9. Public Education’s Moral Obligation To Co-Create A Socially Sustainable Nation

“What can we do to create public education as an intentional contributor to the centuries-long social sustainability of a democratic nation?”

There is nothing wrong with its original intention to prepare new generations for entering the work force. That is now taken for granted. The transcending intention for public education must be to prepare each generation to contribute to the long term social sustainability of the family and of society. Only through public education’s contribution to the new generations of democratic citizens will the public, their social institutions, and organizations be able to plan, execute, and implement the designs for evolved social structures that will empower democratic nations to transcend the history of all failed nations.

The importance of education comes next after the family for preparing this and all future generations for empowering families, communities, and societies to become socially, politically, and economically stable and peaceful. Just as the family forms the character of tomorrow’s leaders and ingenious citizens, pre-school and K-12 education continues that formative effort.

The family is where the moral and ethical character of the child is formed, where the initial enculturation and socialization of the child is developed that unleashes the innate potential the child brought into life to live successfully in the larger society. The moral mission of education, public and private, is to continue the formative influence of the family and to hone, to embed more deeply, the purpose and meaning of their life as it contributes to the child’s future and to future generations.

Public Education’s Moral Obligation And Co-Responsibility With The Family

The co-responsibility of public education is to prepare each and every new generation to become socially capable, responsible, and competent contributors to the dominant society and culture. What has been missing from the social institutions of the family and education is a complemental multi-generational intention, plan, and programs for socialization and enculturation that give each new generation the capability to socialize and enculturate their own children in the same way.

The role of the parents of the family is to socialize, enculturate, train, and educate their children to know how to initiate their own eventual family and children for their adulthood in society. The role of education with parents is to continue the preparations for those children to learn how to live purposeful, meaningful, and peaceful lives that contribute to the social sustainability of their community and national society. The responsibilities of parent and public education is to jointly prepare the eventual adult for their role and contribution to all future generations.

The immediate message to parents is that public education is not a parental dumping ground for their children, and public education is not a daycare facility for children of any age. It is the parent’s moral obligation and responsibility to retain their parenting roles and responsibilities until the child is able to assume them for him or her self.

Intentions of Public Education in a Socially Sustainable Society

The key to understanding public education’s co-responsible contribution to the social evolution of democratic societies becomes evident when we consider these essential intentions:

1.    Enculturation to maintain the culture of democracy.

2.    Socialization to maintain the family and social interaction.

3.    Sustaining families and democratic societies through the advantages of education.

4.    Sustaining the centuries-long-path of social evolution of democratic societies through the advantages of educated individuals.

5. Preparing potential leaders to become socially, morally, and ethically competent, capable, and responsible for their work ahead. Both the family and public education have a moral and ethical obligation to all future generations to prepare each new generation with the knowledge, training, and skills for moral and ethical decision-making for their future generations.

Public education is not just for the advantage of this generation, but for this generation to carry forward that advantage to all future generations; and equally according to the morality and ethics of the seven values. When families and public education fail those criteria, then their nation has surely forfeit its strategic position and contribution to sustain our global civilization.

The Values Of Public Education

What are the values of and for public education? Are they the same in Atlanta as they are in Azerbaijan? Are they the same in the state of Washington as they are in Western Australia? Just guessing, … probably not. Without the seven values and ethics being applied to educational decision-making, how is public education able to address the universal needs of citizens to grow into their innate potential and to achieve an improving quality of life for themselves and for their nation?  Because the same innate values of all people are the same anywhere in the world, it seems reasonable and logical that the values that drive public education should be the same.

Doing so would serve several purposes, one of which would be the development of values-driven educational programs in the 13,506 school district governments and 178 state dependent school systems in the United States. (Wikipedia)  Doing so would also provide that all children in every school district would receive the education and training they need to explore and develop their innate potential.  Doing so would also develop the innate potential that lies latent in every community and every society.

If we examine the values of public education in any location in any democratic society, the odds are that those values are “interpreted values” and secondary or tertiary interpreted values. Because the seven values of social sustainability provide the ultimate criteria for validating the vision, intention, operating philosophies, missions, goals, and objectives of any organization or association of organizations, they are the obvious values to guide the development of socially sustaining interpreted values of public education in every school district.

Designing and Validating Public Education Policies. The Design Team Process and Schematic (page 133, 167) provide a logical and rational process for evaluating existing interpreted values and beliefs by exposing their unexamined assumptions, the expectations of those beliefs, and the desired results. The primary use will be to design those elements of organizational development that will give public education a sound and sure way to re-create itself as a major contributing social institution.

With that in mind, the following sections of this chapter will examine elements that will be necessary for public education to create itself as being socially sustainable and fully able to make contributions to the sustainability of local communities, societies, and nations.

Educational Organizations’ Priorities Of Decision-Making In A Socially Sustainable Society

Public education and the organic decision-making tree. The “tree” does not directly tell us what public education is to do, but strongly infers that public education via its many related organizations has a moral responsibility and obligation to intentionally contribute to the long term sustainability of communities and societies.

The illustration depicts the reciprocal and symbiotic relationship that exists between the individual/family and educational organizations to jointly support the sustainability of communities and societies in which they both exist.

As explained earlier, the only decision-makers in the decision-making tree of sustainable societies are the family/individuals and organizations. We know what the family is — parents and children. “Educational organizations” may consist of public school boards, school district organizations, parent-teacher associations, associations of school boards, principals, teacher labor unions, and many more organizations that are related to public education.

The long term circular irony of it all is that the individual/family and education are jointly preparing the family’s children to become the eventual foresighted, competent, and effective decision-makers of public educational organizations, and ALL other organizations.

When we recognize and appreciate families and public education organizations are the strategic community and society sustaining decision-makers who quite literally determine the social-societal, political-governmental, and economic-financial quality of life of all future generations of a democratic nation, then we have come a long way to appreciate the necessity of their joined strategic relationship.

The family and educational organizations are the sole creators of our future generation’s quality of life by the quality of the enculturation, socialization, and education they provide to this generation’s children, and to all future generations of children. These are the children who will become the social, cultural, political, economic, educational, intellectual, and spiritual leaders of all organizations, political parties, economic decision-makers, corporations, foundations, and non-profit organizations, to name only a very few.

Public and private education can use the Tree to mold educational programs and curricula to teach pupils and students how to make moral and ethical personal and organizational decisions that contribute to their own personal lives and those of their eventual children and families. When that is in place, then the primary elements of social evolution and sustainability will progress for everyone.

Preparing Public Education And Parents For An Uncertain Future

The need may not seem apparent today, but imagine that some major calamities wiped out 70% of the world’s population. That would include all walks of life, all careers, all positions of authority, control, and power. In such a situation, would you want to bring back the same politics, economic inequality, and social biases that exist now? If that ever occurred, what would you want as the intention for a public education system?

That scenario is not impossible, but more likely than ever before. Preparations to rebuild cannot be engaged when the disaster occurs, but preparation must occur years before: NOW with a clear intention for its existence into the future.

Failing to prepare the social, political, and financial-economic sectors of a democratic society for such a scenario condemns that society to its eventual decline, disintegration, and collapse. In a socially sustainable nation, the work of preparing is not completed until the child has completed their public education.