Lately in our home, we have been talking a lot about how the public school system is failing our children. We have the utmost respect for the teachers and their hearts. The problem is not the people. We know that our kids are being loved on and held to accountability. But the system itself is broken.
Besides the safety factor that the nation has been fixated on these last few weeks, besides Common Core that has been debated since inception, one of the biggest issues we are seeing in our own children is the dependence on technology.
Once upon a time children were drilled to remember their math facts and their spelling words. We review the facts over and over until they were seared into our minds. If you ask most adults 25 and over, I bet 90% of them could still tell you the multiplication tables by memory.
Nowadays, we are teaching our children to be testing robots. The goal is to cram in just enough information to get it out on a test, only then to be forgotten a week later when they move onto the next testing cram session.
Our children have forgotten how to learn, or perhaps because of the modern education system, maybe they have never really learned how to learn to begin with.
We are segmenting and compartmentalizing subject matter, character, and responsibility. We have failed our children and are setting them up for their own future failure with this mentality.
Children are lacking the ability to see the interconnectedness of life and school and the subjects themselves. We ask them to be accountable and responsible for themselves while we task them with relying on a computer to find their answers. Why learn to research and develop your own opinion when in two seconds flat you can ask Siri or Google “what is the best choice?”
A friend was recently telling me about an experience with her own son. They were tasked with reading an article, to form an opinion, support that opinion with facts from the article, and to write an essay. That is all well and fine. Except for the fact that the article was about a moral hot-ticket topic. In addition, the article itself was slanted. There was no ability for her child to sight the article to support his own moral opinion based on the facts provided. Despite strong moral objection to the article, he was encouraged to “lie” and write an essay that supported the slanted opinion of the article anyways.
This is what our children are learning. Form your own opinion, but only if it is well supported by the information present to you, and even if you morally disagree, lie about your opinion if you want to pass.
The system is failing. Truth is no longer valued.
I have been reading a book about Classical Christian education and 3 little nuggets of “somethings” jumped off the page to me:
*'”What gets measured, gets done.” If standardized measurements drive our education system, where does that leave ideas of transcendent value- like truth, goodness, and beauty? Is there value in the pursuit of true knowledge, understanding, and wisdom? The human spirit cries, “YES!”- but sadly, the clamoring for student assessment leaves no room for these pursuits.’
*”In contrast to the postmodern love of flux, Scripture teaches us that God himself, and therefore His precepts and commandments, are unchanging. As his followers, we are charged to remember His truths, His commands, and His faithfulness instead of being blown about by the winds of change. In the Old Testament, the Israelites (Go figure, back to Exodus!) are repeatedly exhorted to remember God’s deliverance of their forefathers…Christian…families…are tasked with transmitting the unchanging truths of scripture and the wisdom of the Lord to the next generation.”
*A threefold mission: “to help students master a carefully selected core of knowledge; to teach and use the tools of learning; to exhort students to seek what is true, good, and beautiful.”
Quality over quantity. Seeing God is every aspect of learning. Math- God is a God of order. Literature- God is a God of words. Art- God is a God of creation. Science- God is a God of careful planning.
Here is one simple fact…the truth is what is missing from our schools.
John 14:6 says, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.'”
The truth is Jesus.
John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Scripture, the unchanging truth, is very clear. We must know Jesus. He is the truth. Only by knowing Him will we ever be free.
Ironically, we circle back around to my word of the year here…FREE.
Isn’t this what we all long for our children? Truth and freedom?
Unless the modern education system comes back to this unfailing core knowledge, there is no future for our children. We need to remember to assess wisdom, understanding, and goodness. We need to teach our children, to once again think for themselves and to teach them to seek truth in scripture and prayer and spirit. We need to show our children how to see beauty again. The beauty of cursive printed on paper, not in graphics on a screen.
When we do this, we set our children up for success, not just in the academic realm, but more importantly, in the spiritual one.