These Kids Could Tutor World Leaders

Mar 28, 2018 · 73 comments
SusanB (Peachtree City)
Is it not possible that politicians are not interested in educating the children in their respective countries? An educated child becomes a thinking individual, and a thinking individual will not tolerate a corrupt government, and those that are in power will be voted out of office. The less educated the populace, the more powerful are those rulers who made it into office and remain in office nefariously.
Snaggle Paws (Home of the Brave)
72 comments? Come on, Lackadaisica ! Revive your personal purpose and never lose your Student ID. Do you support this administration spending Congressional appropriated funds? Or do we allow humanitarian relief / developmental opportunity to go fallow; AND LATER expect a world full of weeds to be productive? Consider these remarks of the United Nation's Member States Briefing on the Central African Republic, 19 March 2018: "As humanitarians continue to save lives and alleviate suffering, it is critical that development actors step up their efforts to address the root causes of the crisis." "This year, the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for the Central African Republic requires almost US$516 million, but so far only 2 percent has been received. Last year, the HRP – in the whole year – received only 39 per cent of its $497 million requirement." "I want to take this opportunity to thank our esteemed donors for their continued support, which allowed the humanitarian community to meet the needs of 1.3 million people in 2017,.."
Garz (Mars)
These kids have neither the education nor the wealth to influence anybody.
Maria G. (Las Vegas)
Teach kids and they will cease the future, ignore them and they will despair. It is so simple, but we choose billions to the Pentagon.
Barbara (SC)
There is no better investment for the future than education, both in the United States and throughout the world. I can see a world in which more education could lead to less war (I can hope, right?). Certainly there is no question that people fare better when they are more educated than when they are uneducated. It hurts to think that a child must sell food in the streets to be able to attend school, but I love that she has the spunk to do it--and not sleep with her teacher to get money. Today is an apt time for this column, as Malala tours Pakistan for the first time since she was shot for daring to go to school. All children everywhere, girls as well as boys, need education. The world depends on them for its future--and education prepares them to make better decisions and to live better.
Don Blume (West Hartford, CT)
Unfortunately, it is quite clear that one world leader is unteachable, and he happens to occupy our White House.
Kalahun (Sedona, AZ)
This piece appears to be a continuation of your blog "The education crisis you haven’t heard about, " at least the dates are the same. I think your comments are very unfair to organizations like "Books for Africa" and others who are dedicated to actually solving the problems and not just moralizing about it. Instead of constantly finger pointing, take a breath and give credit where it is due.
Mel EXTINE (Portland Or)
Thank you for confirming that there’s plenty of money to solve this huge problem. I just want to point out that as a middle class newer mother, I’m shocked by the real cost of daycare/preschool in the US. I’ve also spent seven years as a high school teacher and I’ve been disappointed by the inefficiency of always trying to patch up kids’ problems when they’re older and most of their brain development has already happened. Why don’t we invest in kids early on when we can get the most bang for our buck?!? As you said in the article, it’s a wise economic investment, it’s humane, and there’s enough money out there if we prioritize children above our GIJoe fascination.
kat perkins (Silicon Valley)
It is very clear from years of data that world powers, mostly men, want war over education.
Diana (Phoenix)
As a teacher, it never ceases to amaze me that the American public tolerates our lack of investment in education. We are not babysitters, people. We are like grossly underfunded doctors. Imagine if your doctor made 40K a year? What kind of medical practice would that look like? I'm glad I'm finally seeing strikes and protests around the country. Time to wake up America. The only time our tax dollars are working for us are when our rules are shaking in their books. Time to shut things down in order to prioritize. I'm sick of paying for endless war.
Melissa NJ (NJ)
I hope when you say World Leaders you mean the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates, our politicians have never and will never be World Leaders, their developmental history does not allow them to be so.
