By Zach Foster
This is one in a series of articles responding to issues discussed by the President in his 2011 State of the Union address.
Raising the standards and level of curriculum and re-educating the current teachers with a poor performance can only go so far in the great task of restoring classical education. One area where credit is due to the President is in his declaration that the No Child Left Behind Act will be repealed. This is a desperately necessary measure. Many students have trouble at school and need tutoring, or maybe even some simple mentoring, given that many children of single parents lack a father or mother figure, and they will do fine. Yet there are some who simply refuse to do what is expected of them at school. In the era of No Child Left Behind, these do-nothings were allowed to graduate and go out into the real world, COMPLETELY unprepared. Where are they now? They have gotten nowhere. Plainly and simply, some students need to be left behind. They need to not be rewarded for failure. They need the social stigma of NOT moving on with the rest of the herd so that the pure shame and horror may motivate them to change their situation.
The President said in State of the Union Address, “It is the responsibility of the family to instill the love of learning in a child.” Never has this been more true. The author of this article graduated from high school on the honor roll, and has attended college and is awaiting the opportunity to enter the university system. Despite these years of education, beginning with pre-school and continuing with the university system, most of the author’s education did not come from school—rather, it came from independent study simply for the sake of learning. The pursuit of knowledge has always been a passion of the author’s, which was instilled in him by his parents. The one teacher that truly changed the author’s life was Jack Wood, professor of English and Advanced Rhetoric at
. It was under Professor Wood that the author learned to write well (Professor Wood cites his own fortune in receiving a classical education). The rest of the courses were fun, but they could easily have been done without. Citrus College
Many parents in
were educated in the public school system or even the university system in the midst of their great decline. Therefore, they have joined the ranks of the barely-skilled churned out graduates with generic degrees, like MBA, which they earned in three-or-so years of college, or after six or seven years at a community college topped off by one year of university. Many parents today simply don’t have a love of learning, therefore their children most often don’t care to learn, but would rather spend their waking hours allowing their minds to be absorbed and sucked into a video game screen. Combine this with the inability of many teachers to teach, and parents still wonder why their children are failing in school. America
Parents must teach their children to love learning, and this most often starts with a trip to the library, or the installation of a quality encyclopedia on their home computer. Does the child like muscle cars? Then let the parents and the child spend quality time learning fun facts about muscle cars. Does the child enjoy military topics or playing war games? Let them visit Grandpa who was actually at the battle of
Iwo Jima, so that his story may be passed on to a receptive mind. Is the child interested in other countries? Then let the parents and the child see up-close images of far off lands on Google Earth. There is an amazing world out there to be discovered, but in order to learn about it, the child must be taught by the parents to seek out knowledge.
To some it may seem awfully utopian to expect that poor-quality teachers will be reeducated, that standards and curriculum will be raised to the same integrity of fifty years ago, and that parents will snap out of their hypnosis to teach their children a love of learning. Perhaps it is utopian—a dream. Nonetheless, if these things don’t come to pass,
’s youth will forever be slaves to mediocrity. America