What are schools for? A Question We Should Ask

“Any system of education, therefore, which limits instruction to the arts and sciences, and rejects the aids of religion in forming the characters of citizens, is essentially defective.”

– Noah Webster, Letter to David McClure :: October 25, 1836

With more and more people questioning the relevancy of our public school system it is refreshing to read Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams. Wherein he sees the broken and outdated system in it’s true light of decay. He asks many relevant questions and poses valid points for thought; for instance,

??????? Column A vs. Column B
Column A (What needs to be taught): Aware, Caring, Committed, Creative, Goal-setting, Honest, Improvising, Incisive, Independent, Informed, Initiating, Innovating, Insightful, Leading, Strategic, Supportive.

Column B (What is being taught): Obedient

??????? “What are schools for?” A question we should be able to ask and give a realistic answer to.

??????? “Can we teach people to care? I know that we can teach them not to care.” We do that now.

??????? “As long as we embrace (or even accept) standardized testing, fear of science, little attempt at teaching leadership, and most of all, the bureaucratic imperative to turn education into a factory itself, we’re in big trouble”

There have been many on the forefront of the issues facing “the post-job economy” such as Strauss and Howe, Dr. Oliver DeMille, founder of George Wythe University and Dr. Shannon Brooks, founder of Monticello College, but if education was taught in a holistic manner where everything is related instead of in Pavlovian bell ringing segregated labyrinth it may be clear to most everyone what the problems are.

We could teach: right and wrong, good and bad, true and false, relationships, family values, family routines and responsibilities, learning accountability, and the value and love of work or would that be forcing morality on our children?

We could teach: Initiative, Ingenuity, Allegiance, Integrity, Commitment, Passion, Impact if we wanted to but that would take inspiration in teaching not requiring.

To be successful in developing the character of our youth we need the influence of family and religion. For those who believe differently reread the quote by Noah Webster who told us in 1836 what would become of our education system if we ignored this advice.


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