Tuesday, June 15, 2004

On Education

The Empress doesn't think much of public schools. Neither does Debbie O'Hara (found at WND).

My problem with Mrs. O'Hara's (not our own Miss O'Hara) analysis is that she links an 1895 test that is supposed to show how the system has degenerated in the last 100+ years.

The Urban Legends Reference Page rightly points out that when you study for the test, when your classes and coursework are for the test, it's likely you know the information and can pass.

Just because those of us who've been out of school for years cannot remember when to use a capital letter (though we probably know a mis-placed capital when we see it because we had drilled into our heads in high school) or some of that math without the aid of a calculator does not mean we are any less intelligent.

Rather than focusing on rote memorization of rules, formulas, and facts, the 1895 tests lacks the skill of analysis.

For example: Take a given event in history, analyze the surrounding events that preceded it. What was its impact? What were the causes of WWI? Why was the Archduke assisinated? What philosophical theories impacted an event? You are a supporter of the King of England living in the colonies. Write an essay on why the colonies should remain just that and not seek independence. (I was a junior in college before I ever saw a dissenting opinion on the Revolution. To write such an essay would require teachers to teach all sides - oops.. we can't do that can we?)

And so on and so on. Talking about the history of a place or an event is one thing. Being able to understand its overall impact is another.

Elena and I were speaking about this last night when she was telling me about some articles she read. The author made a thesis statement but then refused to support it. The paper was more about why something was wrong with no solutions as to how to fix it.

Mrs. O'Hara is right. Government schools are generally of poor quality and will not educate your children in a Christian worldview (assuming you have that view). But some private, Christian schools are no better. They have no intellectual curiousity about anything that isn't listed in the Bible. Sound like the Taliban anyone?

Communism is a theory that has been debunked as a political system, but we still examine for historical context. Why not view evolution in the same way?

The Empress forgot her closing statement. Oh well... ::totters off to find something useful to do::