Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Augustine and Education: The Final

The third and final installment of my Education and Augustine posts.  I most looked forward to writing this one.

"Patricius and his family had to go poorly-dressed; he had to scrape; for one disastrous year Augustine found himself condemned to give up his studies at a pleasant 'university-town' at Madaura (or Madauros: modern Mdaourouch) to run wild in primitive Thagaste.  His cousins were less fortunate: they remained without a proper education; and would have to face the poverty and boredom of a narrow world of unlettered squireens."  Peter Brown, pg. 21

After reading that quote, it struck me (again) how education is horribly taken for granted in the United States of America.  (I have not spent enough time elsewhere to speak to the extent of which other countries take education for granted.)  We are taught that everyone is entitled to education.  If you don't quite pass a class, that's okay, we'll let you go to the next grade.  If you are in high school and can't pronounce a word correctly, we'll let it slide.  After all, you did try.

That tactic is not enhancing education or our student's futures.  Rather, it is failing our duty to instruct the younger generation.

Education, as evidenced in the quote above, is a privilege!  Yet, our children drag their feet, pretend to be sick, and whine when they have to go to school.  Since school funding is based on numbers, students are subjected to foul tests that impair their learning.  Instead of the teacher focusing on preparing the student to be thoroughly educated, they focus on preparing the student to pass a test so their school can receive money.  If a student doesn't pass a grade, they'll be pushed through.  They might not have learned anything, but at least they will graduate on time.  Oh dear, it's senior year and they don't read very quickly.  Hm, and they can't say that word?  It's too late to send them back to third grade to fix it.

Our education system doesn't care about educating, they care about having money to buy the educational tools, but they fail to utilize them properly.

It seems only fair to point to the Government and not put all the blame on the schools; after all, they only do what the system requires.  Why does the Government play this game of bribery?  It is bribery; you do well and we'll give you money.

Augustine's father sacrificed for him to have the opportunity to attend school.  Patricius knew that in order for Augustine to excel in life, he needed a classical education.  Augustine attended university, and his family wasn't properly clothed.  That is sacrifice.  That is understanding the privilege of an education.

Children in Togo walk miles, sit on a stick, and write in the dirt so they can LEARN.  They don't drag their feet.  They don't have shiny school buses.  They don't have iPads.  Do you understand my anger at what education in the United States of America has become? 

Our teachers (there are exceptions) bad-mouth their students, complain about school, and give half-hearted lessons.  It is no wonder our students do not want to read, write, learn, or go to school.  We force it but don't encourage it.  180 days in school, but you will spend it doing worksheets and preparing for tests so your school can coddle the undisciplined students and fail to teach the disciplined ones.

1 comment:

  1. I like this post Kirsten. It is insightful. I had a vague sort of frustration towards the current state of education in the US but have never really stopped to think about my specific complaints. So thanks!


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