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I’ve been teaching for over 35 years and one of the questions I’m most often asked is “which statement about general education policy is most accurate?” I tend not to take a strong stand on that particular statement. I do, however, recognize that the term has a very large meaning given its wide usage in many contexts. When used as a blanket statement it can mean many things to many people. For that reason, I consider this a matter of opinion rather than an instruction.
=>experience does for the soul what education does for the mind
=> which of the following represents a question within higher education?
On one side are those who believe that “general education” means what it says: all knowledge related to the education of humans at all levels. On the other side are those who believe that “general education” requires the liberal arts, sciences, and the like in addition to education which includes learning about the history and culture of the nation, the world as a whole, and the skills needed for thriving in today’s marketplace. (That last point is obviously a result of evolution and is also reflected in language usage.) Is one extreme or the other right? The answer depends on the teacher and the situation.
At my own discretion, I would say that “general education” is the most accurate description of today’s public education system. (That was before I ever had the opportunity to lead education and teach students in the public schools of Colorado Springs and Northern Arizona University.) (That, again, is a result of evolution.) However, knowing that some people disagree with me on this matter does not mean that I can change the reality of our current public education system.
If you believe that general education is just about all knowledge that a human being could gain in a lifetime, then the “general education” part of that statement is accurate. If you believe that it covers only the core concepts taught in the United States and most of the developed world, then that is also accurate. (It depends on what kind of learner you are. Some people learn by reading. Others learn by doing.)
But even if your definition of general education is narrowed down to something more narrow, it still remains true. It is the policy and practice that have been universally accepted as essential for the development of any intelligent human being. And it is those concepts that must be included in every curriculum whether they originated in our nation or not. Those concepts are “education”. And as long as those principles are embraced by educators, students, administrators, and parents, then the “general education” part of the statement is an accurate reflection.
There has been much discussion on this topic. Proponents of particular religious movements often express objections to any attempt to teach moral values or basic education. Religious fundamentalism is based upon the idea that life is at pulp within the comforting walls of a holy temple. Education is seen as the micro-level instruction of religion. Those who oppose the use of education as a form of social intervention believe that the state should not intervene in the affairs of individual families.
However, education is the cornerstone of modern society and the ability to learn has become a sacred responsibility. Without education, a civilization as a whole cannot survive. The ability to read, write, and arithmetic are the hallmarks of modern life. Without those things, society grinds to a halt. And those who make good decisions without the benefit of education are often ruthless, unprincipled, and dangerous.
Unfortunately, many public officials do not seem to understand that they have a responsibility to those who come to live in their towns, cities, counties, or states. Those who cannot read, write, or do arithmetic are a drain on society. They cannot help lead properly or protect their fellow man. Those who overspend without learning from the public schools they funded are destroying our civilization and threatening to destroy the United States of America.
This article is provided by Honduras Educacional. Thank you for reading
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