Monday, November 24, 2008

Hard Questions about Education

Tammy Drennan of the Education Conversation blog has a new piece out today. It is in reaction to an article in the Wall Street Journal that asks CEOs what they think the way to improve education in America should be.

She reacts strongly to the aims of the highlighted answers and wonders why no one seems to be asking the right questions about education these days.

1. How on earth did the human race manage to slog through thousands upon thousands of years of progress and innovation (think art, architecture, science, inventions, technology, philosophy, literature, music) all the way to the mid-1800s when Horace Mann and his kindred spirits finally got the various states of the USA to institute compulsory state schooling and saved humanity and the future?

I think most Americans are woefully under equipped to understand history. The school where I send my daughters goes through all of history 3 times. Grades 1-4, 5-8, and 9-12. One of the biggest events of the year is History Day, a performance where all students are graded based upon their participation in creative reenactments of the different parts of history. I find myself personally under-equipped for my life in the area of history. History is an underlying fabric that needs to be present to weave all of our knowledge into. We need to know how our current political, educational, and religious institutions developed, and what changes were in reaction to what events.

2. How on earth did America survive for over 200 years – and become the envy of the world – before the mid-1800s when Horace Mann and his kindred spirits – you know the drill… see No. 1.

What are the stated benefits of compulsory education these days? Is it to provide daycare to everyone? Is it to lower crime rates? Is it to improve unemployment? Is it to provide business with training for free? I'm not even sure what they're pushing as the "good reasons" for government schooling these days.

3. What is the purpose of education? Is it to shape all children into beings fit to serve the interests of the state and industry (this is what the early proponents of compulsory state schooling thought)? Is it to create faithful citizens who will defend the state?

Real education is to equip the students with the desire and ability to learn and think on their own. American schools do not accomplish this when left to their own devices. Most American students come out of High School extremely co-dependent and incapable of learning without being spoon fed information.

4. What makes you feel you have the ability or the right to influence or dictate policies that will force children to be instructed to the transcription of government officials and those with the power and the money to shape the thinking of those officials?

Excellent question. They don't. She goes on to state in her article that it all comes down to the parents. My wife and I have stepped up and made many sacrifices to provide our children with an exemplary education. One in which they will be required to think for themselves and work on the many forms of communication to become truly excellent citizens and stewards of God's Universe.

I encourage anyone out there that is a Christian and a parent to strongly consider taking your children out of the Government Schools, or better yet, never enrolling them in the first place. I even encourage any other parents that don't hold strongly to Christian beliefs to find an educational option where the school and the educators will come along side you and your family's beliefs and re-enforce the things you want to teach your children instead of undermining your fundamental belief system. There is no education without an underlying foundation of assumptions, and I think it is every parent's right to have teachers that lay the foundation along side you instead of counter to you.

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Anonymous Tammy Drennan said...

Wonderful thoughts you've added to some of the comments I made on my blog this week -- thank you! But thank you even more for the commitment you and your wife have made to your children's education. My own parents committed, after some wavering, to sending their youngest six children exclusively to Christian schools and the older five to Christian schools for the remainder of their education. It was a huge commitment but well worth every sacrifice they made (and they made many). Not only did they provide their children with a meaningful education, they set an incredible example that showed all of us (now grown) that our children were not gifts to the state but gifts -- and responsibilities -- to us. God bless you and your family. Tammy Drennan

10:44 AM  
Blogger Jeremy D. Young said...

Thank you very much for the encouragement. I'm surprised and pleased that you even read my thoughts, much less responded. Keep up the good work.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anthony Young said...

This reminds me very much of the reading and conversations I've been doing lately regarding immunizations for our newborn. There is some really compelling information out there that suggests there are some very negative effects to the large number of early-age vaccinations that are required by the government/medical establishments (links to autism and cancer, for example). And yet I've been told that in Missouri you're not allowed to reject any of them unless you sign a paper saying you are refusing on religious grounds. I've even been told of by a local school nurse friend about a mother who did just that and as a result has not been able to find a single local pediatrician who will take her children on as patients. This may be a battle we take on very soon as I believe that a few vaccinations are a good idea but am very concerned about many of the newer battery of shots they force upon babies and their parents these days. We've already taken on the education battle and feel we are winning that one. We started out our daughter in a private Christian school, but when we found that school to be over-looking the rules for rich parents' kids and making policies to turn it into a school only the elite could afford we decided to home school. I was home schooled for the last 6 years of my own education and feel I was very much better-off because of it. We're very excited/honored to be able to take control of this God-given responsibility and not leave it for someone else to mandate. It certainly looks like this is only the beginning, however.

1:42 PM  

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