Include lifelong learning in education discussion
Gary Earl Ross’ Another Voice, “Education problems belong to the entire community,” should help spark a long-overdue community discussion.
Buffalo’s central question in the 21st century should go beyond asking: How do we improve high school graduation rates and test scores? Indeed, we should ask: How do we better use our existing community resources to help create a culture where lifelong learning is valued and expected?
No global community will prosper without helping solve human needs through products or services developed through research and continuous lifelong learning. Our developing downtown medical campus is just one example of that awareness in medicine and the health-related service field. In the private sector, companies disappear to competitors when lifelong learning is not valued.
Our library system, cultural institutions and all educational organizations should be key players in transforming our community into an imaginative lifelong learning center through creative programing. This programing should receive the generous support of the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. All have a necessary role to play. Exhibits can provide the opportunity for appreciating our past so we can better imagine our future.
An example is the current renaissance in Buffalo, which has its roots in our increased appreciation of the city’s design, park system, architecture, history and geography by fresh water. Buffalo, as a visitor and tourist destination, is becoming an enjoyable lifelong learning center.
We should begin the community discussion focusing on determining and describing the elements that make a community healthy, wealthy and sustainable in the 21st century. That should be part of our common goal. The Imagine Lecture Series every Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the downtown Buffalo and Erie County Public Library has recently begun that discussion.