by JANN FLURY
Everyone can agree that the learning
process goes on to a greater or lesser extent for as long as a person lives. No
one puts more emphasis on "lifelong learning" than the education establishment.
But the question is, learn what, for life? Learning in real life is quite
different from the concept the pedagogical establishment envisions, promotes,
and inculcates in our public schools.
Learning should and does, as a rule, start at a young age and peaks somewhere in mid life and then slows down during the last few years. We all hope to learn from our mistakes, and we are all familiar with the cliches about learning--never too old to learn, never to young to start learning, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, etc.
Our forefathers established public education to teach children the basic academic subjects in preparation for the workplace and further independent learning. They saw it as a relatively uniform, efficient way of establishing a minimum basic standard of literacy within future generations. It would open the door of opportunity for all--to enhance their store of knowledge and skills by learning on their own from various sources throughout their adult life.
Public school (elementary education) forms the first essential stepping stone to future independent learning. It represents a tiny but important first step in the journey of "lifelong learning." Lifelong learning is not something that can be taught. It simply happens out of necessity and the desire for self-improvement, such as learning new skills for satisfaction, or acquiring additional ones essential for advancement in the workplace.
The willingness and the ease with which a person learns independently in
adult life is often a reflection of how well he was taught the basic literacy skills in public school. So, the role of school, first and foremost, is simply to teach the basic academic subjects well.
Unfortunately, that's not how today's "progressive" educators see it, at all. Instead of accepting public education as a means to an end, they see it as an end in itself. To them, lifelong learning means lifelong schooling within their education system. To them, life is for learning, instead of learning being a natural consequence of living. Instead of concentrating on teaching basic academic subjects well in public school, modern educators want to educate the "whole child."
Today, instead of following a proper, sequentially-structured curriculum of
"subjects," which are based on naturally developed domains of knowledge
about facts of man and the world, educators "teach" the unteachable. Instead of leading by example, they "teach" living skills, self-esteem, how to become a good citizen, how to make informed choices, how to have safe sex, problem- solving skills, critical thinking skills, how to become nonjudgmental, and how to get along in a mosaic society and work cooperatively with a wide range of people.
No test or measurement of learning can be applied to these courses. They are not meant to be tested. These are all exercises concerning the affective domain of the mind that will determine how students shall feel about issues. This type of education (indoctrination, really) is a way of conditioning students to think along predetermined lines. It is thought control that will produce politically-correct thinking generations without judgment or moral values--not knowing right from wrong.
Educators do not want to nurture independent, critical-thinking students; they want to produce a dependent generation of followers that truly believe they have to return to the education system periodically for refresher courses--to purge their minds of politically-incorrect thoughts--so they can live successfully in the multicultural "Global Village" inhabited by a diverse, modern society.
YEARS LEARNING MYTH