Life and Musings of Ed

Brokenness in Education – Part 2

In Uncategorized on 18 February 16 at 3:53 pm

A few days ago, I was lamenting the serious student struggles I have been seeing in my high school mathematics classes.  Students seem to be coming into the integrated math 3 course, very unprepared and I was suggesting that a core issue is related to an fundamental clash of world views, between my Christian perspective regarding education and the pervasive systemic view represented in public education after “religion” was supposedly removed [1962 — teacher led prayer].  Discussion and argument regarding, definitions of religion, what teachers can and cannot legally do in the classroom [teacher led prayers, proselytizing, …], what “religion”or what belief system has come to dominate public education,… could gone on indefinitely, but I wanted to go a different direction in this post.

Having a background in quality improvement, I tend to constantly be on the look out for systemic issues, and am fascinated when I see struggling or failing organizations populated by many truly hard working and well meaning individuals.  Such is the case in my current school.  I honestly enjoy and respect the mathematics faculty at my school. They work hard, have a pretty solid understanding of the subject material, legitimately care about students, etc. and  I think our principal genuinely cares deeply about the students.  So how can it be that such a large percentage of my students accept Mike Rowe’s statement [see previous post] and are so lost and confused about basic arithmetic or simple algebraic concepts as they enter a sophomore or junior level high school math class?   Why do I find it nearly impossible to fully embrace and uphold a classroom environment that is modeled after my “philosophy of education” statement [see previous post]?

I could discuss metrics placed on principals and school districts by state DPI folks, and note that many of these seem straight forward and good, while effectively being counter  productive to real learning as they are implemented.  I could discuss other cultural and socioeconomic factors which contribute to the malaise.  I could discuss the misguided attempts to force everyone to head to college, while neglecting solid vocational training in plumbing, carpentry, electrical and automotive trades, etc. I could discuss and ponder crazy individual student data and situations, such as a student who had 80’s and low 90’s as grades for 6-8th grade math classes, but then has not passed a regular math class in high school; getting by by doing “credit recovery” online,and finding themselves in a math 3 class for which they are completely unprepared and in which they are understandably distraught and frustrated.  However, I just want to reiterate what was intended as a key point in the previous post, because I do not think that point was clearly communicated.

The solution and “fix” for all that is broken in education should start with a traditional or orthodox Christian worldview as the foundation.  A path that ultimately brings Glory to God and recognizes every student as a unique individual, created in God’s image, with a purpose, and with gifts and potential for good that should be encouraged and developed, is what I will pursue.

Of course, this statement just raises a number of other questions.  What does this mean for public education, and can the course of this massive enterprise be corrected?  Or, would this force us to look to vouchers and the privatization of education as the solution?  Stay tuned – or comment and share your remedy – I think most seem to agreed that some remedy or fix is needed.

 

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  1. Ed, forgive me if I am overstating things, but lately I have been pondering what I fear, if not corrected, could be the onset of a New Dark Ages for Western civilization. I am wondering if we are currently raising the “remnant” generation. Where will they come from? How will they find each other, and to what new Iona will they retreat? Who is educating the keepers of the Word today? How can we instill our techno generation, plagued with the shrinking attention span growing demand for easy stimulation, with a passion for language and and all the academic arts? And how can we best equip them for the coming times? Or better yet, turn the tide and pray in revival!

    Have you read “Eat This Book” by Eugene Peterson? And check out the CS Lewis Institute (Washington DC) website. You might offer an article for posting there. Tell them I sent you! ☺️

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  2. Aimee — It is great to hear from you. I’ll check out the book [no, I have not seen it yet], and the C.S. Lewis site. I would like to end my days making contributions to rigorous education from a wholly [and holy] Christian worldview. Too frequently, I have gone home at the end of a day [public high school mathematics instructor], feeling rather glum due to the overwhelming sense of brokenness — broken family situations, apathy toward learning, disdain for school and especially math, major character and behavioral issues, … So, yes — join me in prayer and may the Lord usher in revival and hope for this generation 🙂

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