Blackmamba (Il)
American public school education is primarily dependent upon separate and unequal local and state taxes. While American foreign annual foreign aid is 1% of the federal budget aka $ 40 billion. Most American aid abroad is arms and ammo.
jim guerin (san diego)
Thank you Nicholas. The road to social change begins with grammar school, and really begins when the kids can understand the world system that keeps them in poverty. Yes, I'm a liberal guy who supports teachers and unions and the creation of a social consciousness. The role of education is to create an critical and active citizenry. the same types of educated people that certain political types attack and attempt to silence. I think we all know what's really at stake.
Snaggle Paws (Home of the Brave)
"I bet they're asleep in New York. I bet they're asleep all over America. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, (teacher Bertrand Golbé and students Doria Seleyanca, Lionelle Ngombe, Teddy Sanguibe) walk into mine." In the film Casablanca, America's isolationism was addressed when the capable, but disillusioned-by-the-past persona finally came forward heroically to embrace the championess of caring. Another parallel is that essentially all of our resources are going toward "winning the war". Mr Kristof roughly calculates THE BARGAIN within reach: "for about one-half of 1 percent of global military spending, the world could vanquish illiteracy forever by ensuring that every child completes primary school." Mr Kristof's 22-year-old charge, Tyler Pager, drew refreshing water from that most-difficult OVERSEAS well. Of course, I fixated on "Is it EASY to fixate?" My short answer is: Yes, the faintest smell of destructive nationalism sends me running for a fire hose and shouting for firewomen and firemen.
Kurt Pickard (Murfreesboro, TN)
I think you got it backwards Nick. In order to be able to learn and retain knowledge, let alone think, one needs to be well nourished. Knowing how seeds germinate and grow takes a back seat to knowing how to plant, harvest and nourish one's body. Knowledge may well feed the head but not the body. Let's concentrate on keeping the horse before the cart.
PT (Melbourne, FL)
Nick, As usual you are right on point. This problem could indeed be solved -- if world leaders (and their intransigent Congresses) wanted to solve it. Moreover, it should be solved. Killing (armaments) instead of teaching is a repugnant way to run our world. But I have a small nit with you... you have not spoken out about the courageous kids in our country who are fighting to reverse our insane gun laws. I regard your voice as one of the most influential in the NYT... please speak up on it (I realize you are in Africa on a trip... but this is happening now). We need to build a movement from this moment. And you have spoken eloquently before.
Paul (Shelton, WA)
Nicholas: Yes, great strides could be made. What we could also do is FIX our our education system before worrying about those of others. "Physician, heal thyself" comes to mind. We are in desperate need to teach ALL our children to read as fluently as they talk. Currently, 40% of high school "graduates" cannot read or cannot read functionally (above 4th grade). 40%!!! Here are our literacy statistics. Education should be ashamed of their outcomes. They just continue doing harder and faster what isn't working well enough and labeling the students who aren't reading proficiently and giving them drugs. They are almost ALL basing their reading practice on wrong theory. Here's the correct theory. It gets amazing results, even with dyslexics, etc. No, I'm not connected to them.
KarlosTJ (Bostonia)
Unfortunately Progressives in the US want to continue to shower the public school system with more money that somehow has never actually improved the education of American children. And here the CAR is doing a better job, without such funding. Abolish public schools, and let teachers freely teach as they know best. We did it once, we can do it again.
Kim Susan Foster (Charlotte, NC)
Because these poor conditions exist, I say that we don't have World Leaders yet. A World Leader would get rid of these poor conditions. Don't call them World Leaders if they are not.
Carol Frances Johnston (Indianapolis)
The Umoja Project of the Global Interfaith Partnership in Indianapolis is not only addressing this in impoverished rural Kenya, but is working with churches and schools to help AIDS orphans stay in school and flourish - and as they reach secondary school, they are in turn helping younger kids. The schools are creating school gardens to feed kids lunch and teach them gardening skills that they need. Some two hundred teens in Indy lead the fund raising that pays their secondary school fees.
