Editorial: Aug. 13, 2012

Jamestown Gazette Editor Walt Pickut

Facts vs Education

“That’ll cost you $50.10 cents, Mister,” the mechanic said.

“What’s the 10 cents for?” asked the man whose car was now running like a top.

“For turning that there screw,” the mechanic answered, pointing toward the carburetor.

“Then what’s the $50 for?”

“For knowin’ which screw to turn.”

Facts mean little without experience and the will to think.

Unfortunately, many of us seem to believe the job of a school is to cram as many facts as possible into a student’s head… like olives squeezed into a bottle. That’s why Mark Twain said “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

True education can’t be squeezed into a bottle or a brain. It only happens when a student actually wants to know, and even more so when she needs to know. And a mind stuffed with facts never opens until a man needs to accomplish something with them.

As we look forward to a new school year it’s time to think about education again.

This week The Jamestown Gazette introduces you to a team of educators who operate on the principle that a student who wants to learn will gain the best education. Our example is a college, but the principles apply at every age.

Jamestown Business College opened 126 years ago with the simple, stated goal of serving people who have ambition. Given that single factor, any school is guaranteed of success. The students will mine their instructors’ minds for everything they can get. Today, JBC President, David Conklin, continues to follow the founders’ philosophy, making sure that every professor, administrator and staff member welcomes new students while wearing a badge that says “Students Come First.”


Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great thinker and poet of America’s early years said, “The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he shall know, what he shall do. It is chosen and foreordained and he only holds the key to his own secret.”

So, this year, maybe we can help our young people discover the path they want to follow. If we supply the tools to match their passion, they will gain an education nobody else could have stuffed into their heads. An educated population is the key to a free and prosperous society.


“He who opens a school door, closes a prison,” Victor Hugo said 150 years ago. It is still true today.


Enjoy the read.


Walt Pickut


The Jamestown Gazette

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.