On this page, some words to let you know my point of view. Links lead to a variety of pieces--here is a fascinating article by Dorothy Sayers on what we can learn from medieval schooling; here's one on cognitive dissonance and its effects on children; more will follow.
Want to respond? E-mail me your thoughts, and I'll post whatever I think is interesting.
Joel's Point of View
To educe is "to draw out, as something latent." In the Meno Dialogue, Plato records Socrates' demonstration of the depth of this truth. In this Information Age, we find institutional education collapsing, at all levels. Why? Is it merely information overload? I think not. I believe US education has been undermined by design, by John Dewey and his teachings. (Back-up references will be provided at a later date; for now, just read anything by Dewey.)
Public education is also stuck with the Industrial Revolution model for education, in which batches of children are run through different "processes," with no respect for individuality.
Revisionist textbooks abound. We took two of our six kids out of junior high when we learned that their social studies text taught that the UN brought an end to World War II. We put them in private schools, and ultimately home-schooled them. Our older daughter now home-schools her eight children, and my wife home-schools two of our other grandkids.
What was formerly known and labeled as conjecture ("the Theory of Evolution") has by fiat become, not mere fact, but unchallengeable dogma. Woe to anyone who suggests that observed facts are inadequately explained by evolution. They will not be intellectually challenged; they will be pilloried.
Control over schools has been taken out of the hands of parents and removed as far as possible, to the federal government. This is absurd.
Finally, not just God, but any notion of absolute good and evil has been removed from the consciousness of educators.
Need we wonder at a literacy rate that is below 70% and dropping? That high-school graduates can't add a column of figures or keep a checkbook? That more than 25% of the seniors in Houston who were asked the name of "the large country to the south" did not know?
Many families have taken matters into their own hands through homeschooling. But this is not a permanent solution; the property taxes paid by those same families are funding the system that doesn't work. I think, as my wife strongly believes, that the answer lies in restoring parental and local community control to education, and getting both the federal and state governments out of the business.