The National Association of Agricultural Educators, Inc.
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News & Views

Volume XLI No. 4


May/June 1999


We Can Care Enough!

Dr. Wm. Jay Jackman, NAAE Executive Director

I donít usually write an editorial in News & Views. I think NAAE members prefer to read articles from members of the NAAE board of directors, their fellow classroom teachers. But, as I sit in my office this afternoon, I have C-SPAN on in the background, and Iím listening to United States Senators as they deliver heart-wrenching testimony in reference to the tragic acts of senseless violence at Columbine High School in suburban Denver, Colorado.

And, concurrently, war rages in Europe and many American men and women are there, in harmís way, helping to protect the homes and, most importantly, the very lives of thousands of Albanians who, by heritage and choice, have a different ethnicity and religion than the oppressive Serbian leadership in Yugoslavia. Yet, such differences are leading to countless Albanians being evicted from their homes, mistreated unmercifully and even murdered.

Those of us who donít live in Yugoslavia or even in Colorado can put these matters aside and not get overly concerned ó and certainly not get involved. But recall that just over two years ago, Ann Marie Harris (the teenage daughter of Coleman Harris, National FFA Executive Secretary, my colleague, my friend) was shot to death in a horrific act of highway violence. These ridiculous acts are not happening somewhere else and to someone else ó they are happening at home and to us.

Well, this has started off as a very gloomy editorial. But things are looking up! I believe there is hope for our future. I believe that education can, and will, be part of the answer to address this declining sense of morality in America and throughout the world. Further, I believe agricultural education can, and will, do more than its share to get America (and maybe someday, the world) back on track to whatís good and worthwhile! In fact, my first title for this piece was "Can We Care Enough?" After writing for a while, I changed it to "We Can Care Enough!"

A few days ago, while in my car, I was listening to National Public Radio. (When you live near Washington, D. C., you spend quite a lot of time in your car trying to get from point A to point B!) I heard an interview with Dr. Nel Noddings. Dr. Noddings has academic appointments in the education colleges at both Stanford University and Columbia University. She has written several books, one of which is The Challenge to Care in Schools: An Alternative Approach to Education (Teachers College Press, New York, 1991). This book was referenced during the NPR interview. I was intrigued so, after I got home, I went to the web site and ordered the book. Here are a few excerpts:

To care and be cared for are fundamental human needs. We all need to be cared for by other human beings. In infancy, illness, or old age, the need is urgent and pervasiveÖwe need to be cared for in the sense that we need to be understood, received, respected, recognized. We also need to care, but not all of us learn to care for other human beings. Some people genuinely care for ideas, great causes, objects or instruments, nonhuman animals, or plants. Some impoverished and dangerous people care for nothing; their lives are not directed by care or ultimate concern.

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We Can Care Enough!

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December 10-14

Orlando, Florida

Caribe Royal Hotel

May/June 1999
NAAE News & Views
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