Balancing Education in America

Teeter-totterWhat a thought – balancing Education in America.  But you ask, what do I mean.  Good question, and I may need your help with the answer or answers. 


 There is a notion in this country that as soon as the public school system gets a hold of our children they can introduce and teach just about anything they want, regardless of the views or desires of parents.  In Massachusetts children in the second grade are subjected to learning about gay unions, marriages, regardless of the religious views of parents. In April 2006 it was reported, “The teacher at Joseph Estabrook Elementary School in Lexington, Mass., read to her class “King & King” — a colorful 29-page children’s book in which a prince searches for a wife, only in the end to choose another prince. The story ends with the two princes “marrying” and living “happily ever after.” On the last page, the princes — now kings — even share a kiss.” (Baptist Press).   I contend this is prior also to the establishment of moral and ethical values of our kids.  Our children must learn and evolve from an “instinctive level” to one with an “intellectual nature”, reaching a point, as the German Philosopher Hegel noted in Philosophy of Right that “makes their intellectual level habitual to them….Thought demands that mind be trained against capricious fancies, and that these be destroyed and overcome to leave a way clear for rational thinking.” (pg. 132 – Hegel, Great Books of the Western World, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952). 

 Indeed our children need to be taught, at least from my perspective, a balanced curriculum to instill in them a foundation of knowledge, gaining understanding and in time, through the respective grades, wisdom.  Wisdom then can be used in making informed judgments and determination of right and wrong.  For Hegel it is a second birth attained when the pupils become as a butterfly equipped with wings so they can fly into the face of society and land where they will, not where society dictates.  Our education system suffers also with an imbalance in its teaching force.  If there is to be a level of fairness in education, then too there needs to be a level of fairness in the cultural nature of the teachers, a balance of conservative and liberal thought, a balance of religious and secular thought, and an administration equally balanced with no philosophical discipline weighing down the see-saw of thought.  We then stand up to the rights of all Americans, all children, all parents to have their children exposed and taught to be their own person and to evolve as an “ethical” man (man in the ubiquitous sense – all persons, all inclusive.) 

 As an example – (From comparing conservatives and liberals.  First ‘conservatives’ – “CONSERVATIVES – a.) believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense.  b.) Believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals.  c.) Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems.”  To be contrasted with ‘liberals’ – “LIBERALS – a.) believe in governmental action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all, and b.) that it is the duty of the State to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights.  c.) Believe the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need.  d.) Believe that people are basically good. e.) Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve people’s problems.”  Certainly more detailed differences can be provided as to specific subjects, such as ‘abortion’, ‘affirmative action’, the ‘economy’, ‘religion’, health care’, and so much more.  These are the details, since the two factions make-up so much of the American political and cultural landscape, that our children should be provided, without bias – or if with bias, then to be contrasted from a source of equal opposing bias.  Sounds fair. 

 A recent Gallup poll (2005) showed that 40% of Americans consider themselves conservatives, 40% consider themselves moderates, and 20% consider themselves liberals.  Of course, the moderates in the middle tend to swing either way on a variety of issues. A 2002 survey by pollster Frank Luntz of Ivy League professors found that only 3% are Republicans while 57% are Democrats.  6% of these Ivy League profs said they were “somewhat conservative,” while 30% said they were “somewhat liberal” and 34% said they were “liberal.”  That’s 64% liberal or somewhat liberal versus 6% somewhat conservative (note that none said they were “conservative”).  That’s a 10 to 1 margin. This shows a liberal bias on campuses – and it has often been proven that such bias finds its way into the classroom.  Now that seems to tilt the teeter-totter too much in one direction – a fat kid that makes it impossible for the thin one to get any action on the see-saw.  Are our children influenced by the same percentages as the views of their professors and teachers?

 Allan Levite in a booked entitled Guilt, Blame, and Politics, states the following, “Academics, especially in the less worldly areas such as art, literature, and the social sciences, may also be affected by their own remoteness from the mundane environment of production and commerce (my underlining), as well as by the greater extent to which their erudition separates and shelters them from the rest of the world.”  This sounds like the elitists during the period of Enlightenment and beyond. (The elitists then did not generally work in the productive world either.)

He continued, “Scholars in the humanities and the social sciences are even further removed from the workaday world (my underline again – for emphasis) than are other academics, and are therefore more likely to favor social leveling.”  Social leveling – you gotta love that term – it means simply transfer money from those that have money to those that do not have money – could be ‘socialism.’  Also it makes health care available to all and welfare available to all – all done by the Government. 

More from Allan Levite, “College students and graduates can be expected to differ in their exposure to guilt according to the extent to which their major field appears to make a needed contribution to productivity.  For this reason, such practical credentials as accounting and engineering degrees will usually provide much more protection from guilt than will degrees in art, music, literature, political science, psychology, journalism, law, history, or philosophy.”  This reference to ‘guilt’ relates to the concept that those that have not achieved as much desire as much, or something like that.  If you have more, are smarter, wealthier, better looking (no – not that one), have advantages then you should be ‘ashamed’ – thus ‘guilty’ and in turn give to others.  No problem.  But the giving part – is that Government (Big Brother) or via community and/or religious organizations supported by the people – whether guilt driven or simply out of love and compassion for those less fortunate.  As to ‘exposure to guilt’ I believe Levite is suggesting those liberal educators have guilt they must share, impose, or at least shift to their students so they feel less alone with whatever inadequacies they suffer.  (Am I now being too harsh?)

 I am reaching here – maybe.   How possible would it be to have our Government consider legislation to insure our public education system is balanced with liberals and conservatives – equal numbers?  The private side – they can be left to there own devices, but as a minimum should be honest to families whose children are considering matriculating at that institution that they have a bias – conservative or liberal – or they are balanced.  Let them who enter, enter knowing the nature of the thinking of the staff.

 We need to get back – my point – to education becoming the “art of making men ethical” (quote of Hegel).  When that occurs then the men can think for themselves (hopefully) and be exposed to society as a whole – not before – not on campus, but post education.  Who determines when the pupils are no longer apprentices but ready to take on the job of the adult – that poses another question as to who determines when that is the case.  And I always thought that was when one received (deserved) their degree – not before.

 [please help me on this one – comment freely – statistic, articles, commentary, thoughts]

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