Carol Ring (Chicago)
"The U.S. has invested enormously in the military toolbox to reshape the world... For the cost of deploying one U.S. soldier abroad for a year, we can start at least 20 schools." This says it all. Education isn't even important in this country. Look at all the underfunded schools while the military gets ever more money. The US is not a leader of the world. So much possibility has been lost. How 2 Men Pushed Foreign Interests in Trump’s White House Pink Gloves and a Red Truck: Tracking the Austin Bomber Bolton Snapped Up Facebook Data From Cambridge Analytica
Hypatia (California)
To keep this problem from compounding endlessly, with its frustrated hopes and smashed dreams of young people, it seems that the focus on education should first and foremost be birth control. There is no good reason to have child after child after child that cannot be adequately fed ("I eat one meal a day,") sheltered, and educated. But for the kids already here -- imagine what the U.S. could do with a fraction of the money we spend on our overfunded military.
Valerie Elverton Dixon (East St Louis, Illinois)
First, let us be clear that American militarism is a federal jobs program in disguise. Next, education is vital, but will not be properly funded neither at home nor abroad until we break the military-industrial complex.
Jeanie LoVetri (New York)
Educated people are much harder to manipulate. They are less likely to blindly endorse leaders who offer them the world and deliver nothing. We could use more education in every part of the world, especially in poor countries, but look how many people in the USA are poorly educated. Even the teachers are not broadly educated. Mrs. DeVos wants to make it worse. Bombs and weapons instead of food, clothing and shelter. Starving education. A good recipe for Trump et al and for the likes of No. Korean Kim. Keep up the good work, Nick.
Ockham9 (Norman, OK)
As always, thank you for this thought-provoking essay. They kernel of the message is “By my back-of-envelope calculations, for about one-half of 1 percent of global military spending, the world could vanquish illiteracy forever by ensuring that every child completes primary school.” But connect this with your previous op-ed, ‘Conflict is more profitable than peace,’ and we can see why little is being done. The Trump administration argues ‘America First’ and in its view, educating the world only means more competition for American workers; better to keep them ignorant and less threatening. And if that doesn’t work, we always have military power to bludgeon them into submission. Shame!
Joshua Schwartz (Ramat-Gan, Israel)
Mr. Kristof says very little here about the Central African Republic and why such a potentially rich country is so poor and unhealthy. It is not just their education system that needs to be overhauled and fixing their education system is probably impossible and unlikely in a vacuum.
YReader (Seattle)
I hope Bill & Melinda Gates read this article.
TSD (Fort Worth)
"The evidence suggests that [education] reduces extremism, empowers women, and promotes development." We should be helping educate everyone in the world but, instead, the abysmal education opportunities for many here in the states foment home-grown extremism and misogyny, while our infrastructure crumbles. Education is the answer to empower us and to encourage us to help uplift others . . . but we are living in an age of Trump and GOP idiocy.
Peter (CT)
Any parent or child in this country could tutor Betsy Devos on the same subject. The world's problems won't be solved by the uneducated/uninformed - and we are out to prove it. Again.
Ian MacFarlane (Philadelphia)
An education, regardless the cost, isn't wasted unless the educated person, like the bombs destroyed in war, is killed in combat. Seems to be the paradigm used by our Departments of Education and Defense. Educate them so they can be sent off as cannon fodder. Christ will be resurrected on Sunday how about resurrecting reason?
MoneyRules (New Jersey)
My 9 year old son could tutor the President of the United States on impact of human activity on global climate.
sj cutler (Vermont)
Moving account. How can individuals heip?
ChesBay (Maryland)
I'll never lose my admiration for these children, here, and elsewhere in the war-torn world, who refuse to give up, refuse to lose hope, refuge to be deterred, even at risk of life. There is no adequate way to help them, without going there, yourself. The so-called charities just aren't getting the job done, and the governments are unreliable, as they struggle to enrich themselves, no matter how many lives are sacrificed.
