President’s Day Is Education Day
What made the best American presidents truly great?
Washington, Grant and Eisenhower were great generals. Johnson and Nixon were wily politicians. Kennedy and Reagan had real charisma.
But is there one trait that all the great ones shared? It’s hard to say. If I had to pick one, I would say that it was a passion for learning.
Jefferson never stopped studying and learning. He was not a trained architect, but he designed Mount Vernon and the University of Virginia. His diaries show that he had educated himself in theology, archaeology and other disciplines.
Lincoln, we know, came from humble origins, yet through a life of reading and study, he became a very learned man with a brilliant legal mind.
Eisenhower never stopped studying military history and strategy. His deep knowledge was a reason why the Allies won World War II.
Teddy Roosevelt attended Harvard, but continued to explore new subjects and write new books and magazine articles throughout his life.
If these men were alive today, we think they would be enthusiastic about online learning. The idea of an education that is always available to everyone would appeal to them all. So on President’s Day 2011, let’s toast our great presidents – and toast the power of education too.