Thursday, April 24, 2008

When Public Education Cannot Succeed

I had another sub assignment today in a local public high school. And I observed a lesson seen before, but brought clearly before my eyes again.

A lesson which, for the record, applies to all of education: Public, Christian, Sunday school, or otherwise.

The teacher whose geometry classroom I inhabited today left a bit too little for the students to do—I could see that right away. So I planned to spend the first 10-15 minutes review what [to me, especially] were familiar topics, in order to help them succeed on their worksheets. This went fine; but then several students absolutely refused to do the assigned work, preferring instead to talk, goof around, sleep, or generally distract all their neighbors. And then they complained that they didn't know how to do the geometry!

There are several problems here. But the fact which was made frightfully obvious today was this:

Learning cannot take place when the student is in rebellion to the teacher.

Public education is inherently handicapped in various ways, including its inability to effectively discipline and the general lack of support our society gives in holding up authority. The fact that students refuse to obey their teachers is the fruit reaped from seeds earlier sown.

These children did not appear to be stupid, unintellectual, or whatever politically correct (or incorrect) term you care to use. The reason they had not been learning was because they did not want to submit themselves to the authority and teaching of the teacher.

And is this not also true spiritually? Can we learn the lessons of God when we put ourselves outside His authority—when we are, quite bluntly, in rebellion against His leadership in our lives? Will we not then become "fools" (to invoke the Proverbs term) also??

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