Open-mindedness is a key to education.
People who already have made up their minds on a topic are not open to other ideas or possibilities.
In short, learning does not take place. This is true for both students and adults.
Open-mindedness also is a key to the future of education in the Jefferson City School District.
The district is asking patrons to participate in a four-question survey as a first step in shaping community discussion about public education.
The survey is on the district's website, www.jcschools.us, and also is being emailed to about 2,500 households that subscribe to the district's newsletter.
The first two survey questions ask the best time, day of the week and date to hold an initial town hall meeting. The third question asks respondents to rank 15 listed topics and the final question asks patrons for their ideas.
The survey comes in the aftermath of failed sales tax and levy issues designed primarily to build and operate a single, replacement high school.
A criticism of the ballot issues was district officials had not been open-minded. The allegation was the public input sought by district officials was nothing more than window dressing to obscure the district's desire to advance its preferred proposal.
Already, that criticism is resurfacing.
And, if it festers and spreads, the process and any proposal will be poisoned from the onset.
Such premature criticism is a symptom of closed-mindedness. Critics are making assumptions based not on facts, but on what they want to believe.
They are engaging in the same close-minded behavior that is the crux of their complaints.
As we begin discussions about the future of public education in the Jefferson City School District, let's begin with a clean slate.
We encourage everyone to abandon closed mindedness, preconceived ideas and mistrust.
Our students are counting on us to set an example, and they deserve our best effort.