I don’t think there’s much debate that our schools need to be reformed. The issues are numerous, and there’s always a new program to get us back on track. No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and the newest savior – Common Core.
But what’s the real issue with our school systems? There are lots of things we could blame. We could say there’s so much of an emphasis on paperwork and assessment that the truly good teachers aren’t even free to teach. We could raise concerns about the lack of student consequences and the emphasis on self-esteem. We could blame the teachers unions who won’t allow bad teachers to be fired. We could cite the lack of competition and advocate for more school choice. We could worry about increase in school violence and argue for more security.
And we’d be making some good points. But these are not the biggest problems with our school systems.
The true problems are much more basic, underlying issues. They are the core reasons from which many of the more obvious problems stem. They are problems we don’t want to talk about because they aren’t exactly PC and they fight against the current of our culture.
But they are worth discussing. Because if we ever really want to true reform, these issues are going to have to be dealt with.
So What’s Really Wrong with Our Schools?
- The family structure is in shambles. The breakdown of the family has had a devastating effect on schools (not to mention our society at large). It is the parents who are ultimately responsible to raise their children, but too many parents are abdicating that responsibility – if they’re even around at all. Less than half of teenagers live with their married biological parents, and the cost of this is incalculable.
I’ve seen firsthand how difficult a divorce can be on a student – academically, emotionally, socially, and even spiritually. Even in the best of circumstances, kids have a lot to face. And they need both parents, united and supportive, to help them grow and mature.
Now, I’m not saying that kids who grow up in a single-parent home are destined to failure – that is ludicrous. But I am saying that it’s a whole lot harder and there’s a lot more challenges. Of course there are situations that are unavoidable, but I’m extremely concerned that our society is changing the definition of what is normal and best. No longer are we promoting strong marriages. You’re unhappy in your marriage? Just get divorced. In fact, why get married at all? Just live together. Marriage is overrated anyhow (unless you’re gay, in which case it is extremely important. But I digress…..)
If we really want things to turn around we need to start advocating for strong marriages, homes, and families. They are the foundation of society, and thus absolutely essential in the development of strong, effective schools.
- We have banned God. How can we hope to teach true knowledge and wisdom when we refuse to even acknowledge God, who is the source of all knowledge.
We worry about teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and school violence, but we cannot discuss the truths that can make a real difference in combating these issues.
We want to teach our kids to be good citizens, to be moral, to be diligent and hard-working, but without the truths of Scripture, these values have no real foundation. They’re not much more than “good advice” which can be easily ignored in favor of what’s more convenient, popular, or fun.
As a teacher in a Christian school, I’ve been privileged to see firsthand how God can transform a student’s life, and it’s just so sad that, as a nation, we are denying this incredible power. If we want to see something truly amazing, if we want a school system that is truly effective, we need to experience a revival of God and His truths.
Do you agree that God and strong families are the answer to the underlying problems with our school system? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with a comment below.
Photo by Shutter Stutter
Ours is a throw-away society. We’ve all heard it before…….Toaster doesn’t work , buy a new one. TV goes out, throw it, buy a new one. Don’t fix that old fridge, January sales are coming – buy a new one. Marriage in trouble? Oh well, just throw the old spouse out and get a new one! Teaching children the value of something, or more importantly, someONE is absolutely fundamental if we ever want to get out of the societal mess we are in. We need to celebrate anniversaries, not make headlines with break-ups.
As for abandoning God in our school system…….that point is made every day when there is far more cursing of Him, than praying to Him.
Interesting article Linda, thanks.
I’ve rewritten this response so many times I think it will now start a post on my site!
My first response was: I agree with both of your points above but I’d add a third and maybe fourth.
#3 Christians aren’t engaging in the system to the extent needed to institute change. The amount of salt and light in the system is too easily diluted.
#4 Those Christians that are in the system aren’t supported enough by the church at large.
Then I thought more about it… got pulled into my own writing/research mode, sat on the rooftop and thought/prayed about it for a while.
The question you pose is one I find fascinating for several reasons.
For starters, it’s pretty broad… you don’t specify which type of education, Christian or secular. They are very different systems and my first thoughts were that there were very different things wrong with each of the “systems.” The more I thought about it I wondered if it were as true as it seemed at first glance? I think both are struggling with the question “How then shall we teach?” The secular system is spending great resources to build pedagogy and curricula to answer that question based on their own anti-God worldview. As Christians we tend to reject that curriculum or at least do what we can to counter the worldview that it’s built upon but we accept the pedagogy. Pedagogy isn’t worldview neutral!
Are Christian schools using pedagogy that removes God from the classroom?
Now there’s a question to keep you awake at night.
I think this is long enough for a response. Time to draft a post, write a chapter.
Can’t wait to hear your post, Eric. I was thinking mainly public schools when I wrote this because Christian schools are so much harder to categorize. Each Christian school is an entity in itself and thus some are very strong and some are really struggling – and each one has different strengths & weaknesses. But I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on some common issues (which I know there are many.)