The New Normal
'No Child Left Behind': sounds good, right? When one reads the Act passed by Congress in 2001, it'd be a hard sell to say that its intentions are anything but noble! However, what it translates to is setting an 'average' for 'success'. The standards by which students are now measured, by my calculations, are nothing more than the 'mean' of the body. This could be indicative of anything from one child being passed through the progressive grades while comprehending little, to a whole class being 'dumbed down' just so he or she can keep up!
With the understanding that the above scenario is by no means the majority rule, we must acknowledge that this often seems to be the case! There are many available examples out there of children who have excelled in this system, but there are just as many that the system fails & so we have college grads flipping burgers rather than working in the field they majored in, while others have persevered in their chosen field of study & are accomplishing great things!
The government, or public schools, although somewhat to blame for the mediocrity that we have noted, is not the ultimately guilty party; the guilt must lay, first, at the feet of the parents, secondarily with the institution & lastly, but not necessarily least, with the child! As with everything in life, no matter the situation, there is always a choice to be made: this or that, right or wrong, my way or your way. Scripturally speaking, the wisest man ever once said, 'Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.' ( Proverbs 22:6 ); acknowledging the existence & purpose of such things as 'parent-teacher conferences', the parents, especially Christians, should ask themselves this all-important question; 'are we training our child in the way he or she should go, or are we shirking our responsibility & giving our child over to an institution that is more concerned with keeping the law of man than teaching the Law of God?' Furthermore, we should wonder if, even with these almost useless if not harmful conferences, the parents are actually making any progress at all, or if they are simply there to observe the progression or digression of their child!
There is much that can be gleaned from the early pages of Scripture, especially, that indicate the wisdom, indeed the necessity, of teaching our children the way in which they should walk. As parents, Christians especially, we must question the wisdom of teaching our children to walk according to the Law of God at home, then sending them to a public institution for the majority of their formative years that trains them to adhere to the standards of those who have 'thumbed their noses' in the Face of God. There are times, admittedly, where a parent is wise to seek assistance when the subject to be taught involves knowledge outside their learning & experience, but in these cases, there is more of a choice available to the parent; in the case of the government institution, there is only the choice to send or not to send. These schools ( government/public ) are administered a certain curriculum; this curriculum is then applied liberally to ALL students ( there may be exceptions here ), making abstinence or compliance the only choices!
Though there are almost countless examples of very capable individuals who have survived the government school system & persevered to a great degree of success, there is also the disturbing fact of a 'dumbed down' populace that is largely at fault for the decline that we have noted in America of late! The general population in America, having become accustomed to the 'mediocrity' funneled through the public school system, has allowed the corruption that has become pervasive in our nation's capitals, threatening our very way of life. 'Our way of life', I say, because, not only does this corruption affect the Christian's life, it has become detrimental to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness, endeavoring to introduce abnormality as 'the new normal'!
It is good, right & just to make sure that every child excels in their education: however, is it good, right & just to deny some their full potential so that others might not be left behind?! This is not to say that such is the intention of the Act in question, but is this not too often the result? Parents may confer with their children's teachers & resolve some of these matters, more or less to their satisfaction, though usually the teacher prevails in such cases!
For the past several decades, educating ones own children, whether at home or in a 'co-op' setting, has gained in popularity! Studies have shown to an increasing degree that, not only do children thrive in this environment, they have excelled equal to or above those educated in an institutional environment! Another disturbing fact to consider when making the choice of whether to train your own children or let them be further enslaved by institutional 'brainwashing' is the rise of what has been labeled 'bullying'; in the public school system, for whatever reason, this sort of behavior has become a growing concern! This is almost wholly the responsibility of the parents, largely because of divorce & though some may object to this line of reasoning, saying things like, 'what about socialization?'; we as parents, Christian parents in particular, should ask ourselves, 'is this the kind of socialization we want for our children; are these the social skills we want them to LEARN?!'
Charles Haddon Shank