There is something incredible about spending today at a public school acting as a polling place. Those of us who work here see freedom in action every day. A large part of our mission is to grow productive, engaged citizens. Our mission is purposeful and is not new. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams – friends and rivals – ofen wrote of the importance of an educated populace. Both men believed that the sustained freedom and prosperity of our country rested in education.
Jefferson wrote in 1818.“If the children . . . are untaught, their ignorance and vices will in future life cost us much dearer in their consequences, than it would have done, in their correction, by a good education.” (to Joseph C. Cabell)
Jefferson in 1820.“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” (to Wiliam C. Jarvis, 28 September)
And John Adams, “It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.”
It is an excellent fit to have public schools many of the poling locations across the country. Seeing the long lines of adults coming back to school to exercise their right to vote has them returning to where the roots of this right took hold.