I am feeling a sadness about public education right now. And about education in the US in general. I am wondering whether we have lost what education means and what it is to have been effectively educated.
When I was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, I was definitely caught up in the humanities education in a way that was holistic and healing. But it also got me off the track of valuing monogamy in marriage and this came through study of literature in an actively atheist and socialist environment with former Soviet scholars in the Slavic department. By my late twenties I had almost had an affair.
Luckily I came to my senses, and even more fortunate, I have found God and put God in place of the idol of career, let alone a career in the humanities.
When I read about public education I continue to get motivated to teach again, but then when I look at what is taught in public education as compared to how the real world is, I wonder if the best way to impact the young is through education as traditionally conceived. Or what kind of educational work I can do given that I live with a mental health condition and find the classroom hampers my wellness (by the way, it hampers a lot of teachers who don’t struggle with mental illness in a way that negatively impacts their mental health).
The mental health of children is also negatively impacted by modern models of education. When I describe this process I am specifically referring to the industrial model of education, where educational approaches are not differentiated based on learner needs. Good education is not merely differentiated, which creates extreme stress in public educators, multiplying their workload.
I am thinking what educator wellness actually entails, and whether the frazzled nature of public education isn’t negatively impacting children who are learning unhealthy habits from an outmoded model. I was just reading a Seattle Times article written in their “Education Lab” section that read like an ad for Seattle Public Schools, while the comments in the comment section basically wondered whether the description of public education offered in the article wasn’t a covert advertisement for private schools in the region.
There is such a disconnect between common sense learning and teaching and what goes on in our ideologically-driven schools. The education wars are real, and teachers and students are caught in the cross-hairs. Much to the detriment of country, family, and community. And, given the power that the US wields in the world, the world is negatively impacted as well.
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