Photo Friday: Keeping Children “at the Heart” of Education

Ernest and Kathryn Boyer speaking to two children while Boyer served as Chancellor of the State University of New York

Black and white photo of Ernest L. and Kay Boyer speaking to Scott and Kathleen Manly, the son and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Manly. – BCA

Ernie Boyer loved children — a fact that should be readily obvious to anyone seeing this week’s Photo Friday image.

The image speaks volumes about Boyer’s view of children and attitude toward their education. It shows Boyer engaged in a personal, face-to-face conversation with Scott Manly, a kindergarten student. Boyer is hunkered down, looking the child in the eyes and engaging the youngster on his level, not on a adult’s level. And this coming from a man who, at the time, was serving as the chancellor of one of the nation’s largest state university systems!

Boyer’s passion for children animated much of his life and career. As Senator Edward Kennedy wrote upon Boyer’s death in 1995:

More than anyone of his time, [Boyer] taught us that it is children, not just the schools, that should be the focus of our concern; that education is a community-wide effort which begins with the birth of a child; that supporting education is, more than any other challenge, not an expenditure but an investment; and that failure to act now will surely mean higher costs, wasted lives, promises unfulfilled. . . .

Ernie’s greatest gift to the nation was his unwavering commitment to education and to keeping all children at the heart of the nation’s agenda. And when Ernie said all children, he meant all children, so that none would be left out or left behind.

Today’s Photo Friday post celebrates Boyer’s “unwavering commitment” to keeping children “at the heart” of American education.