The Best Dadgum Education

First Lady Michelle Obama's new education program brings up questions about how Bob Jones can improve our local education.

Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama announced she will be working with Akie Abe, the wife of Japan’s prime minister, as well as the Peace Corps to educate adolescent girls in various third world countries through the program Let Girls Learn by training foreign teachers and supplying school systems this year. According to U.S. Aid website, over 62 million girls are not in school compared to only 27 million boys who are rejected from education. Senior at Bob Jones, Alyssa Kennedy, revealed she “feel[s] bad because no one should be excluded from education.”

The large gender gap in education opportunities does not supply girls with the necessary knowledge they deserve. Rejecting education to the female demographic not only deprives their ambitions to learn but leaves millions of girls unaware of the risks of STDs, enabling high risk and early pregnancies, and increases the rate of abusive and forced marriages.

Here at Bob Jones, every student has been given equal opportunity to learn. Do we sometimes take this for granted? Perhaps by leveling the gender gap in foreign countries, our homeland education system can be further improved.

Cynthia Huskey, librarian at Bob jones High School, described her observation that “boys tend to be more vocal, especially in upper classes whereas girls tend to succeed in lower classes. Genders tend to work with the same gender”.  Senior Alyssa Kennedy, editor of Bob Jones’ Literary Magazine, noted her experiences of having a leadership opportunity as editor. “I haven’t noticed a lot of gender differences, partially because I see strong leadership from both genders in Bob Jones.” Having role models for leadership in education for both genders is imperative to create an optimal education system. “People will recognize intellect in their leaders, so it is important to have this option available to all,” Kennedy further explains. Giving a more comfortable and available environment for girls in foreign countries may inspire a more well-rounded education for all genders and give girls the confidence they need to excel. While Huskey commented that archaic gender divides are ‘”abhorrent…we’ve got our own problems here that Michelle should focus on fixing. Maybe it’s just easier to ignore our education system by improving another.”

Kyna Schutzbach, math teacher at Bob Jones, mentioned that “there should be help for everyone” despite foreign and homeland demands. “Help literally everyone. Don’t discriminate by gender,” Schutzbach stated.

When questioned, teachers across the board at Bob Jones High School, including Mrs. Huskey, Mrs. Schutzbach, and Mr. Craft, described the improvements they would like to see in education, both foreign and domestic. Healthy competition, charter schools, higher paid teachers, revisiting tenure protection, and promoting progressive learning strategies were most common suggestions.

A student from an Eastern country who attends Bob Jones and wishes to remain anonymous feels that “everyone should have the freedom to learn and that 62 million girls not having an education is awful.” Although this person believes that even if the campaign proves unsuccessful, the message and the meaning of Let Girls Learn most importantly raises awareness on the issue of discriminating education. Replying to the question of how beneficial and successful Michelle Obama’s program will be, she stated, “I think there will be many problems along to way because some girls’ parents would rather them stay home where they know they are safe and so they can work.” Her response was very similar to Michelle Obama speaking to The Wall Street Journal, “Many parents in the developing world are afraid their daughters will be sexually assaulted while walking to or from school.”

Similar to this anonymous student’s desire to learn, Alyssa Kennedy continues to state, “Education gives the information people need to make informed decisions.” In the town of rockets, engineers, and most PhDs per capita, Bob Jones students are highly motivated towards education. However, sometimes we may forget what it took for us to have that opportunity.