Though the purpose of educating our youth is undeniably important, what such a purpose may be is something that seems to be a bit less clear. Why, exactly, do we insist on having our children spend eight hours a day in class? Is it so they can have some place to go while their parents are at work? Is it so they can tell their friends how the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell? Though these things may be peripheral benefits of having a universal education system, they are certainly not the underlying purpose. Rather, the purpose of having a universal education system—something that all nations ought to strive to have—is to ensure that our children develop the ability to think. Being able to think freely, critically, and act deliberately is something that is far more beneficial than the simple ability to repeat and regurgitate facts. Though it is still important to know that the capital of Wyoming is Cheyenne, what it is even more important is having a generation that can think about the very purpose of having a capital city. What is even more important than knowing that cells are the building blocks of life is being able to think about the purpose of life and how to live a good one. The very existence of a functioning democracy depends on its citizens’ ability to think critically, weigh competing ideologies, and know where and how to find the truth. Without free and critical thinkers, Democracy will inevitably fail. Free thinking is an absolute necessity for society to realize and protect what is good and also discover the path towards a world that is even better. Complacency is the enemy of progress. As a society, we have a moral duty to encourage our youth to question their reality and advocate for positive change. We should never assume that the status quo is as good as it gets—it is our youth that will move us forward and our youth that will populate the future world. Positive progress is not easy, but without the development of critical thinkers, it will be fundamentally impossible. Teaching our children to think for themselves is the surest way we can create a world that is sincerely good for everybody.

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