Syosset Seeks Common Ground

12 Sep

The beautiful Syosset Public Library hosted two NIF forums last week, with over thirty patrons joining the discussions.  Democracy Fellows, Jeanine Russaw and Etana Jacobi, led a conversation on the national debt, where participants shared their views on the $16 trillion debt many felt they have left for their children and grandchildren to inherit.  Several of the participants expressed a willingness to make sacrifices in the governmental services they currently receive, like Social Security and Medicare, if the money saved was used responsibly.  Others felt that if sacrifices were to be made, the burden must be equally shared, while still recognizing that many people rely solely on programs like Social Security and Medicare for survival.  Almost all of the participants were dissatisfied with the amount of money spent on political election campaigns in a time of such economic turmoil, and many expressed a gross dissatisfaction with the partisan politics plaguing discussions on budgetary and debt concerns in Congress.

Following this discussion, Democracy Fellow, Letisya Tekiroglu, joined Jacobi to lead the second forum on the future of higher education in this country. Participants expressed varying concerns throughout the discussion.  All believed education was important to a successful life and career, but there was not a consensus on the notion that a college education was for everyone. Several participants did not think it was best to steer people into one direction or one profession, stressing the importance of a well-rounded liberal arts education that exposes students to many different fields. Others felt that due to economic constraints, if we need more engineers to be competitive, students need to study engineering.  Another shared belief was the placement of ethical teaching in the home, not in school.  A vast majority of participants felt that it is not the schools’ job to teach ethics to youth, but it is the responsibility of parents.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Syosset and hope to return soon for more forums!  If you are interested in having your library host a forum, please check out this link for more information.

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