• Sandra Ericson

Education Is Prevention

Updated: May 11, 2021

The mission of all education regardless of the delivery format, public, non-profit or private, is to:

  • Raise literacy and understanding,

  • Instill universally common understandings and 

  • Prepare the population for professional employment.

There are three responsibilities of education in order for a large population to function successfully long term:

  1. Personal education for healthy family life.

  2. Civic education for peaceful, just and inclusive governance.

  3. Professional education for economic and personal fulfillment and financial sustainability.

If the economic and social stability of a country is consumer based such as the US, then the first priority is the health and continuity of people and their productivity and earning power. For the last 50 years, the educational resources have prioritized #3, professional education, to boost income and sustain markets. This has contributed to the idea that people are economic units and has devalued the most important #1 priority of personal health and self-sufficiency. This has been 'brought home' by the coronavirus, changing a basic premise for all of US society. For instance, high medical costs are fueled in part by lack of education for healthy physical decision making, creating enormous financial burdens on both individuals and society.

Background: In 1862 Congress passed the Morrill Act which granted federal land to build state land grant colleges which are found in most states. At the time, the United States was an agriculturally based society; therefore, one of the academic disciplines that the land-grant colleges offered was Home Economics. It remained a mainstay of the colleges' curricula for over 100 years and now a prominent department at Cornell University under the title, Human Ecology. It is also found at the University of Illinois and many other institutions. The Morrill Act is still in effect. ​ Home Economics taught the sciences of nutrition, food storage and preparation, sanitation, product safety, housing materials and also consumer law and financial management, child and family development and personal social presentation.  ​ Today, we can add sustainability to the list. The personal actions of individuals on transportation emissions, wildlife preservation, choice of building materials, foods and energy must now urgently be included to mitigate climate change. ​