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A Message From NEA-Retired President

Keep the Fire Lit

Barbara Matteson,

The ultimate goal of education is not to fill students with facts, but to inspire their love of learning.

NEA Retired President Barbara Matteson


I like the way Irish writer William Butler Yeats put it: “Education is not filling a pail, but lighting a fire.”

Many of us have made the case for lifelong learning to our students, our communities, and our legislators.

We support the initiatives of our state and local decision makers that support education programs for students of all ages.

But are we as good about satisfying our own appetites for learning?

We all know that learning happens all the time outside of the formal education setting. Our book groups and city council meetings and coffee klatches and classes at the Y all present opportunities to learn in different ways.

But the kind of rigorous exploration that goes on at our nation’s colleges and universities is not and should not be closed off to us because we have retired.

I don’t have hard stats on whether retired educators go back to school at a higher rate than other retirees, but I’m happy to say that I meet many of us who are thrilled to have the time and resources to return to institutions of higher learning to study subjects we weren’t able to dive into earlier in our lives.

Some are earning degrees with the intention of pursuing new careers. Others are auditing courses just because they always wanted to improve their Spanish or know more about medieval literature. And that’s reason enough!

The members featured in this issue all had different motivations for becoming students again, but they have at least one thing in common—a love of learning that will never be extinguished.

Check out the story on what’s it like to go back to class as a student?

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  • anc_dyn_linksMay 2013
  • January 2013January 2013
  • November 20122012 Archives
  • September 20122011 Archives
  • May 20122006 – 2010