Everything In Our Society Relates to Education

“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.


5 Responses to “Everything In Our Society Relates to Education”

  1. Karen Says:

    I think that is why my children were all so excited about Obama for President – a President who can walk and talk at the same time! And intelligibly to boot!

  2. momofmonkeys Says:

    Intriguing question about teens. I do think there are natural developmental changes that happen in the pre-teens and teens that make more complex critical thinking and questioning possible. On the other hand, if they are part of an educational system that doesn’t nurture this ability, that might delay this transition.

    On the other hand, my teen was always an intense questioner. She used to attend religious education classes — at about age 7, she would debate with the catechist. 🙂

    Hmmm … I look forward to seeing what other comments you got.

  3. Laura :) Says:

    Dang girl, I think you just made up my new favorite game!! I’m going to start looking for the education related link in everything, too!! And I’m not being sarcastic…this really sounds like fun! 🙂

    Our dd is 14 and has been homeschooled all the way up until about a month ago when she enrolled in a private school catering to language-based learning problems….fancy way to say dyslexia, dyscalcula and dysgraphia. It’s a pretty small school. It’s been interesting to watch her live out this transition.

    Relating this to your post….she’s been raised in a Christian home and this is where her faith will be tested. Will she start to question her beliefs? Well, it’s gonna be sooner or later and this may start the process earlier than if she was still at home.

    I do think starting off on a firm foundation of beliefs (of any kind) growing up gives the one the basis by which to judge all other beliefs. A litmus test of sorts??

    Just last night I was talking with my daughter about caring what her friends at school thought and if she starts to care too much she will lose touch with what she thinks. I know that it happened to me and it took me quite a few years out of high school to get back in touch with who I am!

    So, I wonder if in school some kids are so about following the pack they don’t get a chance to do any real critical thinking until they are out of the pack mentality?

  4. suburbancorrespondent Says:

    It’s important to teach our kids what to believe. It is also important to realize that at a certain age (which varies from kid to kid and has little or nothing to do with school), kids/teens start thinking for themselves. If you haven’t taught them any belief system, then they have nothing to compare anything to – they are rootless “men without chests,” as CS Lewis might say (The Abolition of Man). Teach them what’s important when they are young, and they might return to it. Or they might not. There are no guarantees. It’s one wild ride, that’s for sure.

  5. Idzie Says:

    I’m a 17 yo unschooled teen, so I figured I’d add my bit on this. I went to an extremely liberal Christian church with my mother and sister when I was very young, but my mother wasn’t really strongly Christian, if at all, neither was my father, and we stopped going when I was still pretty young. I never really cared about the religious aspect (all I remember from church was loving choir and a memorized prayer or two), and all I really remember is that God was always called “our father and mother” which I liked. So really, I was not raised with much religion. Church was social, and we didn’t really have much religion in the home either (although we did have books on world religions and mythology hanging around). Something I’ve heard a few times now is that teens will be lost if they weren’t raised with religion, and I’m certainly not! I started discovering my own spiritual path when I was around ten, and I’m very comfortable with my spiritual journey, which is mine and mine alone. My sister, who’s 15, is also quite comfortable in her opinions. For a while she was atheist, and is now agnostic.

    I definitely disagree that most teens seem to want to stick with what they were brought up with. My friend who was raised loosely Catholic is now researching Wicca, Taoism, and Buddhism with fascination. Other friends are similarly finding new beliefs that work for them. I don’t think whether someone is raised with religion is important. I think the difference is whether someone is raised to question and search for answers themselves that makes the difference between someone who is lost and someone who knows just how to find what they need.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: