JoAnne McIntire: Let’s use our education |

JoAnne McIntire: Let’s use our education

I’m a Nevada County retired educator and I watched the commenters at a recent Board of Supervisors meeting with deep concern.

I think many people will say that the misinformation expressed by a number of them demonstrates a failure of our education system. In fact, many people do say that. I’m here to say the opposite.

The failure of knowledge and facts demonstrated there demonstrated the failure of those individuals alone. They were taught better. I was a special education teacher who went into classrooms and watched their dedicated teachers doing it.

What I don’t think we talk about enough and need to is why our country feels that providing a free education to every child is critical. Yes, it’s to provide our children with needed facts and skills, to prepare them to become independent and to manage their personal needs. It’s to prepare them to pursue careers and hold jobs so they can support themselves. But equally critical is that our education system works to prepare them to be participants in our democracy because democracies depend on educated, well-informed citizens.

Because of that, as soon as children begin to read, we educators start helping them learn the skills needed to do their own independent research so that they will be able to self-educate once they leave school. And most critically, we teach them to rely on high level, highly respected, credible sources of news and information.

I now see far too many Americans having left that critical part of their education and self-education completely behind. They now claim that any source of news and information that doesn’t suit them is a “corrupt liar” from our leading scientists, including the incredible ones at NASA, to all mainstream news outlets and major newspapers across the country, and now with COVID-19, they quickly and easily added our leading epidemiologists and thousands and thousands of our doctors to that long list of “liars.” It was incredible to watch.

Those of us who care about facts and truth know they aren’t “liars.” They have demonstrated for us and explained to us why masks work and help save lives. It’s a fact.

We’ve seen multiple doctors hook themselves up to pulse oximeters and don mask on top of mask on top of mask to show us that masks don’t cut off oxygen. Surgeons and other medical personnel prove that every single day already.

We know wearing a mask isn’t child abuse because millions and millions of children have demonstrated that for us. When they know that by wearing a mask, they are helping to save people’s lives, including possibly people in their own families, they are happy to do it.

As part of our democracy that depends on educated, well-informed citizens, we elect you, our Board of Supervisors. We invest a great deal of trust in you that you will use facts, intelligence, and great care on issues critical to us.

We trust that your political biases will not cause you to reject facts and that you will listen to and hear those people with the highest level knowledge and expertise and not claim that they are “liars.”

One of the most critical things that any community of people does is to help protect the lives of the people in it. Why would COVID-19, an invisible, too-deadly virus, stop us from continuing to do that?

We know that wearing masks in specific settings saves lives. We know that other measures such as maintaining physical distance, taking great care in inside settings, and other recommended precautions do as well.

The most knowledgeable people in our country have demonstrated this and explained it to us. As they also say, we are nearing the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. We see the light ahead, but we aren’t there yet.

Until we get there, the life of every person in our community should matter to us, even if they’re older or in convalescent care. Every family in our community who could suffer illness, disability, or the loss of a beloved family member should matter to us.

Most importantly, we need to recognize that each illness and death resulting from COVID-19 is needless because we can stop them if we only listen to our most knowledgeable people rather than claiming that they’re “liars.” There are countries of millions of people whose COVID-19 deaths only number in the double digits or at most hundreds. They listened and cared.

JoAnne McIntire lives in Grass Valley.

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