Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil. -C.S. Lewis
When I observe local schools, I sometimes find myself at a disadvantage when I try to sort through the many nuances and cultural details of student life in this county, to say nothing of the technicalities of the budgets and politics involved.
That's fine with me. I've been learning my whole life anyway, and the things I truly missed while being home schooled, will eventually make themselves known to me, I'm sure.
I can't say I am all that disappointed after seeing over the years what I missed when I didn't go to a traditional high school. However, it was to this topic that my mind jumped when I read Lewis' quote.
Lewis doesn't just put his finger onto an important issue of our time, he really jabs mercilessly into the festering sore of American education.
Before I give the impression that I'm speaking ill of local schools, allow me to qualify what I say with some praise for local educators. The fact is, there is so much in this community that puts school kids at an advantage to the country at large. I've seen teachers who care and many unique and effective efforts to improve the quality of local education.
But does that mean Lewis has no wisdom for us? I think not. Rather, it would serve us well (as we take action to fund schools, ensure curriculum is up to date, and replace aging technology) to not overlook something else that makes education worthwhile.
We all know the story of the disadvantaged student -- how difficult it is to teach a student in school what he hasn't been taught at home -- the value of a good work ethic, the existence of right and wrong and the basic answer to the question "why?"
Even if schools cannot do everything a parent should do, they won't help anything if they teach that there is no meaning to life, that truth is whatever they want it to be and that there are no consequences for their actions.
We should reexamine ourselves then and see whether we are making these mistakes, and then get back to the business of teaching reading and writing.