Why Is Education Important? A Q&A with Dr. Paul LeBlanc
We posed the question, “Why is education important?”, to SNHU President/CEO Paul LeBlanc. In response, LeBlanc shares his own journey in education and why education is important to society.
Why is education important to each of us as individuals and to society as a whole?
Education is the great enabler and equalizer, the force that allows individuals to reach their potential, to dream bigger dreams and to be more fully engaged with a much bigger world. It is also the engine of social mobility, the avenue to better and more meaningful work and thus opportunity for one’s family and community.
We know that people with college degrees vote more, divorce less, smoke less and the list goes on. Take the two together – personal development and social mobility – and education is an incredible force for good. In many ways, it is critical to the American narrative of self-improvement, merit and mobility.
What led you on the path to your own journey in education?
Amazing, influential teachers starting in sixth grade. When no one in my family had ever attended college, my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Schlaffman, convinced my mother that I was “college material” and she embraced that idea with passion and conviction.
Other, later teachers in high school and then college nurtured me and helped me along the path I’ve taken. They will always be, for me, among the most influential people in my life. In my neighborhood, a good job was one that didn’t mean working outside in the elements and a public job like toll collector was like hitting the lottery. My teachers allowed me to dream bigger.
What impact has your education had on your life?
It has changed everything. It put me on a trajectory to an incredibly rewarding career. It has allowed a life for my daughters that their grandparents could scarcely imagine. It has allowed me to connect with the distant past through literature and history and art and to imagine a better future through philosophy, political science, and sociology.
Really, it feels like the question might be “Is there any aspect of your life education hasn’t touched?” and then the answer could be simple. It would be “no.”