Sunday, December 03, 2017

schools and democracy

I asked a good friend of mine to help me think though the various issues we must address in improving public education. Of course making education hands-on so it actually interests kids is only a part of the equation.

My friend pointed out that education in the US once had a common, accepted purpose, that of creating a democratic nation in which people found a meaningful place in the fabric of society, got along with each other and knew how to resolve their differences without damaging the rights of others.

As we wandered from that path and chose lesser goals, we've become a nation of sides in opposition to each other. We see this locally in our city council meetings, and attitudes towards each other, and in states where voters would rather elect persons with despicable moral failings than a person of the other party. On the national stage, one party joyfully pass legislation completely at odds with the wishes of the opposing party.

My illustration shows what I fear has become the accepted purpose of education in America.

Can we go back to Kindergarten and learn in some remedial fashion the things we should have learned then, but missed or forgot? Things like, how to get along with each other, how to share, how to speak kindly, to act thoughtfully and with consideration for each other's feelings? How to nourish and sustain each other and help each other to do our best?

We do need to put a higher purpose back in education. My friend proposed the following solution to the American public school dilemma:
"Less restrictions, or more freedom in choosing and developing curriculum aimed toward perpetuating and improving our democracy. More interest in ‘Honesty” and ‘Integrity’ being shared values than just words of the week."
Today I have lots of preparation to do for Monday's classes.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning likewise.

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