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Education Standards

  • November 29, -0001
The Obama Administration is gearing up for another go at establishing universal standards of educational achievement for America's schools. The present system is too diverse to suit the President and it has not succeeded in lifting the nation's children to the highest places of international achievement. According to The Economist (November 21st), "Arne Duncan, the education secretary, is offering more than $4 billion in total to states that pursue certain reforms - in particular, adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to compete in a global economy."

American education has descended to its nadir. If our highest aspiration for students is that they be the very best in the world at getting-and-spending, then we have missed the whole point of human development. We are not merely economical creatures. We are also moral, relational, aesthetic, spiritual, social, and creative beings. Apparently, however, all these aspects of the human person are to be made subservient to the one overarching goal of not being an economic drain on our neighbors. Let the kids get that instruction among their peers or from the pop culture.

But the sorry state of American education is not the fault of the Obama Administration. Parents and teachers whose greatest hope for children is that they get a good job are the main source of our pedagogical woes. In Scripture parents committed to teaching their children the ways and works of the Lord (Ps. 78.1-8). That meant children would grow up with a sense of moral obligation - to love God and their neighbors - as well as a disposition to wonder, give thanks, and exercise stewardship over the earth; pursue industry and show charity in work; and take responsibility for their famillies and those in their communities who were in need. "Making a living" is never touted as a goal in the Biblical philosophy of education; rather, it is simply one means whereby well-educated, faithful men and women worked together for a good society.

So if we wonder why our society isn't as good as it might be, look to the schools, but not the schools only. Look to parents, teachers, politicians, preachers, and all who neglect God's plan for the development of children, and substitute a religion of mammon for that worldview which the Founders of this nation embraced and taught.

T. M. Moore

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