Lots of Talk about Education, but no action yet

Started by Richard Johnson, August 10, 2007, 10:52:57 AM

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Maryland Brian

Quote from: Richard Johnson on August 14, 2007, 01:25:40 AM
Did you see my note about the guy who mistakenly referred to the "No Child Left" program? Seems appropriate to all day preschool. My wife is a kindergarten teacher, and they have gone this year to all day kindergarten. She is not pleased.

  It's happening here in Howard County, MD too.  And I interpret this movement as another sign the family in this country is in trouble.  Parents, most through an odd sense of "needing to work" economic pressure have been shaped to give away their children at an earlier age.  All day kindergarten wouldn't be happening if there was social pressure from the greater culture to stop it.  Indeed, I suspect just the opposite is the case.  So now your wife will spend more time with these children during their waking hours than their biological mothers.  In her case these young lives will be influenced by a woman of faith, with all the attendant behavior and attitudes that come with it.  But given the high rate of unchurched in your community and mine, who knows what sorts of values these young children will experience.

It's madness Richard, simply madness.

MD Brian

Richard Johnson

What appalled me was the justification given:
(1) Parents want it, and we have to do it to stay competitive (parents have many choices in our small county, with about seven elementary school districts within a ten mile drive).
(2) We need this in order to be competitive in testing scores.

To which I respond:

(1) Of course parents want it. It's free child care. Education professionals should be willing to explain that just because parents want it, it isn't necessarily the right thing. (Sort of sounds like some discussions in the ELCA at the moment, doesn't it?)

(2) Humbug. As my wife often points out, already her kindergartners are supposed to know something like 50 words by sight when they finish kindergarten. Our son, 20 years ago, needed to know his colors and how to play nicely with other boys and girls.  He worked hard on those colors and playing nicely, and today he has a good eye and lots of friends, and he also managed to pick up the words eventually. In fact he just got a masters degree in journalism from the University of British Columbia, and leaves for Beijing on Sept. 1 for a one-year contract with the China Daily.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

David Charlton

When my wife and I moved into a new community to start a mission church, we wanted to find a suitable pre-school for our son.  Very few options were available apart from full day, secular, mall front operations.  We were frightened about giving our son into someone's hand for such a long time.  I don't understand how parents can be so casual about letting others form the souls of their children.

Fortunately, there was an LCMS congregation that made room for our son.  What a difference it made.  We felt like we were leaving him with family.  (There is wonderful collegiality among some LCMS and ELCA congregations!)

Maryland Brian

Quote from: Richard Johnson on August 14, 2007, 10:52:29 AM
What appalled me was the justification given:
(1) Parents want it, and we have to do it to stay competitive (parents have many choices in our small county, with about seven elementary school districts within a ten mile drive).
(2) We need this in order to be competitive in testing scores.


I wonder about the demographics concerning this new schedule.  *IF* the parents in question are the late 20-somethings, could one argue this is the first generation of parents who likewise experienced all day day-care in their formative years?  If so, than it would explain a lot. From the teachers in my congregation I hear a constant frustration with parents who dump their kids and run.  Not having experienced family life, maybe they're just repeating what they know.  Someone other than parents are supposed to be raising the kids.

And ... here I ring that same gong again ... we let this happen on the ELCA's watch.  In the last 20 years we have invested little to no conversation in what creates healthy family and what we can so to support (or at this point save) the family in our culture.

As per competitive testing scores, my experience of California was the state had/has a wide diversity of school districts sometimes apparently unrelated to what one might think about the community.  The primary reason I turned down the call to St. Paul in Lodi was because the school district had such low numbers.  Same thing with Cross and Crown in Rhonert Park in Sonoma County, though they were at the time also deeply conflicted and that added to the scorecard of staying put.  So we stayed in Moraga and eventually moved to Walnut Creek for that 18 month stint I had in the bishop's office.  My son is slightly dyslexic.  Same as his old man.  We could not take a chance on an iffy system.  BTW, as a senior this year he'll be taking AP calculus, AP statistics, honors English and GT history.  He's been captain of his track team for four seasons and is debating either the Air Force academy or ROTC.  Haven't got a clue where all that came from, but I do know some really excellent teachers in Moraga, CA helped him in ways that obviously impacted his life such that his disability has not hampered his future.

So the politicians in your community are stuck.  In order to attract an educated citizenry they need to demonstrate how the local schools are doing.  OTOH, I am convinced, like you, a full day kindergarten is NOT the answer either.  I'm convinced that is more about a weird and unhelpful way of doing family.  And as a denomination we are releasing a social statement about the educational system ... and the real problem in our culture is the eroding family.

MD Brian


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