Alexander Harrison (Wilton Manors, Fla.)
RLS:"Vous cherchez midi a quatorze heures(You ask for the impossible)!" Mil. indus, complex has been in catbird seat--Red Barber's colorful phrase--since Nov '63 for reasons which are elucidated by conspiracy realists like Jim Garrison, Forget about reducing number of generals or defense contracts and using money to fund int. education. Ain't gonna happen!Taught for 4 years in w. African schools, including 1 in war zone in Basse Casamance in Senegal, and situation could be much improved, but is not so dire as Mr. KRISTOF portrays. Had students who were eager to learn, serious and more determined than many of their spoiled American counterparts.Problem with NK, no se ofenda, is that while he dramatizes a problem,he is reluctant to make any personal investment, like sponsoring a family from war torn C.A.R. to the US. Should he just go there,spend a few days, elucidate lack of resources, and walk away?Of course schools in Africa lack resources and pitching in to help 1 family to get to US, "land of abundance."will not solve overall problem,but it's like the image of throwing a pebble into a stream in hopes that it will create ripples and encourage others to do likewise!Making his readers aware of a crisis w/o making a personal effort to palliate it is not a good thing.Let NK and others who bemoan state of education in African nations match actions to their words! Good number of fellow TFA volunteers whom I worked with sponsored families, and with positive results.
ChesBay (Maryland)
Read up on Nicholas Kristof. He has been touted as the "conscience" of Africa. He works very hard to shine a light on the issues that assail most Africans. How much can one man do? You seem to think that your contribution is much better than his. I salute you, but there are thousands doing what you have done. Every one of them, including Nicholas Kristof, are to be commended.
Mike Wilson (Lawrenceville, NJ)
We make the mistake that to support human learning it requires a teacher. Learning depends on experiences. We can produce the experiences that people need to do almost any learning and avoid the problems learners have finding decent teachers. The world can provide the learning needed by identifying the experiences needed.
Sandipt Mishra (Visakhapatnam,India)
Education is the key to growth of an individual and progress of any civilisation.Though the present world is facing many challenges;the biggest single challenge is literacy and education.Let the world turn its attention to it more specifically.The sad part is that there is also disparity in educational opportunities in poorer and rich countries or war torn places.The article is an eye opener to the harsh reality.The lack of tutors can be fulfilled by recruiting from countries where trained people are available. Sandipt Mishra Visakhapatnam India
Alan MacDonald (Wells, Maine)
As I often find, Kristof, the most humanistic and insightful among the "Times'" fine columnists, has focused upon a seminal factor in this piece on education. This story of developing world teaching, the teacher, the students, and the economic oppression against education is instructive as a parable. First I would just mention without being critical that Nicholas's quote of the teacher, “It’s hard to learn without a paper or pen,” Bertrand Golbé, is not quite true, and I only say that because of the importance of recognizing that the absence of the 'Socratic method' of teaching is precisely what is missing everywhere (particularly in the U.S. and our anti-enlightenment, anti-political, anti-critical-thinking, and merely 'trading-oriented') suppression of broader education. The awful lack of funding and attention to liberal democratic education, which Nicholas so clearly diagnoses in his column, IMHO, is causally related to the global ruling-elite's entirely correct fear that, at heart, the greatest danger to this little diagnosed and effectively disguised global capitalist Empire is that education is the sworn enemy of Empire. Slave owners in the American south (and throughout history) have known that education is the biggest danger to their corrupted and unfair system of wealth creation and accumulation, and this modern 21st century global system of Empire knows it still.
Douglas McNeill (Chesapeake, VA)
Our willful blindness is not limited to education. In my chosen field of medicine, public health and prevention are woefully underfunded, insufficiently taught and underappreciated while gobs of money rush to provide heart transplants or heroic cancer treatments. This continues to go on despite the history of the greatest medical advances are those of low tech, high touch efforts such as a sanitary water supply or promotion of a healthy diet and lifestyle ("Mens sane in corpore sano"). An ounce of prevention is clearly worth more than a pound of cure in medicine and education.
