I listened this interview about education on the way into work today, and there’s a lot to latch onto in here. The discussion provides many useful debate starters, and I found myself on either end of the spectrum for most of the opinions expressed, agreeing with a majority.
Honestly, many of the points made (especially by the host) are supported by a flimsy “things are different from when I was growing up”, and then an implied “…therefore it’s bad.” More often however, I found myself agreeing with the guest speaker. Here are a few points she touches on:
- Kids/students/people should learn knowledge, not values from an educational system
- Elementary schools shouldn’t teach things like good eating and sex ed
- Grades and credentials vs learning
- Parents need to teach kids values, and shouldn’t be stuck with teaching things like math and science to their kids
- Kids need to be allowed to do things, challenged and given responsibility
I struggle with this last one – I want to keep my own kids little forever. But, I know I can’t.
I sometimes write on here about the school system that my daughter and son attend, I hold back a lot of my opinions though because, well it’s just not worth it to complain so much. Paraphrasing Joanna Williams in the video: in these schools parents are commonly put in the position that if they complain about (or, even, don’t comply with) value based initiatives they run the risk of making their kids stand-out on behalf of their own opinions. Unfortunately, this makes ‘voicing opinions’ not a worthwhile mindset for a parent to be in much of the time.
One thing I’ve learned, is that despite how much they insist they want to hear from parents, schools and boards of education don’t want to hear from them unless it’s on their terms.
Anyway, the other thing I did want to say about this video is that all of the comments Joanna makes about “eating right” hit so close to home. Schools are terrible at teaching kids good eating habits. Yet, for some reason, they seem so dead set on taking up this cause. It’s simply not needed. Their “healthy hunger” lunch program that features Little Caesars Pizza, Opa, Subway, and all other sorts of fast food places, isn’t needed. Their gym classes that ban running, isn’t needed. And they’re constant fundraising that try to sell us discounted pizza, isn’t needed.
It’s difficult not to undermine the authority of our kids’ schools when they constantly take up the teaching of values at the expense of knowledge, and then turn around and sell those values off to local businesses in the name of education.