Posts tagged education
Fred Rogers

Even in an increasingly noisy world, Fred Rogers proved you don't have to shout to make your voice heard. He demonstrated that you don’t have to be a president or a general or a Steve Jobs to improve the lives of others — for 30 years and 886 episodes! He made a difference to millions over the course of generations through his message that you are important just by being you.

Fred Rogers was a cultural pioneer. He recognized in the earliest days of television that it was going to have a major impact on the world. He wanted that impact to be positive. But he found that the first attempts at children's programming simply were not right: It was not age-appropriate. It was not respectful. It did not respond to children’s deepest fears nor answer their most pressing questions. He believed that young people were thoughtful people, too, who deserved the best programming possible.

Now, you may not recognize the name "Fred" Rogers, but most will have heard of "Mister" Rogers. And some of you reading this post may have had an intimate relationship with him and his neighborhood, as well as the neighborhood of Make-Believe.

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E.B. White

E.B. White wrote three of the finest works of literature ever produced in the English language. That they were directed at young people only heightens the achievement since children's book authors rarely get their due. It could be said, in fact, that he put children's literature on the map as a genre in its own right. He certainly opened up the world of reading for many a young imagination, including mine.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Hers was a long-tail plan: Chip away at the manifestations of social inequality one case at a time, plant “seeds” of social progress with powerful words, and provide ground-up support to the movements effecting positive change, all as a means toward constructing an unshakeable legal foundation for women’s rights and gender equality.

Celia Bader (née Amster) was brilliant. So smart, she graduated from high school at 15. But it was the early 1900s and her parents, unable to afford to further educate all their children, supported her brother’s future instead. Celia went to work to help put her brother through college. But she never forgot her love of learning or her dream of having a career. When it was her turn to be a mother, she took an active role in the education of her daughter, Joan Ruth, instilling in the girl a love of reading, and setting her on the path to becoming a teacher.

Ruth would not disappoint...

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Helen Keller & Anne Sullivan

Though robbed of speech, along with her hearing and sight, Helen Keller learned how to make herself heard more clearly than most of us, all thanks to Anne Sullivan.

Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama. A perfectly healthy and thoroughly precocious child, she is said to have started speaking at 6 months old and was already walking by 1. But when she was just 19 months old, Helen was stricken by an illness -- called "brain fever" by the family doctor, it was likely Scarlet Fever or Meningitis. Whatever it was, it ravaged poor Helen. She survived, but she was left permanently deaf and blind.

At the time, disabled Americans like Helen were labeled "deaf and dumb" and more often than not committed to asylums for life where they were treated like caged animals. Helen's parents, however, though not particularly wealthy, were proud. They refused to give up on their daughter. They knew in their hearts that she was intelligent. It was just a matter of unlocking it.

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Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks saved millions of lives. For more than 60 years, she has been credited for helping cure polio as well as developing treatments for cancer. 

The only thing is... she never knew about her contribution to medical science!

Loretta Pleasant (she later changed her name to Henrietta) was an African-American woman born in the US state of Virginia in 1920. When she was four-years-old, her mother died giving birth to her tenth child. Unable to care for his large family, Henrietta's father sent his children to live among various relatives. Henrietta went to live with her grandfather, who raised her in a log cabin that sixty years before had been the slave quarters of a Southern plantation.

Like most members of her family, Henrietta went to work rather than to school. She helped to farm acres of Virginia tobacco fields. Life was hard....

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Booker T. Washington

He overcame enslavement and abject poverty and went on to help lift others up through the power of education. What was his recipe? Hard work, discipline, patience, and a long tail view.

Both beloved and controversial, Booker T. Washington was undeniably one of the greatest Americans of his generation. He had a vision for the future that he knew was unachievable in his own lifetime. But he did not let that stop him from constructing a foundation for a more equitable and just nation, one brick -- or educated African-American -- at a time.

Booker T. began life on a Virginia plantation in 1856. His youth coincided with the final years of institutionalized slavery in the United States; the succession of the southern "slave states" from the nation as northern states moved to abolish the practice; and the eruption of a brutal Civil War as a result of this moral and ideological division.

