Is Education Really That Important? (Part 2) Inspiration by Joel Wagner - June 25, 2007July 5, 20103 After my first post this morning, I realized that I actually met a few high school dropouts yesterday. One was mentioned in the previous post. On the flip side were two other young ladies I had lunch with. These women were 22 and 29 years old. One finished 11th grade and the other was kicked out of school after assaulting a teacher and principal in 8th grade. Both of them met while living in a rehabilitation type home run by people from a local church. Admittedly, they grew up in the inner city, while the other young lady grew up in a South Texas Border Town. Environment was different from that standpoint. But demographically, they would all be listed the same with the government. Hispanic females who dropped out of school. Victims of the system, some would say. What is the difference between these dropouts The primary difference that I noted was one of ambition. The first girl very clearly wants to be successful. She has a dream of being a gospel singer worth $3.6 million within five years. She wants to open a dance academy. She wants to work her way up in the company that she is currently working on, or else move on and find another venue to use her skilset. She has determination. I asked the 22 year-old to tell me three things she would like to accomplish with her life and her answer was: I’ll get back to you on that. She finally decided that she’d like to buy something nice for her children, maybe a house. We see that another difference is setting specific goals. The younger one has very specific goals. She knows exactly what she wants. If she doesn’t reach her specific goals and ends up becoming a gospel singer worth $3.4 million, she’ll still be all right. The primary difference I noticed is a eagerness to learn, or a having teachable spirit. These are keys to any kind of success, but they were elaborated in reality for me. It’s sad to see people who are 22 and 29 who are unemployed, have no creditable education, and seemingly have very few opportunities for advancement. Whether people stay in school or drop out, the key ultimately is education. If you are in school and don’t want to learn, you are wasting your own time, the time of others (teachers and students), and tax money. If you are not in school and do learn, you are advancing your own skills. Ideally, and probably the easiest way through, is to finish school, but there are enough success stories that prove finishing school is not the only way to be successful. Joel WagnerJoel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.