WillT26 (Durham, NC)
The best leverage we have to change the world is contraception. Too many people Mr. Kristof. When there are too many people everyone is worse off. Mr. Kristof- how does overpopulation play into the issues you see and write about? Every issue, in the world, seems to be about how much money the US gives. Our lack of donations for schools is not really the problem though. The problem is 7 billion people- each person struggling to get the most. Well there is no more to be divided- there is actually a lot less. And every year moving forward it is a safe bet that there will be less for everyone. There will be 10 billion people by 2050. The US better start putting aside some money for schools. And food and clean water. Things are going to get a lot worse. Thank goodness there will be so many people. I think we should suspect a lot of losses from climate change and resource wars. A lot.
Miss Ley (New York)
'President Barack Obama promised as a candidate to start a $2 billion global education fund', but he was impeded all the way by our complaints, our obstructing him and wishing him to the blazes. The words Shame and Remorse feature in this picture for this American. An acquaintance from another African nation visited recently at lunch while in town for a meeting with our humanitarian agency for global children's welfare. Tall and strong, wearing a becoming red dress, she told this American of The Tragedy of South Sudan, and when we bid each other farewell, I asked news of her sister, a teacher with a school of her own, who had been ill. My friend paused, drawing herself to full height, and we held on to each other for a moment in time, knowing that on occasion words fall short in the most dire of times. Where is Obama, asked my 95 year-old aunt, who left last week. He has a civic foundation in Chicago, I replied, and is encouraging The Young from all Nations to visit with their vision, their input, their skills and care for Humanity. When he was younger, he wanted to be an architect. I could hear my relation smile on the phone. Education for Children, All Children, and for those who took a Stand in America this weekend last on gun-control, an open air viewing for free of 'Hamilton' in Washington, D.C., while President Trump goes on military parade and creates jobs with walls.
Tony (New York City)
We don't educate children in the urban cities of America, charter schools are making money for Wall Street. We all know education is the way out of poverty, however , Gates, Duncan Rhee,Bloomberg ed reformers list is endless and they are only changing education in the inner cities and there success rate cant be measured since they don't believe in following the rules of public schools because they are innovators etc. America is ensuring with twenty years of failed education reform we have not prepared inner city children for the world. No competition from those students, just build more for profit prisons. American racism runs deep and so of course when President Obama wanted to take action the white racist politicians who are giving a pass to Trump on everything stood in the way. Trump has cut funding for health care for Africa, but the religious right want to talk about how he is a man of God. Under this administration the only thing they want to do is destroy, that is why we need to vote in these midterms and send a message that we are not going to allow hate to rule. We have much to do and each day with this administration's inspires people to be part of the solutions.
Blue Moon (Old Pueblo)
"Education is also a bargain: By my back-of-envelope calculations, for about one-half of 1 percent of global military spending, the world could vanquish illiteracy forever by ensuring that every child completes primary school." Good luck, it hasn't happened yet; just follow the money, the military has clout, and the military-industrial complex knows how to get money and sustain itself, educators typically do not; expecting the military to give up resources is like getting blood from a stone. "The World Bank found that only 0.3 percent of teachers in Mozambique have the minimum knowledge needed to teach, along with 0.1 percent of teachers in Madagascar. In Niger, it’s just plain 0 percent." Maybe try Hollywood? The animated movie "Madagascar" (2005) made about half a billion dollars in profit; think the producers would like to contribute a little to education there in return?
