Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mark Bray - Is there hope for the Humanities?

Mark Bray is a 26-year veteran of Eden Prairie High School (EPHS), having served as Social Studies Department Chair for five years. Mark serves as a Board of Director for the Minnesota Council of Social Studies and has served on several Board of Teaching Task Forces—Mandarin, Teacher Technology, and Social Studies Teacher License Examination. Mark has a passion for empowering students to know themselves and to enhance their skill set through a globalized curriculum. As a former aide to President Ronald Reagan, today he teaches to improve society and has initiated several pilot programs at EPHS such as the Native American Treaties and Sovereignty Pilot and the Constitutional Day relationship with United Health Care which brings lawyers in to teach the Constitutional issues of privacy and search and seizure.

Inclusive wealth shows us that there is more to life than money or GDP per capita for quality of life. Pursuits in life which do not produce direct results in earning money are what provide fuel and impetus to us as we endeavor to determine what it means to be happy. Both Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith wrote extensively on what it means to be happy, and how systems can produce and enhance pathways to seek happiness.

Our pluralistic society allows us to seek our dreams in myriad different ways. The humanities allow us to maximize our thoughts and reflections to better allow us to orient our own humanness towards our values and life trajectories. The humanities teach us to be more fully human which allows us to be better people and citizens. The humanities empower us to flourish and be able to sustain ourselves through challenging times, even when we have wealth. In other words, the humanities allow us to maximize our pursuit towards a more inclusive wealth which allows us to be more fulfilled and purposeful.

They teach us empathy. They teach us citizenship. They empower. No student ever returned to their alma mater thanking their teacher for that wonderful computer test. They often return to speak to the passion that they felt, the empowerment and human skill sets developed, as well as the emotional and intellectual presence of their teacher.

The humanities are the ultimate vehicle for all of this. With the humanities, our society is wealthier in all aspects of how we define wealth.

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