however that shakes out for that person. And I guess the belief that the world is a good place and that they live in a world with agency and that they can change things around them and that they belong and can be fully engaged in that world.