Patrick Moynihan (RI)
I hope Bill and Melinda Gates, Bono and all those who are putting health initiatives first read this article. Kristof is correct. Education should be the first and most funded development action. 30 years of education work at The Haitian Project's Louverture Cleary school, a tuition free, Catholic secondary boarding school has produced graduates that earn 10 times the income of their immediate neighbors, have not died of HIV/AIDS, have not had children at 14, have not been unable to pay for the education of their own children. Education cures and prevents better than any medicine. It feeds a life for ever. Ends poverty.
esp (ILL)
Saw the same kind of classrooms and motivation when I lived in Tanzania. Often the classes were held in "churches" which looked exactly like the one in the first picture. The kids were also provided a small amount of porridge because it was often their only meal. No Facebook. No twitter, No TV, No video games, No school buses, No computers, Not even any electricity. Just those blackboards and eager to learn children. What we could learn in the United States. Global education talked about by the United States? Interesting. The United States cannot even provide adequate education for many of the kids in the United States.
TM (Accra, Ghana)
"By my back-of-envelope calculations, for about one-half of 1 percent of global military spending, the world could vanquish illiteracy forever by ensuring that every child completes primary school." Priorities, eh? I visited a small Masai village a couple of years ago, just outside the Serengeti. They weren't poor (the Masai are excellent at bargaining!), but they still lived in cow-dung covered huts - even the US-educated son of the tribe's leader. What was amazing to me was my visit to the tiny, primitive school just outside the village. The children were overwhelmingly excited to share their knowledge of English, spelling, fundamental mathematics, etc. We're certainly headed in the right direction - and when I watched American students taking the lead in making major changes to our gun culture, I have great hope that this is the generation that will wipe out illiteracy across the planet. Unless, of course, the dinosaurs in our generation continue to prefer military spending. We really need to keep an eye on those people.
Nicholas (Outlander)
I wish this would have been a personal request to Mark Zuckerberg asking him to have a change of heart like Carnegie had when he gave his entire wealth to The Gospel Of Wealth, opening thousands of schools and libraries. He could call it The Pledge To Education. And it would take care of the entire world, wouldn't it?
Svirchev (Route 66)
I had the chance to spend time in Niger, in the desert. The French colonial system, cruel as it was, had left behind a basic educational system. The desert people were divided by language groups, all of them multilingual, many spoke English as well as French. I found that the poorest of desert people had a better knowledge of world affairs than the average American: they listened to the news broadcast by the English and French. They were starved for education and soaked it up whenever they had a chance. Mr Kristof, thanks for bringing this to our attention.
Gary Valan (Oakland, CA)
As always, thanks for the Op-Ed. But, as citizens how can we help, individually? On my own, I cannot reshape Federal Government policy. Heck, I can't make myself heard in City Government. But if you recommend non-profits who are doing good works in this area, not just going through the motions, I'll contribute what I can. Until then I feel helpless when I read these articles but can do nothing worthwhile.
Lets Speak Up (San Diego)
Gary, you can contribute by volunteering in organizations that fit with your cause.
Miss Ley (New York)
If you are able and have a pocket, Mr. Valan, you might wish to give a donation to UNICEF, or The Catholic Relief Services for one, and The Red Cross to be also remembered as always being on emergency site. There are '344 emergencies. 108 countries. Millions of young lives saved', reported by UNICEF who responded to the above in 2016. We can navigate on 'a penny saved is a penny earned', or give a penny for humanity.
B. Ligon (Greeley, Colorado)
It is a travesty that wealthy countries or more so, wealthy people don't use some of their money to help these kids with basic supplies so they can be educated. Imagine what the NRA, Koch brothers, Apple and Facebook owners, and the rest of the 1%ers can do, if they use a fraction of their campaign contributions to educate those who don't have the means, rather than electing the no good individuals who are in charge of our country right now.
tmonk677 (Brooklyn, NY)
In this instance e don't blame wealthy nations for failing Africa. There are plenty of African leaders who don't really care about their people as the article states.
