Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Teacher Who Sought Out Answers

I received a link to this in an email. The link is to a website called CollegePlus. I thought it was worth sharing.

A Teacher Learns the Truth About Education
by Lauren Bleser

In 2002, I graduated with my Master’s degree as a reading specialist after having finished a teaching degree from the State University of New York at Oneonta. I was fast on my way to a full and busy career in the public school system when I was caught off guard by a homeschooling parent who asked if I could explain God’s mind on education. I had never really considered that before, always taking it for granted that we simply go through the system, memorize the information required, and graduate. This challenging question led me on a quest that changed the course of my life.

Questioning the System
What is a real education? After studying it out, I have come to believe that education involves the whole child, not just the mind. It includes character growth, personal disciplines, and manners. Considering each child’s unique talents, interests, natural capacities, strengths and abilities, the end result of education is that they would become effective tools in God’s kingdom. Scripture offers clarity in this regard:

Deuteronomy 6:7 "And thou shalt teach them (God’s commandments) diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

According to the Scriptures, education is primarily the parents’ responsibility and is to be a natural part of everyday life. Education is accomplished through a meaningful trusting relationship. Education is discipleship.
I realized that I had blindly accepted a limited view of education, simply associating it with an academic pursuit of knowledge. Academic instruction, however, is only a small part of God’s plan—a means to an end, not the end in itself.

The Frightening Truth
So where did these distorted ideas come from? Studying the history of compulsory public schooling in America confronted me with ideas that challenged my own “education.” I uncovered disturbing facts about schools, business, government, and politics. All of it related to what was happening in the public school system.
Surprisingly, the National Education Association understands that education cannot be neutral, that ideas do in fact have consequences. They were working hard to train educators to go beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic, but to shape children’s core values as well. The “experts” have been using schooling and teachers as cultural change agents. This quote from Joyce Elmer Morgan, former editor of the Journal of the National Education Association, encapsulates their agenda the best:

“In the struggle to establish an adequate world government, the teacher can do much to prepare the hearts and minds of children for global understanding and cooperation. At the very top of all the agencies which will assure the coming of world government must stand the school, the teacher, and the organized profession.”

For decades now, they have endeavored to strip away the belief in absolutes and biblical morals and usher generations of students into a relativistic secular society. “Values Clarification” has become required as part of the regular state standards. Children were increasingly being expected to use newly taught problem-solving techniques to make moral decisions based on situational ethics and group consensus.
SAT tests, Goals 2000 and No Child Left Behind have introduced specific subjective / feelings-based / moral educational requirements and subsequent consequences for not meeting those standards, using new programs with labels like “Outcomes Based Education.” These alleged reforms have given them power to effectively implement new physiological approaches to their moral instruction. Even sincere public school teachers have unwittingly acted as pawns to destructively mold the next generation.

Taking Action
Knowing that I myself could not make such compromises, I decided to teach at a Christian school instead. Although I greatly appreciated being allowed to teach freely from the Bible, and even having a smaller group of students and increased parental support, the classroom setting still proved to be less than ideal for the children, both academically and spiritually.
Additionally, the emphasis on grades has changed the basis of their self-affirmation from internal character to external performance. This naturally led to comparisons and labeling among one another. In order to establish better rank in the pecking order that schools naturally created, many students at my school began to exhibit foolish behavior for attention.
They adapted their personalities to fit into cliques; they grew more peer dependent, and learned to compromise character to increase their popularity, gain approval, and obtain a false sense of importance. All of this distracted them from the very essence of real education – the development of their minds and characters.

Stepping Outside the Box
The classroom setting works directly against God’s design for a child’s personal growth. Effective education involves more than just providing the content, but also providing a healthy context for learning. Education is not a one-size-fits-all package, but must be tailored to the student’s unique multi-faceted nature, reaching beyond the intellect to the heart.
This is best accomplished in the security of family, in response to the parents’ nurturing investment and discipline, and without all the distractions of peers. Only when character and discipline are established is it safe to expand the walls of education.

Lauren Bleser is from upstate New York. She has her BS in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education, and a MS as a reading specialist. She is currently a medical transcriptionist, and also a part-time private tutor for homeschool families. Lauren teaches creative writing workshops for both children and homeschool parents, along with workshops about teaching techniques for the struggling learner. Lauren is currently working on a literature-based creative writing curriculum.

1 comment:

  1. I'm the PR manager over at CollegePlus!, the organization that published Lauren's article.

    Thanks so much for sharing her thoughts and discoveries to your readership. The more people who know about true education, the better!

    Shawn Cohen
    CollegePlus! PR