On Thought and Education

“Monday Musings” for Monday February 22, 2016
Volume VI. No. 8/268

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Thinking Things Through

By Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA*

(Editor’s note: Running the series of six articles on ‘Brain and Behavior’ without interruption has caused delayed publication of other subjects on a timely. We are attempting to catch up in the next few weeks. Below should have been published on Monday January 25, 2016.)

 

SIGNIFICANT DATE

January 25, which according to the work of scholars of the New Testament, was the day Saul converted to Paul on his way to Damascus in some circles is a Holy Day. The four Doctors of Latin in the Catholic Church, namely St Jerome (347-420), Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Pope Gregory (540-604) and Saint Ambrose (337-397), along with scores of other scholars including, Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274, author of Suma Theologica) and Saint Anthony of the Desert (251-356) all agree that conversion of Saint Paul took place on Jan 25. May this awareness enrich everyone’s intellect and faith. Saint Paul and Pauline theology have much to offer. As children of God, we are given the gifts of love, hope, faith, redemption and possibilities. It is a joy to connect with our inner self, abandon greed and arrogance, and connect—ligate—the origin of the word “religion”, which means re-connect, with our maker.

AMERICAN EDUCATION

American public education is in the bottom of the barrel. It is even worse in NC which ranks 45th or 46th out of 50. All the sages of old and new from Plato and Augustine of Hippo to writer, educator and Emeritus President of Harvard University, Derek Bok, agree that education is “turning toward higher things…” Education takes a student eager to learn, a knowledgeable teacher eager to teach, and a safe environment where the teaching takes place. Turning toward higher things does not call for marble palaces and high paying executives who run around in three piece suit carrying black leather attaches, and folks with exalted titles such as “assistant to the deputy of…,” running around with clipboards quoting US Codes and Titles.

No reflection on our new board of county commissioners, board of education and administration, and no judgment on how we budget for education, I really do not believe adding layers of bureaucracy is going to help our children’s math or English scores. We will still be in the forties and with the added weight we might even sink farther down. Let’s get serious about teaching and quit wasting time, money and energy on appearances.

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*The writer is Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, Distinguished Life fellow American Psychiatric Association, Life Member, American Medical Association; Life Member, Southern Medical Association, and Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Wake County Physician Magazine (1995-2012).
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