Saturday, September 08, 2007

Dewey's decimals don't add up . . .

" is the the office of the school environment to balance the various elements in the social environment, and to see to it that each individual gets an opportunity to escape from the limitations of the social group in which he was born, and to come into living contact with a broader environment." Democracy and Education, John Dewey, 1916, page 24

John Dewey, the famed educator and atheist, went a little too far for me at the beginning of this classic work. For Dewey neither the home nor the church are the key places for an individual to flesh out their beliefs, ideas, goals, etc. Instead, Dewey places the final authority for "balance" and freedom from "limitations" in the hands of the school. It's no wonder that teachers and schools have been thought to push agendas for years; the father of modern education espoused this view and in fact, asked teachers to make it happen. It's also no wonder that parents have allowed this practice to occur (for they were indoctrinated by it through their own educational upbringing), and the home has lost its sacred place in the lives of students. Now it's the "balancing" environment of the school that teaches our children about values, sex, vocation, etc. The school--an institution free from the control of any church or belief system--is the source of our nation's morality/values/etc. That does not seem to make much sense unless one is a total utilitarian.

I pray that today we recognize that 100 years of reliance upon the public education system for the salvation of our country has not worked. I will send my kids to public school, support the school board (and offer my 2 cents), and encourage educators. BUT, I will not let the school provide the "values" and "standards" that will guide my child through life. Parents, train a child in the way they should go . . . then when they are older they will not stray from it. (see Proverbs 22:6 and Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

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