If you ask 1,000 people what the problems are concerning our schools, you will probably get 1,000 varying (if not completely different) answers. There is no simple solution for such a complex issue. I am just one man with an opinion and, fortunately, chattanoogan.com allows space for every-day people like me to voice it. So, as it pertains to our schools, here is one man’s opinion.
The issues in our schools are not new. No matter what you think of the current superintendent, board members, council members, etc., they simply inherited problems that have been going on for years.
The decline in our schools (behavior, test scores, morale, bullying, all of it) is not something that has happened this year or even the last few years. And, because of this longevity, I don’t believe the decline is going to suddenly 180 thanks to any of the one-hit-wonder solutions being argued back and forth these days. Oh yes, we’ll spend oodles of time talking about whether or not to throw a few more dollars at the teachers, or if we should change how we teach math for the 15th time. But the problems are much deeper rooted than that.
In the fourth grade of a highly touted magnet school, my child experienced students hurling four-letter words at teachers on a daily basis. Bless the teacher’s heart, but does anyone really believe paying her an extra $5,000 a year will suddenly “fix” the lives of those precious children who are going “home” to situations and conditions I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy?
So what is the magic pill that will make this horrible illness go away? Two words……
I am not trying to be witty nor do I want to come across as preachy. But maybe a problem with such a lengthy history needs to be analyzed on both ends of its life. In 2014, an education expert by the name of William Jeynes said, “One can argue, and some have, that the decision by the Supreme Court – in a series of three decisions back in 1962 and 1963 – to remove Bible and prayer from our public schools, may be the most spiritually significant event in our nation’s history over the course of the last 55 years,”.
I attended K-12 in the 80’s and 90’s. While the schools were certainly better at that time than they are now, my parents acknowledged a decline even then from what they had experienced themselves. I don’t see that as a “back in my day” type of argument or sentiment. I see it as a real trend that, as we look back on it all, seemed to foretell the very nightmares we are currently experiencing.
When people talk about raising children, it is often said that "It takes a village.” Yes, but a village doing what? In my opinion, it takes a village praying for their children daily wherever they may be. It takes a village sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with one another, especially our children wherever they may be. And it takes a village willing to call out those who are straying from God. Because, not only do we love them, but we also love the village.
I’m including a link of the 2014 article that quotes William Jeynes (the education expert I mentioned) as he discusses the very issues we are hashing out now along with some interesting parallels.
My solution to the problems in schools? Put the Bible and prayer back in. It won’t change things over-night. Nothing is going to. But I’d be willing to bet that, 30 years from now, there would be a community celebrating our courage to do so as they recognize moral fabric having been infused back into their world. Faith, family, and education. In that order.
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Some say all that's needed is to put "God back in schools, God back in America" and all wrongs will right themselves. That's a false premise. Looking back, history always appear better, kinder even. Truth is, it wasn't. America was actually in a much darker, at times, even sinister place when God was here, there, everywhere and all over.
Reality is, when "God was in schools" all over and everywhere, schools like Howard were being firebombed. For the better part of those days when "God was in schools" schools were segregated, separate and unequal.
Reality tells is, nothing and then some was going on in schools than what's going on today. Be they private, public, other or even home schooling. The two children found buried in the backyard in a Georgia town in or around 2018 were home schooled. One actually went missing in 2016. The reason they were never missed by the school system was they were home schooled. Studies have shown, home schooled children are more likely to be abused. One known home schooled child killed his father, allegedly after suffering years of abuse.
Surely "God was in schools" in 1927 when Andrew Kehoe blew up a school using dynamite and some other substance, killing 38 elementary students, six adults, afterwards including the school superintendent and injuring 58 others. He also killed himself when he blew up the truck he was driving. He'd earlier killed his wife and blew up their farm.
God's been "there", all over and everywhere, during most of America's darkest most sinister and wicked moments in history.
The final truth is, from the moment school integration took hold, there's been a plot to sabotage public schools. For some, if they can't have things "their way", destroy it. Tear it down. Doesn't matter if they bring themselves and their own down with it.
Don't blame God, but don't exploit and use him/her to drive home and boost a weak argument either.
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Rather than argue about God, try this:
I hope the day soon comes when elementary and secondary education is totally reconsidered and refashioned. Trying to put young people of today through a system of a long-gone yesterday is ludicrous and an exercise in futility full of frustration for all parties involved. Don’t you see that? Surely, it’s plain to anyone paying attention who thinks it over seriously.
Kids don’t want to go to school and sit there all day listening to teachers when everything being taught is now on the cell phone in his/her hand and can be accessed instantly. It’s literally at your fingertips and the only requirement is good reading comprehension so they can understand what they’re reading. The answer to every question is also there. No need to raise your hand and ask the teacher.
Students should have to show up at school only at testing time and then take their tests with pencil and paper to show they can do it. That’s all.
Face to face contact (and confrontation) with teachers should be left to the past. Every lesson is available on video and can be played over and over until it’s understood.
Close the schools and use the buildings only as testing centers. Close the cafeterias. Stop the morning traffic rush. Stop enslaving kids. Stop enslaving parents. Stop fleecing taxpayers. Come into the 21st century and fully embrace technology.
Get rid of the teachers and all the administration. Save countless millions of wasted dollars. Declare defunct the educational system as it is because it ain’t working and it’s impossible to salvage. Its roots go all the way back to the one-room schoolhouse and the famous Blue Back Speller that was “taught to the tune of a hickory stick”.
Move instead to community development. Replace school athletics and bands with community teams and community bands. That is, if you want to hold onto such things. But you could instead abandon them entirely and let them commence only at college level.
We don’t need teachers to pronounce words for kids anymore because you only have to hit the icon to hear the word pronounced. Really, what the heck do we need with a live teacher standing in front of kids? There is no longer any need for that at all. No wonder the kids disrespect the teachers and the teachers are pulling their hair out and quitting in droves.
Wise up. Close the schools. Use them either for testing centers or, better yet, replace them with affordable housing.
Now, go ahead and try to make an argument in defense of a system that was created before electricity and toilet paper. Try it.