Thursday, March 29, 2012

"what do they teach in schools these days?" (Prof. Kirk)

That is a good question, and it came from a character C.S. Lewis meant to represent himself, Professor Kirk in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." We are asking this question as we muddle through what is passing for education in our own cultural system.

Friend Marcia wrote this comment on the state of education in Christian liberal arts schools of higher education:

Life at college is not the real world. Our students are considered adults while they live with very little discipline and even less responsibility. Worse, administrators are disdainful of parents who remain involved with their young "adults," even though they may be footing the bill. Christian parents are often looking for an institution where authorities reinforce the parents' standards, and with good reason. Secular schools may have authorities antagonistic toward faith.
The best schools would teach their students how to think, how to discipline themselves, and how to shoulder responsibility even when it's not fun. The best parents would, too. But for now, a piece of paper often allows graduates to gain entry into a workplace where they may learn these things, as they spend years paying off their student loans.

Wow, Marcia. You covered a lot of ground in there. All points well-taken.

First, college is not the real world. That pretty much says it. Quite a few young people think or act like it is, and do some pretty irresponsible things. Some crash and burn while others enjoy the security of their parents' safety net. Which ones learn life's lessons? Which parents are being truly parental?

Being a parent is a tough call. I imagine being a university administrator is also pretty tough. Walking the line between helping young people grow up and pleasing their parents can be onerous at best. The focus on "how to discipline and shoulder responsibility" are items not easily itemized on a syllabus and graded on a test. Yet, as a group, educators have determined that education should be thus quantifiable and assessable. Hmm.

My own personal freshman, Bell at Dallas, texted me today:

"I feel like college does not encourage us to be responsible but maybe even enables us to be lazy and waste four years of our lives."

Those of you who know Bell night find this surprising. But she calls it as she sees it.

Where does that leave us? Sounds like young people not particularly well-prepared for real life while saddled with the reality of huge student loans.

We should be asking if there is an alternative which is more realistic to the goals (assuming the goals are responsible citizens here), and more aligned with the financial potential of the "consumer". Can we grab the attention of this world's educators if we continue to send our offspring and pay exorbitant fees? How?

Here I end. Once again with questions.

1 comment:

Jarm Del Boccio said...

In the home educating world, students are choosing apprenticeships, online courses, and real life experiences to further their education...and all from home, for less money. There is no shame in that, in fact, they get where they want to be sooner in life. As you and Marcia have suggested, too much time is wasted on "higher education"!