Vol. 46, Issue 4 ‣ editorial
The Power Which Knowledge Gives
Low literacy’s effects cost the U.S.
billion or more
per year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.
One of the wisest of the Founding Fathers realized the importance of an informed citizenry: “A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
James Madison wrote that passage, in a letter on the subject of education, in 1822.
Madison knew that the ability to read, to understand what one reads and to intelligently act upon what one has read is fundamental to democracy.
America’s schools are falling short of expectations and, in places, altogether failing. And study after study has shown that when Jack and Jill can’t read, there’s a good chance they’ll drop out of school, go on welfare, abuse drugs, commit crime, or all of the above.
This edition explores some of the most pressing problems within our educational systems and sheds light on what can be done to open the doors of learning—and opportunity—to all.
Freedom profiles lifelong educator Mark Naison, a man committed to do right by students and a champion of teachers’ rights. The movement he co-founded, Badass Teachers, has engaged and inspired tens of thousands of educators worldwide who believe that scholastic problems have been exacerbated by outside interests and that solutions to those problems must include those who have dedicated their lives and careers to helping kids learn: teachers.
We also look at something most people believe has gone the way of the ice-water bath and the ice-pick lobotomy—shock treatment (or ECT).
After psychiatrist Ugo Cerletti observed its effectiveness in a Rome slaughterhouse, subduing pigs so they wouldn’t resist as their throats were slit, he adapted the practice for humans. Seventy-six years later, an estimated 100,000 Americans are electroshocked every year, despite evidence of attendant brain damage, memory loss, and elevated risk of death.
Ted Chabasinski, a survivor of such “treatments”—administered against his will without anesthetics by infamous psychiatrist Lauretta Bender when he was just 6 years old—later led an initiative to ban ECT in Berkeley, California, and tells his story in this issue.
There’s also news about the battle for human rights on another front: how education on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has taken hold in the far-flung community of exiles from Tibet, a nation that has struggled for decades to preserve the right to believe and to worship as one chooses—a right that has been attacked, beaten down, and all but crushed in their country, but which will not die.
We spotlight the Church of Scientology of London and its community betterment programs. The Church-supported Truth About Drugs campaign, for one, distributed no less than 1 million drug education booklets throughout the city during the 2012 Olympics, and continues its anti-drug work at a strong pace today. You’ll also read about a creative anti-drug campaign saving lives in the Czech Republic.
This month’s What is Scientology? explains the Emotional Tone Scale, a Scientology tool that identifies different emotional states and their attendant behaviors. The scale is a “key” of sorts to the veiled, unpredictable tangle that is human behavior, and is used to demystify and improve interactions and relationships.
Freedom welcomes your feedback on these, and any and all features of the magazine.
— The Editors