School’s Out for Refugees… and the US Spends on Weapons?
The NYTimes today features an article by Rick Gladstone covering a recently released report by the UN that indicates 2/3 of the refugee children in the world are not attending school. The Unesco report included these stunning findings:
The report said only 50 percent of refugee children have access to primary education, compared with a global average of more than 90 percent. As children grow older the gap widens — 22 percent of refugee adolescents attend secondary school, compared with the global average of 84 percent. One percent of refugees attend college, compared with the global average of 34 percent.
While our nation is investing billions in weapons to arm one side or the other (or in some cases both sides) in wars in the Middle East, we are clearly not thinking long term. If we DID think a generation ahead we would ask these kinds of questions:
- Who is teaching the children now— for they ARE learning on a daily basis even if they are not in school?
- What lessons are these children learning about life? About our country? About the Western world?
- Who will these uneducated children listen to 20 years from now?
- If Islamic extremists provide a free education for these refugees, what will they teach them?
- What is more important: the bottom line in a private enterprise that is arming soldiers in the Middle East and/or fighting for our national interests OR the well-being of innocent children displaced by the fighting we are promoting?
We spend far too little on our own public schools… but the expansion of freedom and democracy depends on an educated populous. We ignore the schooling of refugees at our peril. Why are we ignoring this emerging crisis?