Rev Wayne (Dorf PA)
“Last year a teacher offered her money and good grades if she would sleep with him — but she refused and he backed off. “I don’t know if I can stay in school,” she said gamely, “but I will try.” Yes, there are young people who should be shaming many “leaders.” We have well educated congressional leaders, but for a variety of reasons (greed, influence of the NRA, simplistic 2nd Amendment views, etc.) refuse even to help end the carnage by outlawing assault weapons. Education, unfortunately, can’t make a moral individual. I did weep to hear how little many youth have -just the basics of paper, pencil, desk)( while I own more electronic equipment than they will ever likely touch. And, yes, we could educate the world if we reduced our funding of the military-industrial complex (Eisenhower). After all, we have more aircraft carriers than the rest of the nations on this planet. When do we say enough? When do we let well educated people speak about our environment rather than the corrupted politicians whose education is being wasted on their politics.
tmonk677 (Brooklyn, NY)
Your arguments against military spending may be reasonable, but don't believe that America can solve the world.s educational problems. Indeed, we spend billions of dollars in the US on education with very mixed results.
Brian Turner (Perth, Western Australia)
Fantastic opinion piece Nicholas. I would also say that education in the US could also use a large boost...
SilverSword (Lincoln, NE)
Tell us what the most effective way to donate to these schools is. The best tool for peace, hope, and betterment of futures is a good education---it is needed for all children world-wide. But instead we fail kids by wasting money on more and more military spending and wars instead.
R Steven Gumbay (Yangon, Myanmar)
I have been an international educator for over 20 years now. I have taught, lived, and worked closely with students, parents, and communities, in 6 very different countries in Africa and in Asia. The education crisis is very real and at all levels of society. It is rare to find a nation that has prioritized investing in its young people. The list cited can be counted on one hand. Africa is fraught with lack of infrastructure and terrible corruption in so many forms that only the children of the elite are educated - usually abroad. In countries where economies are growing the trend continues where the 'new wealthy' take care of their children in private international schools and everyone else suffers through government schools. There is rampant incompetency within the teaching ranks and systems are glued together, barely, my a core group of incredibly impassioned, dedicated, and highly competent teachers. Most importantly: the young people are wonderful, bright, eager to to learn, and rewarding to work with and mentor. I encourage readers who find this column inspiring or personally meaningful to get involved with schools and with classrooms - and with students. Develop relationships and make a difference. When you travel, visit schools, particularly in rural areas where communities are incredibly supportive of education. However, when you truly realize the hundreds of millions of young minds that are not be fed and nurtured, it is a concussion to one's soul.
Carolyn (Portland Oregon)
Speaking of education, do you ever consider taking a college student from a community college on these trips? What an education that would be for a kid who doesn't have the opportunity to attend a fancy college or study abroad. Just a suggestion
Carol Ring (Chicago)
"The U.S. has invested enormously in the military toolbox to reshape the world... For the cost of deploying one U.S. soldier abroad for a year, we can start at least 20 schools." This says it all. Education isn't even important in this country. Look at all the underfunded schools while the military gets ever more money. The US is not a leader of the world. So much possibility has been lost.
Cathy Astuto (NJ)
Your words truly should shake us awake. If we don't help those who truly need it what does that say about us as a people? Yes there are children who do come to school hungry but if we can we feed them, we give them love, and we support them. How can we neglect these children any longer and sleep at night? Thank Mr. Kristof for your caring heart and words.
Janice Nelson (Park City, UT)
I think this is wonderful and I wish those kids the absolute best. However, we have kids right here in the US who have no breakfast before school. Many are food insecure. Some of the inner city schools do not even have textbooks. And we are a wealthy nation. We need to fix our own schools as well.
Padme (Solana Beach)
Thank you for a wonderful article. It broke my heart but I will keep thinking about it.
