You may be a redneck if… you’ve spent more on your pickup truck than on your education. The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and critically. Intelligence plus character is its goal. Hmm… Ghana is undergoing an education revolution — and I’m going to investigate…


As school bells bellow another academic year I want to share some sage counsel a rock and roll star once conveyed: If you wanna get laid, kid, go to school, especially college. But if you wanna get an education, go to the library – there you will find paradise.


Unfortunately, cities like my Philadelphia have neither. Oh, we have a wonderful main public library, even though its funding is misspent, misplaced or misappropriated in a politician’s pork belly that isn’t coded in the Dewey Decimal system.

But as the school year opens Philly, like many cities across the USA, can barely afford to crack the doors of its skeletal public schools — not to mention its gap-toothed school libraries. And forget about music, art, sports and the rest of dat stuff we call an education. You know, like the Great Minds of Civilization have stipulated: The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future. And ours.

Try thinking of our public schools like getting a car – without an engine, wheels or seats. Once again, parts are always more valuable than the whole – especially our body parts.

In other words, students: Sit down. Shut up! And snap, crackle and pop open your text books…

Whoops, I forgot, we ain’t got none.

Yet somehow my state (I’m told it is Pennsylvania and not merely a depraved keystone state of mind) is funding a $400 million new air-conditioned prison. Rapacious investors are finding another billion dollars to build yet a grander surfeit of casinos here. And every other desperate taxpayer, wretched to recollect his ephemeral, middle-class, Kodak moment, is buying lottery tickets to get a one-way ticket outta dis place. And dat includes most of duh venal, vapid planet.

Hmm… Sounds like a plan.  Even if it is deleterious.

Silly me… lah-de-dah…And here all this time I thought the purpose of education was to turn mirrors into windows. I thought an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. I thought it was like an old proverb: He who opens a school door closes a prison – even a for-profit one.

Allow me another moment of rant. Besides myself, I am beside something very ugly – like a world of intolerant illiterates. (That’s redundant for you folks who are oxymoron’s.)

Indeed, education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. In other words, to defend a country you may need an army, but to defend a civilization you need education.

Let me put it yet this way: Without schooling, nobody is going anywhere in this here world – except into a very dark hole. No doubt one of those Black Holes where space and time are incompatible.

And then you’ve really got a Big Bang in more than our theoretical blackboard jungles.

Hells, bells! Certainly I cannot be the only angry man raging against the dying of the once brightly burning lights of learning. We aren’t even being subtle about it. It’s downright violent.

And let me poignantly point out this violence is worse than the gas in Syria.  Or, the slaughter in Rwanda. Or even an amok, burned-out, American soldier rampaging in paradoxical Afghanistan where they stone their wives and sleep with their camels.

No, this violence is cruel and sadistic. This violence is minority children, and your children, and your neighbors’ children and the children destined to be our future- ex-inmates all going to public school for 12 years and receiving 6 years’ worth of education… If that.

For most of us this should be more than a mere repulsive irritation in our suburban colons. Perhaps we should have recognized a problem with our education ruse a long time back when someone suddenly discovered – voila! — that only one of the three R’s actually begins with R.

Hello! Yeah you, out there in the bad credit line! Do you see the future we are flushing down our sewerage pipes? Do you understand that human history is a race between education and catastrophe?


We be in deep do-doo. And I can only wonder if America really believes in education when, ironically, the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week…(Read that again for those of you with your wits on dim.)

Yet it’s not like it would take a whole lotta change to fix it. That is, if we comprehend that the first thing we gotta change is our own minds. All we need to do is purge ourselves of the so-called experts. I savor the idea of giving ‘em a five-yard head start before we eye them deliciously in the cross-hair of an elephant gun.

But, of course!

That’s another problem of living in a ’de-educated’ culture too busy watching football: We dumb-and-dumber vacillate between the horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people too seriously.

I mean it. And so do people in a lot of places in the world.

Like Ghana.

In case you can’t locate your GPS, that’s in West Africa. There, right now, they are sowing the seeds of an education revolution. And I hope to visit and write of its incipience shortly. There is a late September scheduled opening of the new village school of critical thinking, and the new library where a man becomes what he reads.

This will be the first of many of the planned schools and libraries with curricula for ‘doubting Thomas’ to be constructed in a country of 20 million folks. Like many nations Ghana spends a much greater percent of it GDP than America on education.

Hmm… Isn’t that a puzzling point of information?

The Ghana project is the result of an alliance with the University of Pennsylvania. But it is mostly the result of blood, sweat and guts of an enterprising 32-year-old Penn undergrad and now grad student from Ghana who landed in America about a dozen years ago with $12 in his pocket.

Since then Justice Nadutey Alandana has not only garnered his Masters degree and now working on his PhD in Educational Philanthropy but he has created a number of small businesses. These, along with support from Penn, Ghana educational leaders and politicians has enabled him to expedite one of his incompatible destinies chosen by his genes, his  g-d and his desire to exercise his meshugga existential free will.

Which, in case you missed that class, is contrary to the indigenous African yoke of Fatalism.

For Justice, education and knowledge begin from ‘doubt.’ To him, an educated person is one who has learned that information almost always turns out to be, at best, incomplete and very often false, misleading, fictitious, mendacious – just dead wrong.

The principle goal of education, as he sees it, should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.

Hmm… to put that more poetically: Much of education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.

Ahh… Whitman or Yeats got nuttin’ on me.

Then again, try saying that to a bunch of rednecks. Or even promoting that thought in cities like Philadelphia.

And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…

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