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Richard Rodriguez

Education is not about self-esteem. Education is demeaning. It should be about teaching you what you don't know, what you yet need to know, how much there is yet to do. Part of the process of education is teaching you that you are related to people who are not you, not your parents--that you are related to black runaway slaves and that you are related to suffragettes in the 19th century and that you are related to Puritans. That you are related to some continuous flow of ideas, some linkage, of which you are the beneficiary, the most recent link. The argument for bilingual education, or for teaching black children their own lingo, assumes that education is about self-esteem. My argument is that education is about teaching children to use the language of other people.

Aug. 01, 1994 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine