Life and Musings of Ed

Healing the Brokenness – Part 1

In Uncategorized on 2 March 16 at 8:55 am

After a couple posts about the brokenness I am seeing in public education, which do not even begin to fully capture the extent and scope, nor do they do justice to the many dedicated professionals in the business, who strive daily for academic excellence, loving and supporting all students to the best of their ability, I will been a series outlining a generally discarded notion that a solid, biblical, Christian worldview contains solutions and healing for the brokenness.

Purpose of Education

Consider the implicit, if not explicitly stated, purpose of public education.  What I am hearing from administrators and even from most public school teachers is that the purpose of education is to “get good grades, so you have opportunities to get into college, and can get a better job to make more money”.  This can be seen as a rather communistic view point;  produce good workers for the good of society and to improve the economy.  Neil Postman addresses the lack of a legitimate motivating purpose or narrative, and offers some alternatives,  in his book The End of Education.

 The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School
The consequences of this “better job, more money, better economy” narrative can be seen throughout the system.  One quick example is that high schools, at least in NC, are evaluated on criteria such as percentage of students graduating with “math rigor”, which translates into a forced march for many students into Integrated Math 3 [which is similar to Algebra 2 with the proof portion of geometry and a bit of statistics].  Many of the students in my regular Math 3 courses have not even passed the prerequisite course, Math 2, and are either taking Math 2 concurrently in an online “credit recovery” class or have been promised that they would get credit for Math 2 if they pass Math 3.  The bottom line here is that a significant number of my students, who have no aptitude for rigorous mathematics or STEM field pursuits, and would be better served (IMHO), taking business mathematics, accounting, applied vocational mathematics courses or coding [as a short list of examples], are forced into college preparatory math courses for which they are woefully under prepared and in which they have no interest.  Why? Because all paths in the high school now lead to either community college or university.  Strong vocational and trade programs seem to be a thing of the past.  Is it any wonder that the “free college tuition” mantra has been taken up by many.  Students are being told that “success” means going to college.  Meanwhile, it seems more and more difficult to find skilled tradesmen [general term — not meant to be gender specific].  Of course, what could be wrong with pushing all students through slightly higher levels of mathematics then the typical Algebra 1 level which was a generally accepted minimum standard a few decades ago?  I am addressing this by beginning to write a comprehensive K-12 mathematics curriculum.  Beginning with middle and high school specifics, while outlining ideas for elementary levels, I will be putting together documents over the next year.  Stay tuned.

Contrast this with a Christian worldview, which provides a narrative, which is very different.  We are all called to glorify God, who is our creator, the creator of the universe, the very essence and definition of love, who is infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent, the Truth, our Savior and Lord.  He is worthy of study and has revealed Himself in the Scriptures [reading and writing – as “people of the Word”, is pretty important], as well as in His creation [science is another way to understand our Creator — and we are to be good stewards of His creation]. Being created in His image, we also create and invent and express our praise through arts and seek to develop God given talents and gifts in order to serve others in love as modeled by Jesus Christ.  To better serve and love one another, it is important to understand history, culture, psychology, anthropology, and social sciences.  There is a richness, excitement, and depth to the purpose of education from a Christian worldview, that seems totally absent from the public square, where Christian educators are essentially told to keep their religion and bible and primary reason for teaching to themselves.

So, I feel like this is just a teaser and I am running out of time today to more fully flesh out this first path to healing post. To be continued…

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