Malala Yousafzai's US book tour drives home the power of education and in doing so reveals just how privileged Western children really are. Maybe we need to reinstitute bedtime stories for our teens and talk about this one tonight, together.
In the West our kids get snow days, while in Pakistan schools must close due to Taliban terrorism, Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old girl shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out for girls’ to be allowed to go to school in Pakistan, makes this situation more tangible for American parents as she tours the US promoting her book with the message “education is the power terrorists fear most.”
That message should concern parents as education systems in the West fail under freedom’s flag. SAT scores continue decline; 57 percent of incoming freshmen not ready for college, the AP reported earlier this month. Here in Norfolk, Virginia 33 of our 45 schools, 78 percentage, have failed to make full accreditation this year due to abysmal standardized test scores.
This is something I am passionate about not only because my kids’ schools here are failing, but because I have a friend, a woman, who runs a large school in Pakistan. I won’t name her, the city, or school for safety reasons.
We met five years ago when she contacted me about permission to use a peace fable I’d written to combat terrorism, “The Mouse and the Light” as a project with her students. They were turning it into the school play after reading it on MidEastWeb where it was posted by a fan in English, Arabic, and other languages spoken in the Middle East.