There is a big discussion in the educational community between teachers, administrators and parents on the value of a common core curriculum. While our country might need an army of scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians in the near future to stay competitive our approach to education has severely missed the mark.
The other day my son was given a homework problem that was literally circulated among the parents because we as parents couldn’t figure out how to solve the problem you were asking an 8 year old to solve.
This has become commonplace among parents and children trying to conform to the new Common Core standards.
Each day I am dumbfounded at the amount of information that is forced into my children’s thought process without giving a thought about how a child really learns.
What we have done instead of bringing “children” up to learning we have brought learning down to them. A very grave mistake.
I’d like to ask what will happen in a decade or two when we realize that the problems of today are still the problems of tomorrow and that the population needs yet, another skill set for it’s survival. Did we kill off the soul and life-blood and the creativity of those future generations because we needed them to conform and perform according to “our needs”?
This is short-sighted thinking.
The Common Core we are all searching for but are afraid to discuss is religion.
And, let’s be clear that I mean religion, not theology. Religion in the proper sense of the word, is spiritual ethics, and its foundation is the teaching of broad principles of right and wrong, absolutely indispensable to constructive and successful living.
Theology, on the other hand, divided as it is into innumerable sects and isms, cannot be taught in public schools of any democratic or liberal-thinking country. Let’s make that clear.
Our highly diversified background complicates the religious problem in the United States. Parents representing over two hundred and fifty sects and creeds, send their children to public schools, and must be assured that nothing will be taught to these children that will conflict with the creedal religious training they receive, or should receive, in their homes.
Baptist parents do not want their children to be taught Methodist doctrines. The Presbyterians will have no Mormonism inculcated upon their children, and the orthodox Jewish families will court no Roman Catholicism influencing the formative minds of their offspring. This has been a stalemate in religious education.
The trouble has been, first, that the religious education which the school is not permitted to give, is also (in the majority of cases) neglected in the home and presented in such narrow, sectarian terms that the children themselves revolt against the bigotry of the older generation, and so have no religious ethics to direct their codes of living. As is clearly evident by many first generation children.
It is a mistake to believe that religious education needs to interfere with the theological limitations of any personal perspective. No matter how narrow and intolerant a person is in religious matters, he will generally uphold the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. There is sufficient religious material common to all the sects of Christendom, Judaism and other religious groups, to permit of sound religious education that conflicts with nothing and can only accomplish good.
All religions worthy of the name of religion acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Principle of good, which control the universe with the law and order and decrees that men shall live together honestly, justly, and benevolently. All religions commonly concur in the teaching that a virtuous life is acceptable and necessary; and that justice and honesty preserve human society.
A beautiful religious outline could be formed acceptable to all, and be the common denominator we really all are searching for, instead of what we have currently adopted.
No individual who does not understand the several great religions of the world has any right to regard himself as educated, for in spite of all the industrial and mechanical emphasis of the last few generations, religion and religious thought are still the greatest moving forces in humanity – the greatest living power of the world.
To study the Greeks and not their religion is foolish. To study India, China, Egypt and Rome, without mastering their history, their ethics and esthetics, is to leave out of education the very soul and essence of it.
Yes, involved problems of comparative religion belong, of course, in the higher grades of education; but the beginnings of inter-religious understanding should be included with the ABC’s and the three R’s.
We need to end the bigotry and the intolerance that is plaguing our country and the world. The spiritual ideals of the human race must find some common denominator from which to work. A simple but vital truth, such as the Golden Rule, should be that common denominator not science and math.
Live and Learn. We All Do.
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