The value of an education
Letter to the Editor | Friday, May 29, 2020
“We are in our society regularly willing to take on ourselves or impose on others risks — even lethal risks — for the good of society.”
When I read this from The New York Times, I thought it was satire. Someone was certainly mocking my alma mater’s commitment to the dignity of human life in light of its decision to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, this piece was not written by a cynic who took issue with the hypocrisy of an institution concerned with moral complicity in contraceptive coverage now arguing that lethal risks are worth taking in the name of greater causes.
It was written by Fr. Jenkins.
It is shocking that someone who is so committed to both education and the sanctity of life would ever believe that the former necessitates a risk and imposition upon the latter.
It should be uncontroversial to say so, but in this age it appears it needs stating: The intrinsic value of an education is not worth any loss of life.
I am an educator. I am an assistant professor at a university. I believe in the value of education. I know firsthand what a toll COVID-19 has taken on higher education in terms of lost resources, lost employment and lost research.
To say that educators cannot strive for both scholarly pursuits and safety is not only painting a false dichotomy; it is also an insult to all of the teachers, instructors, and professors who have been developing our students in “body, mind and spirit” during this pandemic.
Moreover, education –– especially that which claims to be grounded in morality and professes the sanctity of human life –– is undermined if we leverage its value to defend the indefensible. That is, it no longer becomes worth protecting if it is exploited to justify the loss of life. After all, education is worthless if we have no one left to educate.
class of 2010
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.