Today is set aside to reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King’s iconic words and deeds. As educators, let’s consider his message on education, which Dr. King understood is foundational to his dream of a true multiracial democracy. Education, Dr. King argued, must not be limited to imparting skills, but include teaching each of us, regardless of our career path, to “… think incisively…”and have the ability to “…weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction…”
Higher education is in crisis. NCC is in crisis. Although there are some possible bright spots on the horizon—President Biden hopes to make community college free, which, in fact, 17 other states have already done, and Governor Kathy Hochul plans to strengthen SUNY and CUNY—our reality is that years of state and county disinvestment, especially In operating budgets, have left colleges like NCC to scramble. Each year we are asked to do more with less. As the institution crumbles, the community loses confidence in us.
It is now up to us to make the case for education with the Nassau County public. We need to go to the public as well as to our county and state elected officials and remind them that access to “true education” is required by everyone. That education will give the individual not only the “power of concentration” and “utility” but send back to the community people who are armed with “intelligence plus character” and capable of making a positive difference in their communities and the life of the nation.