“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal well meaning but without understanding.” ~ Justice Louis D. Brandeis
Education is vital to liberty! John Adams observed that “Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.” In other words, there are principles and applications that, when learned, strengthen the Parapets of liberty. The converse is true when they are unlearned and liberty’s defenses are weakened.
The first weekend in February, I attended my second and the Constitutional Coalition’s 21st Educational Policy Conference. Several hundred were in attendance in St. Louis. The Coalition’s stated purpose is educating others to understand and know our Constitution, acknowledging absolutes as the basis for our laws and God as the giver of freedom, and researching issues through the lens of the Constitution. Presentations and questions often centered on how to restore education to “education.” How can schools be refocused to teach students how to think instead of telling them what to think. The first is education; the second is indoctrination - where thinking is a threat.
I wish every parent of school age children could have participated with me in this conference. Many parents feel they are losing control of their children’s education. They want education to improve but recognize that teachers are overwhelmed by a barrage of mandates, regulations, and political correctness that leaves little time for anything but lecture. There is no time for discovery – the spirit of education – and even less time to research better methods of engaging students in discussion, exploration, and research. Memorizing what others think is no substitute for education – education is learning what others have done, why, and whether it was successful (history, philosophy, analysis).
If we are to become more effective in preparing children for success, parents must help do research for the teachers. That research is the substance of the Education Policy Conference. I hope you will go to the Constitutional Coalition’s website and explore for yourself the resources to help parents help schools. A good first step would be to download a free copy of the book Let’s Put Parents Back in Charge by Joe Bast. The Constitutional Coalition’s website can direct you to other information from thinkers like Dr. Ted Baehr, Ann McElhinny, Dr. Karen Gushta, Dr. Jerry Newcombe, and more. Our children are worth the effort; our teachers need the help.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Emery: Our teachers need the help
In his latest report, Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, offers his views on education: