Educate Parents, Not Kids

While I am aging, I do not consider myself aged, i.e., elderly.

I do, however, remember "way back then" when I was the beneficiary of a Catholic parochial grammar school education at St. Peter's in Yonkers, N.Y.,, followed by (Hawthorne) junior high school and a year at Gorton High in Yonkers, then high school in Norwalk, Connecticutl (Class of 1954) and college at New York University (graduate. fall of 1964.)

I bore you with all this merely to let you know whence I come -- because I am anticipating your reaction will be something in the nature of: "Where in blazes did he go to school?"

Education Or Job Training?

Before we entered the "modern" age it was not uncommon to differentiate between education, job training and propaganda. Today, it seems, people (and specifically educators and government officials) consider these three things to be all the same.

Thus, we do not study history or geography so we can qualify for a better job with General Motors, IBM, Perkin-Elmer or Trans-Lux. Although they unquestionably are helpful, we do not study English, mathematics or sociology with the idea that a potential employer would find us better qualified because of the knowledge imparted by these studies.

No! If we had wanted job training we would have saved the thousands of dollars spent on trying to become educated. As to propaganda, well, that's another story.

Attention: We interrupt this column to issue the following warning:

This state (Connecticut,) among others, is in danger of destroying what's left of the distinction between education, propaganda and training!

The state Board of Education is preparing to release its "updated" and "more comprehensive" AIDS curriculum designed to educate students about the virus. All this is in the same vein as those school systems, such as New Haven, where condoms are made available to students.

State law requires school districts to devote 20 classroom hours a year to teaching about drugs, alcohol and AIDS.

Lest you get the wrong impression, I'm not necessarily opposed to making AIDS, alcohol or drug information available to people who could benefit from it. What I am saying here is that the school system -- no matter how convenient it may be for bureaucrats -- is not the place to do it!

Time With the Family

Part of the reason that our students have problems with AIDS, alcohol and drugs is the fact that (forgive the upcoming infringement on a sacred cow) our youngsters spend too much, not too little, time in school -- time that should be spent with the family.

After all, do we not all agree that parents -- not the schools -- are responsible for the upbringing of our children?

Schools are not the place to teach (or, more correctly, propagandize) about the dangers of AIDS, drugs and alcohol; this bypasses parents, who have the ultimate responsibility for the morals and ethical welfare of their children.

If you really wanted to educate, not indoctrinate, the children you would provide the necessary information to the parents so that they would be better equipped to deal with these problems, and teach their offspring the rights, the wrongs and the wisdom of protecting themselves against AIDS, drugs and alcohol abuse.

Wouldn't it be wiser to educate our children so that they are better prepared -- not for a job -- but for the rigors of life?

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Aug. 27, 1994. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages. To view my HubPages Profile Click Here

In Public Schools, What Should Be the Teachers' Highest Priority?

  • Advancing Students' Careers
  • Preparing Students to Handle the Rigors of Life
  • Enabling Students to Obtain High Grades
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Comments 3 comments

Misha profile image

Misha 9 years ago from DC Area

William,

It's all just and some time ago I would gladly sign under every word of your article. At some point I realised however, that such rants are based on the assumption that is not necessarily correct.

You assumed that the goal of public education is to bring up a free happy person. At least this is what I used to assume not that long ago, and based on what you wrote I think your assumption was similar.

Well, now I think this assumption is wrong. I think the real goal of public education is to bring up a citizen. And if you adopt this point of view (just for a sake of experiement) and observe what is going on in public schools, you'll see a perfectly logical order...

State (any state) does not need free, bright, happy people. Such people are hard to control. State needs bricks... another brick in the wall...


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thanks for your comment, Misha. I'm cynical myself when it comes to "the state." It's true there are many who want citizens they can control. Nevertheless "free, bright, happy people" and "good citizens" are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I acknowledge your point, however.


Bob 8 years ago

Bill......Alot of these parents need to be educated. ....... IN RAISING KIDS !!!!!

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