AZ (Palo Alto, CA)
A sobering and inspiring report, Nicholas. Many thanks for this, for your ongoing work and dedication, and for your win-a-trip program. Bringing along a privileged and resourced student (in this case Northwestern and Oxford) plants important seeds for the future in terms of educating our own sorely-in-need-a-global-perspective populace. My own college travel and learning experiences in developing countries changed my perspective and now 30+ years later I'm working in philanthropy in support of Indigenous-led initiatives around the world preserving and strengthening traditional culture and lifeways, language, equity, human rights, etc. What I see both fills and breaks my heart. And what I continue to learn is that these people and cultures have at least as much to offer us westerners as we have to offer them, if we were to only recognize it. We are all globally interdependent – increasingly so – whether we realize it or not. Indigenous Peoples' – especially Indigenous women's – strength, resiliency, thirst for self-determination, dignity, and commitment to human rights, love of their community and families, and Nature – is not only inspiring, but has profound survival value for all of us as we move into the future...together. Please keep up your great work, Nicholas. Yours is a rare and critically needed voice within mainstream media.
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita, Kansas)
Remember the old slogan from our Hippie Days : What If Schools all had enough Money, and the Air Force had to hold a Bake Sale to buy a new Plane ????? What indeed. Thank you, Nick.
ellen luborsky (NY, NY)
I think students here would find this inspiring. They might decide to raise money to help these kids eat & learn.
LoG (Boston)
What an amazing piece. Yes please tell us how we can directly help the students in these schools financially. What aid organizations should we contact?
ZPS (Los Angeles)
Nick, is there any way to donate to the school? I would like to help. Thank you for your tireless work shining a light on the plight of our struggling human brothers and sisters across the globe.
Thomas (Galveston, Texas)
Thank you Mr. Kristof for this informative article. It seems to me that the current world order is so imbalanced. Children fortunate to be born in wealthy countries have a good chance at life and those born in poorer countries, which is the majority of the world population, start with a disadvantage. Isn't something wrong with the current world order as far as children are concerned? Children don't get a chance to decide which country they wish to be born in. Imagine what it would be like if the whole world was regarded as just one country and all the world's children as its citizens.
Paul (Shelton, WA)
Imagine that all the religions got along and nobody was demanding anyone else believe in "their God" or believe at all. Imagine that races/cultures did not exclude everyone that wasn't them. Imagine that humans actually became Conscious. Just imagine. Good luck with that.
FunkyIrishman (member of the resistance)
I have always said that if governments around the world acted as they were supposed to ( for the people and by the people ) then there would be absolutely no need for charity of any kind. Having said that, the greatest obstacle to uplifting the 3rd world used to be roads, but now it is just an education/schools. Many of the wars being fought are not fought over religion or resources, but to keep the young from merely going to school. An education is freedom, and freedom is not having the next generation being subservient. ( like it has been since time began ) I wonder if it is easier to give them books now or is it for cell service with unlimited surfing power ?
Ami (Portland, Oregon)
We know what the solution is, we just lack the will to do something different. For the past two decades we've been involved in our war on terror. We are suffering from war fog. I suspect that if we still had a draft our young people would be pushing for other options such as education and peace agreements but our volunteer military means that we're largely oblivious to our reckless military spending. Hopefully our next president will decide that investing in education has more value than playing war games.
“For the cost of deploying one U.S. soldier abroad for a year, we can start at least 20 schools.” Think about what we could do here and abroad if we: - reduce the number of Pentagon generals and admirals - reduce reliance on contractors - limit excessive contractor compensation - withdraw 40,000 troops from Europe - reduce the number of deployed nuclear weapons - replace the over-budget F-35B/C with the effective and affordable F/A-18E/F Super Hornet - replace the V-22 Osprey with MH-60 and CH-53 helicopters - end Littoral combat ship procurement at 10 - slow procurement of Virginia class submarines - delay rebuilding Abrams tanks the Army doesn’t want Groups from Right to Left Call on Congress and the President to Find Savings at the Pentagon “Our military might is not measured by how many dollars we spend but how we spend our dollars.” Fraud, waste, and cost overruns by private contractors cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year. The Pentagon relies on accounting fraud in order to balance its books. It has never been audited despite a 1996 law that requires an annual audit from every federal department.
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