December 04, 2023

Letter to the Editor: Continuing ed

The title is not so much about continuing education, as commonly understood, but its antagonists. We are approaching another legislative session here in Iowa and we need to connect with our elected representatives again about the continuing need to limit what our students are learning to stuff that is only important in operating machinery or contributing in some other form to their employment. Anything beyond the ability to get a job and earn some money should be discouraged.

Afterall, a person really doesn’t need to know anything to get along in this world. Often, knowing stuff is an impairment to earning money, but more often, simply irrelevant. For instance, what has been the current issue in our legislature has been the existence of transgender people. Other than for the fact that our legislature is legislating them out of existence, there is nothing about transgenderdom that needs to be known by any properly trained and employed Iowan. Simply not needed.

If you are gainfully employed, which is the purpose of our school system, you are a successful human being in the eyes of those who matter. Hence, it is not necessary and, indeed, foolish to know more than one needs to know. For most employment, you don’t need to know much — algebra and history for instance. Why do you need to know any math or history to work in a factory producing blades for wind turbines, selling baubles in Walmart; or for that matter selling real estate or pulling teeth.

Banning books has been an integral part of this effort to limit the education of our students to only those things that they need to know to find a job and keep it. Actually, when it comes down to it, our students don’t need books of any kind and there should be an effort to simply ban libraries altogether. Let’s not worry about this book or that book, let’s get rid of all of them. We don’t need them.

You have to realize that book reading really is anti-social in just about every respect. Reading a novel for instance takes considerable time and is cheap, especially if you get it from a library. This is time that you could be out spending money, buying stuff, and otherwise engaging with other people in approved activities. It’s for cheapskates or for people who don’t have anything better to do.

So, the long and the short of it is, let’s get with our elected representatives before the legislative session begins and give our encouragement to their continuing effort to see to it that our schools produce graduates who know only enough to be productive members of society. Anything more is irrelevant and possibly dangerous. We don’t want people thinking about global warming, civil rights, and basic freedoms and such — not necessary; or sitting around reading books. As long as our standard of living is maintained we don’t care about all that other stuff.

Richard E. H. Phelps II