This week’s and next weeks’ articles focus on three issues no one seems to talk about when discussing education and the difficulties we’re experiencing by preparing changing children in a changing society for a changing future which is completely unpredictable.
Everyone knows that the current education system provided an adequate to excellent preparation for the expected lifestyle in days gone by. The hierarchical structure of the school and the discipline involved provided excellent preparation for enlistment in the military or work in the factory where one started at the bottom and advanced upward through the ranks, and served their employer until that time when one felt it was time to retire from work and enjoy the benefits of a work-filled life.
That’s gone now. Indeed, it IS the American dream. In a world that’s instantly connected by technology, the world has become vastly more complex, and complexity requires complex solutions. What makes complex solutions even more complex is by the time a solution has been developed, the marketplace has changed, making matters even more complex. The solution becomes obsolete even before it was implemented.
We don’t like complex solutions. We want simple. Why? Simple – people want what they can’t have. Solutions are marketed as “simple,” but most times, their implementation requires other processes or practices to change as well. Simple becomes complex. It’s easier for people to stay where they are and complain rather than to do something about making the situation a better one.
With that in mind, it’s understandable that parents are apt to complain about the education their children receive, and blame the school, the teachers, the administrators, the coaches, and even community members. Since public school funding is predicated on property taxes, those communities which have low socio-economic status have historically not had the funding to provide the resources necessary for every child to excel and achieve to their greatest potential. Unfortunately, these same parents are leaving out one main group where the responsibility lies – themselves.
It’s been a long-held truth that parents are the primary educators of their children. The school’s role has been as a support to provide a learning environment that’s necessary for children to advance beyond their parents’ abilities as well learn to function in social settings. Therefore, parents will use this argument to support homeschooling, but the societal aspect of an educational experience is missing. That’s even more important today, where employees are expected to function as teams, requiring social skills to be developed and refined throughout the educational experience, and today, that means interacting with individuals with different backgrounds, beliefs and lifestyles.
In reading this short article, I’ll bet you’ve made an assumption. You’ve either assumed that it’s good that parents are the first educators of their children, and have used that mindset to validate the customs and beliefs that your family holds; or, you’ve assumed that it’s a bad thing, and that children need to exposed to the differences around them that they’re going to face when they enter the workforce, and how they’re going to need to positively interact with everyone around them.
You’ll note that this article didn’t support either side – it simply stated reality. The influence of a positive or negative reaction is has been formed by your current mindset. Indeed, it’s one of the reasons this site is named “edu-cat-ion.” It’s one of the “ion” issues, since an ion is a particle that is either positively or negatively charged.
Could it be that the answer to the problems in education isn’t educating the children at all – it’s educating the parents. After all, in any profession, continuing education is necessary for one to maintain their certification. What type of continuing education experiences are we offering to parents today regarding parenting?
Next week, something no one pays attention to.