When discussing the changes, we have seen in the overall primary education strategies, I intentionally proceed with caution. I do so because my parents were life-long career educators and I have always had a deep love and respect for the teaching profession. But I can’t help but feel that the strategies employed these past several years, are ironically the root cause of the dumbing down and weakening work ethic we are seeing in our youth today.
It seems there are three primary drivers that unintentionally drive how our primary schools continue to decline in their effectivity, in reverse order of importance; scheduling, accountability, and curriculum.
It should be noted that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE that any of the recent changes have been beneficial. Because, as I wrote a few weeks ago in “Survey Says – Anything You Want!,” the measurements and testing used today, are not even remotely close to what was used in the past so there is no apples-to-apples comparisons that can be made. Never mind any bias created by surveys or studies.
First off, let’s talk scheduling. Over the past many years, the school calendar has been under attack. It continues to get moved and tweaked, all in the name of what’s “best for the students.” The argument is that the students need more breaks and time off. Over the very same span of years, our young work force struggles to understand how to truly work hard and be committed to a goal or achievement. I believe there is a direct correlation here. Shorter spans of time at school, more fun and play time, clearly impacts a young person’s work ethic as they are working far less and thus don’t have to be as committed to their education and school work.
What about accountability. We could right volumes on this subject as this is a trait that is declining rapidly in our society, and I feel the schools own a large portion of the blame. There are a few aspects here; bullying, punishment, and the million-dollar cause, parenting or the lack there-of.
Bullying continues to increase for two primary reasons (three reasons if you include the parent part of this.) First off, teachers often get ridiculed and punished if they stand up to a student. The parent complains and instead of backing the teacher, the school’s side with the parent, even when they know its wrong. This leads to the second reason; the teachers become inattentive at recess, in the lunchroom, hallways, and even in class. Thus, allowing bullying to fester and grow.
Punishment follows along the same lines. Schools fear lawsuits from vocal, yet often wrong parents. Thus, punishment has waned to a point of near non-existence. Thus – no accountability for bad behavior.
Parenting, or should I say, attentive, loving, and nurturing parenting, continues to be challenged. The family unit often times is dysfunctional, too career dedicated, or often absent all together, as single parent situations find one parent struggling to earn a living and care for their child. Teachers have an expectation of parents based on the perfect family model; Leave it to Beaver style. But that model is becoming all too often the exception to the rule and thus school and teachers have to find a way to “make-up” for the lack of parenting. I agree they should not have to, but they are the child’s only hope, often times.
Curriculum is constantly under attack as it seems nearly every couple of years there is a new plan or strategy. One of the obvious challenges with constant changes is that you never actually find out how well the original plan worked, if you never actually work the plan to its fruition. This continual change is certainly a problem but I don’t feel it is the biggest curriculum-based concern.
The biggest curriculum concern, and possibly the largest root cause of ineffective primary education, is the constant attack on, and removal of, God in schools. I’m not alone in this view. One only has to witness the huge departure of students from public schools as their parents move them to parochial schools. The challenge here is that many low-income families cannot afford to make this move and thus they are “stuck” with their children’s education being totally devoid of God, and His teachings.
Look at the increase in single parents, divorces, crime, poverty and homelessness. All of these results can easily be linked to a lack of God in these people’s upbringing and lives. Students who attend parochial schools– just attend, they don’t necessarily have to excel, are 75% more likely to have meaningful family lives and earn a decent living. For those who excel, that percentage rises to 95%.
And yet, for some incredible reason, much of our society still wants to attack God, or at least distance themselves from Him. This boggles the mind. A God who has given some basic human care, need, support, and beneficial guidance, that can only lead to a meaningful and successful life, is so shunned. A God of love, care and compassion – how can everyone not want and long for a relationship with such an incredible creator?
These key and critical traits weren’t ripped away from primary education overnight, so it will take years to return schools to the foundation that crated this country, when it basked in all its glory. We all need to pray to God that He will help us return the schools to Him and His teachings. We need to pray for today’s teachers that they will have the strength and courage to continue to do the right thing. We need to pray for our leaders that they will see all this evidence and return our schools to a Godly foundation.
Finally, we need to pray for the parents, that they will seek God first and engrain God into their children’s lives, so they have the best chance of living an incredible Godly life and help turn our culture back to God.
I firmly believe that there is nothing mankind can do to erase what God has created. So, if we all continue to pray to Him, there is a chance we can return our country to the Godly ways of our origin.