“Parent choice” proceeds from the belief that the purpose of education is to provide individual students with an education. In fact, educating the individual is but a means to the true end of education, which is to create a viable social order to which individuals contribute and by which they are sustained. “Family choice” is, therefore, basically selfish and anti-social in that it focuses on the “wants” of a single family rather than the “needs” of society. – Association of California School Administrators
All who have meditated in the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of the youth. – Aristotle
My husband has noted to me on several occasions that I have the ability to connect unrelated things to each other and find where they are parallel.
Perhaps he’s right. One thing he’s absolutely right about is that I see the connection to education in practically everything I read.
This is a sampling of the news today, and how I connect these stories to education:
New Classification of Spinal Deformity Defines Range of Normalcy: The article is mainly about how the science of spinal medicine has developed and resulted in a thorough catalog of the various ways the spine can be messed up. This is how our society works. We define normal by what is abnormal. The more we are able to pinpoint and identify abnormal states, the smaller and smaller the window of normal becomes. This is exactly what has happened in education and psychology (which often crossover, as any parent of a child with ADD or Autism can tell you). We laud, as a society, our ability to find more and more specific ways that we are messed up as individuals, and identify how to cure those problems. As a result, we are less and less tolerant of differences.
What the President Should be Reading: President-elect Obama has been caught many times with book in hand. In fact, the publishing industry is wondering if he’ll become the new Oprah when it comes to book sales. Well, at least in the political book market, since all of Obama’s books are either biographies of political leaders like Roosevelt or Lincoln, or books on national politics like, “The Post-American World.” The reason why this is so interesting to me is that people care what he’s reading. I cannot remember, ever, when our country cared what a president, let alone any other political icon, was reading.
I’m encouraged by this. Our president is reading to learn. He is the ultimate role model in life-long learning. I hope that many children see the attention this is getting, and see how even when a person has reached the pinnacle of success, there is still much to learn. Books are not the enemy, as we learn in school. Self-directed learning is what successful people do. I hope Obama gets caught with many more books in hand.
‘Brave New World’ Just Around the Corner: One of my all time favorite books is the Brave New World. I read it two years ago for the first time. I’m so glad I didn’t read it until I was an adult. I would not have “got” it as a kid. As an adult, involved in the education of my own children, and involved in national politics (on a personal level), I am in a place to truly appreciate what Aldus Huxley had to say. Although I don’t agree that we’re all that close to Brave New World Utopia status, that’s where we seem to WANT to go, as a society. Peace means predictability in our culture. We’re so afraid of change and challenge. Our children are being trained to be risk-less, satisfied with mediocrity, and afraid to do anything on their own. Thank God we have 1% of our population choosing homeschooling, and 2% of our population choosing private school to keep things stirred up a bit.
Pope Cautions Against Blurring Lines of Religious Differences: How can religion have anything to do with education, you ask? I’ll tell you. One of the main problems with public school, and most group schools in general, is the blurring of the line of individuals. Now, I’m somewhat moderate when it comes to individualism. I believe that every person is an individual, with individual needs and abilities. While I also believe that we are all connected, and what we do as an individual affects everyone in our world. School pushes too far to the extreme, which is – blur the lines on what you believe.
I used to think that it was important to keep kids as a blank slate until they get old enough to have their own mind. And I used to get annoyed by how misled I was a child about the “Truth” of our world. But now that I’ve had some experience talking to teens who are amorphous in their beliefs, I’ve come to see that most kids don’t want to come up with their own belief systems. They want to hang on to what they are taught.
Now, I wonder, is this something we’re fostering in our schools? Is it the way our educational system works that keeps kids wanting to follow whatever is told of them, or is it part of the maturation cycle? Do kids who blindly believe what their parents or teachers believe do it by choice, and by personal preference? Or is this a coping mechanism of the developing mind – it’s easier to go with what is being taught to me than to struggle with the big questions.
I don’t have teens, but this intrigues me. Does it really matter if kids are led to believe what they are taught is “true”, if the doubting and self-discovery phase doesn’t really happen until the late teens or early twenties anyway? Or does this phase happen at this age simply because we’ve nurtured that delay of development in our children by holding off real inquiry until they are “adults”? Those with teens, what do you think?
4th Body Found When F-18 Hit San Diego Residential Area: My immediate thought was – what if this hit a school? Perhaps it’s better to keep the kids scattered. Ok, so that’s a little over the top, and quite disrespectful. But hey, anything and everything can be linked to education, and that’s what happened to me when I became a homeschooler – my brain turned into an education radar.