It was a critical time in history of the United States. Would the country finally make good on the promise set forth by its own constitution over 100 years before: to treat all "men" as equals? Or would it continue to traffic and trade people of color?

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Maria Montessori

Some people will go to extraordinary lengths and do whatever it takes to ensure that others succeed. That was Maria Montessori's hallmark.

Born in Italy in 1870, Maria Montessori spent her life challenging expectations -- from the sexism embedded in a country and culture with strictly defined gender roles to the prevailing notions of how children learn.

Maria was one of Italy’s first female doctors. She endured years of hostility, harassment, and outright rejection on the part of her male teacher and peers. But she persevered. And focusing on pediatrics and psychiatry, she became an expert in pediatric medicine.

She began to practice privately in 1896. But the priority she placed on learning and education -- inherited from her parents who sent her to the best institutions Rome then had to offer -- was never too far away.

In the 1890s, most doctors believed that “mentally disabled” children were incapable of being educated. Sadly, many young people, who today would be regarded merely as “learning challenged,” were confined to asylums for life. But Maria disagreed.

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Mother Teresa

How can one person change the world? Mother Teresa did it by example.

Anjezë Gonxhe, the daughter of an Albanian entrepreneur, was born in 1911 the city of Skopje, now the capital of Macedonia. As a child, Anjezë prayed at the shrine of the Black Madonna, a pilgrimage site visited by many devout Albanians. God spoke to Anjezë there, at the age of 8; and at 18 she left home to become a nun.

After a year of preparation in Ireland, Anjezë began her novitiate in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. She took her vows at 21, choosing for herself the name of Teresa, the patron saint of missionaries. She would soon live up to that name.

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Sometimes the drive to discover and record your observations can outlive you.

For more than a thousand years, doctors from Spain to Persia looked to one man to define what it meant to practice medicine: Galen.

Galen of Pergamum was born around 129 A.D. He was Greek but grew up in Anatolia, in modern-day Turkey. Descendants of Plato and Aristotle, the Greeks were renowned in the Ancient World for their skill in science and art.

Galen's father was a wealthy architect. He saw to it that Galen received the finest education in philosophy, literature and medicine. As a boy, Galen studied the renowned work of the Greek doctor Hippocrates who, already 500 years before, had established medicine as a profession. His famous Hippocratic Oath -- a promise taken by physicians throughout history to uphold specific principles of medical ethics -- remains of paramount significance in the health professions to this day.

When Galen was 19 his father passed away. Galen decided to use his inheritance to follow the advice of his hero...

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Louis Braille

What do you do when you perceive a problem that needs solving? 

As a teenager in 19th Century France, this #HistoryHero invented a whole new language that helped to empower millions of people just like him.

His name was Louis Braille. He was born with sight in the humble French village of Coupvray in 1809. His father was a leatherer and as a toddler, Louis learned to help in his dad’s workshop. When he was just three, tragedy struck. Louis was hit in the eye with a sharp awl, and the injury became infected. By the age of five, Louis was completely blind.

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Malala Yousafzai

Do you believe in universal education: the right to attend school and to learn, regardless of gender?

Malala Yousafzai nearly gave her life for it. Her story proves that even teens can change the world.

Malala was born in the Swat District of Pakistan on July 12, 1997. Her father, Ziauddin, the head of a nearby school, was a vocal advocate of the right of women to receive an education. This made him an enemy of the hardline traditionalists -- known as the Taliban in that part of the world -- then intent on turning back the clock where women's rights were concerned.

For Malala, the apple didn't fall far from the tree...

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Benjamin Franklin

Do you believe that everyone should have access to books and education, regardless of financial circumstances?

Benjamin Franklin did. And he helped make it possible.

Though perhaps best known for his work as a Founding Father of the United States, statesmen, and inventor, Benjamin Franklin also made significant contributions to the fields of publishing, journalism, education, and literary access.

And he never received a formal education!

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