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Educational Values Impact Sustainable Solutions


Educational Values Impact Sustainable Solutions

by Sam Euston

What you live with you learn, what you learn you practice, what you practice, you become. ­—Earnie Larsen 

Our choices are reflected in our values, and our values are influenced by our societal norms. Education is a key ingredient in producing our values system. And education is the key to sustainability for our world, country, and our Sonoma County. 

The Trilateral Commission in 1975 found in its research that: “higher education is the most important value-producing system in society.”1
So, as Michael Albert (Economist & Author) has stated much better than I, there can be several approaches a society can take toward education:

Societal Educational Value A

Education is a process which prepares people to fit into positions in society. It gives them the information and the attitudes, the personalities, the inclinations, the expectations, that are consistent with positions they are going to fill, in society. 

Societal Educational Value B

Education is this process by which people arrive at the capacity to utilize their skills and talents maximally, and to enrich their lives.

Value B provides for a “sustainable - purposeful” operating society. Value B also can feed value A, and it also requires a sustainable, resilient vision that sees its value.

These two values do have compatibility challenges “fitting into the slot” or “being the best you can be”.

The US experienced some of these challenges when employing both Societal Views A & B. This occurred in the sixties. Students wanted more ability to control their own lives. This resulted in a great deal of student unrest and resistance.

This was also reflected in the Trilateral Commissions report:

“Previously passive or unorganized groups in the population, blacks, Indians, Chicanos, white ethnic groups, students, and women now embarked on concerted efforts to establish their claims to opportunities, positions, rewards, and privileges, which they had not considered themselves entitled before”.2

And from these conclusions, decisions were made and implemented:make changes in the education system. The commission made other recommendations: “The problems of governance in the United States today stem from an excess of democracy … Needed instead, is a greater degree of moderation in democracy.”3

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, Or it becomes the practice of freedom – the means by which men and women [ … ] discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”
—Paulo Freire

When we look at our education system today, it appears that the Commission’s recommendations from 1975, still have their hold on our Educational Values

Our children and future generations, need educational values that encourage their consummation of experiences, focus, and perceptions. Our educational values need to help them, discover and paint their sustainable participation and lives.


1. The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies” Appendix 185
2. Report “The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies”. 
3. Report “The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies” Conclusions