EDUCATION IS LOSING ITS CONNECTION WITH KIDS AND THE FUTURE
The cure may now be out of reach, but that cure has nothing to do with ideology or curricula.
I was an English and History teacher for many years. My life went another direction, but I still feel that my teaching was the most important work I have done.
Most the kids I taught were open and had a spark about something. There were some that had suffered so much at home that they had become closed to education along with everything else in their lives. But most students were still generally curious and wanted to learn.
When I get discouraged about the divided, judgmental, bullying America that we have become, I think back about those kids, and I know that they are the only hope for the recapture of America’s promise.
What We’re Doing to Our Kids
But now the schools have become a pawn in the ideological battle that has already divided American adults.
I fault both sides for this.
For several years, a low-grade civil war has been going on regarding the theme and purpose of American education, but it has focused almost entirely on the university level. The charge was that colleges had become the bastion of liberalism, maybe even communism, but certainly anti-capitalism. Some of the accusers did not really know what those words meant, but they had been told that it was so.
Maybe the accusations were true, but I don’t really care that much, nor did most Americans, except the most die-hard. Maybe that was because most college students are adults, and it is hard to imagine them as vulnerable.
But students at the younger levels are not adults, and most of us do view them as vulnerable. So it does not surprise me that the fight at those levels between enraged parents and educators is so much more vehement.
The Current Hypocrisy Of The Parents
That fight has nothing to do with the kids. (I raised six of them.) Those parents who swarm school board meetings say that they are trying to protect their kids. But I don’t buy it. Why? Because in my teaching experience, those are the same parents, with a few exceptions, who never even gave a thought to the nature of their children’s education, as long as the schools provided the…