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Monday, June 15, 2015

We Educate Our Children For What Purpose?

Photo: Sue Freeman Culverhouse
Sue Freeman Culverhouse, Author of Tennessee Literary Luminaries: From Cormac McCarthy to Robert Penn Warren (The History Press, 2013) writes, "Educating our children seems to be a no-brainer when you contemplate the reasons behind this procedure."


First, we want them to be able to grow up and support themselves. Next, we’d like to think that they will become discriminating intelligent thinkers. Third, we hope that they will be responsible citizens who care about others. Fourth, we assume that when they become parents, they will have the skills they need to be successful. We’d like for them to be able to manage their money so that when they retire, they will be able to enjoy their senior years.
We don’t want our children to become slaves.

In other words, we want them to become successful human beings with a social conscience and an understanding of what has gone on in the world prior to their entry so that they will make intelligent decisions about the future. We pray that they will be able to have and use some common sense.

Let’s look at a few of the ways we are now going about educating children in our schools at the present time.

How many people in the workforce today are tested from 50 to 75 per cent of the time they are working? “What?” you ask. “How could you accomplish anything at work if you were taking tests all the time?”

Three guesses at what children are doing in the classroom these days….taking tests constantly. Is this preparing them for life in the ‘real world’ or is it just making them test takers?

Next, how many people in the work force use algebra, chemistry, physics, trigonometry, and other forms of higher math and science on a daily basis? “Very few,” you reply, “and certainly not me!”

Laws are now being put into place to require that all students take higher math and science classes. Yes, it’s critically important that our engineers, research scientists, and other people who do use higher math and science daily understand these concepts and are able to use them correctly. On the other hand, how many jobs not in these fields require their use? Not everyone is a rocket scientist nor should they be.

Here’s what’s happening. Algebra is being taught even in first grade these days. These kids (who, by the way, are in a developmental stage where if they see a cat mask on a dog will identify the animal as a cat!) don’t even know basic addition and subtraction facts yet. Do they really need to try to understand an “unknown” in an equation?

Does this give you a hint at why the guy at the cash register can’t figure out your change if the cash register doesn’t provide the information?...

Any good educator will tell you that repetition is the key to learning. That’s why music teachers excel in communicating a song that is to be learned; the song is sung repeatedly until the child knows it. In modern classrooms, there is little time for repetition. So much information is required on standardized tests that repetition time is minimal. Skills are presented and are practiced briefly and then it’s time to go on.

Source: Clarksville Online