In my own youth, I only had about two years of formal education. And yet, I also had an insatiable thirst for knowledge. So I resolved to better myself in whatever ways possible, by improving my mind, my body, and my behavior. I gather, by today's standards, I was very much a “self improvement” disciple.
And I constantly took opportunities to encourage others to do likewise, whether through my writings, as in Poor Richard's Almanack, or through personal example, or through proposals to the local government for improving the education of young people.
By the way, this thing you call the “internet” is amazing – I've discovered that the entire text of my proposal for the establishment of an Academy to further the formal education of Pennsylvania youth can now be read on-line, simply by calling up the address http://www.archives.upenn.edu/primdocs/1749proposals.html
It was a very comprehensive document, as I recall... I even sketched out the details of subject matter, supervision, and general goals of education. My wish was that these students would learn “those things that are likely to be most useful and most ornamental,” paying special attention to the particular profession they might be working towards.
In any case, as I look around me now, and take note of the young people in this advanced century of 2013, I am both overjoyed to see many of my proposals in actual practice, through the colleges and universities of this land, while at the same time a little concerned that the opportunity for betterment is not universally available.
Equal opportunities needed.
Unfortunately, I've observed that many young people who live in what you now call the “inner city” do not have the same chance to succeed as their counterparts in wealthier neighborhoods. So, if I were to have a chance to amend my original proposal, one improvement I would certainly suggest is that provisions be made for those under-served students who deserve the same educational opportunities as those with greater resources.
Perhaps what is needed is to “sweeten” the deal for both governments and private funders in some way, so that they would feel more inclined to help these students by supplementing their families' own limited wherewithal. That would require spelling out the advantages to the aforesaid governments and investors, so that they would have a more detailed picture of the benefits they would gain through such a plan.... just as if one were to create a very tangible picture of this modern treat called an "ice cream sundae," to help sell the product.
That would be a project for another day....
Your humble servant,