Friday, March 27, 2020

WA Schools--Ready To Resume Monday?

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Yesterday the Seattle Times said, "Washington Schools have two business days to figure out how they intend to teach the state's roughly 1.1 million students remotely."

No question, the virus is putting pressure on everyone---including those involved in public education.

We've all become homeschoolers now.

Some resources for teaching in the home.

And some thoughts about the 1.1 million kids in Washington state---and the more than 32.5 million kids in 33 states where 64,000 public schools are also closed and are also part of our country's government-run education complex.

Be informed.

The Seattle Times said, "The deadline is nearly here: Washington schools have two business days [and that was yesterday] to figure out how they intend to teach the state's roughly 1.1 million students remotely."

Continuing, they said, "School districts are hurrying to get something---anything---prepared to satisfy state education department's recent instructions to begin remote instruction by Monday."

The story is fairly comprehensive and gives quite a bit of pertinent information about the various school districts in the Puget Sound area.

The Times quotes Thomas Halverson, principal lecturer at the University of Washington's College of Education: "This is very much trying to build an airplane at 30,000 feet in some turbulence."

A story in Education Week reflects the anxiety of Washington State. Mike Soskil, a public school teacher, is quoted saying,
"In a matter of a week or two, we've faced the equivalent of a societal nuclear bomb and we're looking ahead to a societal nuclear winter. Between the bomb and the winter, there is a helter-skelter rush to photocopy packets of worksheets, convene teachers for curriculum planning in schools emptied of students, and figure out just what the (expletive) 'school' looks like when it's no longer safe to be together in person."

Most will agree. It's very difficult to prepare for these kinds of events. I'm personally sensitive because I have cousins and other relatives scattered around the state who do, or have, taught in public schools. My daughter-in-law currently teaches in public school.


The metaphor of Dr. Halverson speaks to a larger issue.

Public education is so removed and isolated from the home that any variance---particularly teaching kids in the home---is chaotic, not normal.

Free food, free babysitting, and canned lesson plans---some of them provided by homosexual activist groups and Planned Parenthood, have become the template for public "education." I'm talking about the system and the NEA that rules the system, not the individual teachers.

Maybe the attempt to build an airplane at 30,000 feet has more to do with the fact that public education is antiquated than turbulence from the coronavirus disruption.

And that it has been pushed way off its original flight plan by the headwinds of secular progressivism, humanism, and social experimentation.

The original flight plan.

Noah Webster, a Founding Father of the United States, is recognized as the "father of American public education."

He was highly educated at Yale College and deeply committed to excellence in education.

Webster was not timid in making reference to his vision, or flight plan, for public education. He said:

"Discipline our youth in early life in sound maxims of moral, political and religious duties."
"Education is useless without the Bible."

In 1832, Noah Webster, at 85 years old, in his " History of the United States" wrote:
"The brief exposition of the Constitution of the United States, will unfold to young persons the principles of republican government; and it is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion."

He continues---at length. And this was 56 years after the founding of our nation. The founding principles of America's public education had not become outdated, obsolete or a violation of the so-called "separation of church and state" doctrine---- created by secularists twisting Jefferson's words who were more committed to advancing their secular ideology through indoctrination than educating your kids.

American education would come to lead the world. But not anymore.

Webster's book is still available, but his flight plan has been scrapped.

Webster explained how a person or a nation can get off course:
"The moral principles and precepts contained in Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws...All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from the despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible."

I understand that public schools in Washington and elsewhere have got to "come up with something" by Monday to educate your children or grandchildren.

Or figure out what public school now "looks like."

But could it be, that the coronavirus could provide some tailwind in its turbulence?

Maybe this is the time that we should rethink the education of our children.

Lindsey M. Burke, Ph.D., writing for the Heritage Foundation, says, "We're all Homeschoolers Now."

Her article includes a number of resources for families with kids currently out of school and at home.

She notes,
"Numerous companies such as Zearn and STMath are providing their materials online for free during the coronavirus. Existing options such as Khan Academy offer a wealth of educational resources for families, she says, and Prenda microschool is offering its course work to families for just $100 for the remainder of the school year."

She links a number of opportunities for parents, now schooling their children at home. Check it out.

The takeaway...I hope.

Soskil says in the Education Week piece, "I wish we could all just take a breath. A single somber day, maybe even a full week, of reflection."

He says,
"Whether we are teachers, parents, or both, this crisis is forcing us to confront the big existential questions. Who are we now to our families, our colleagues, and the children in our care? Who are we going to be?"

He says, "America is burning."

I would put it a little differently. Who does God want you to be in regard to the children He has gifted you with?

Does He want you to be the parent in Deuteronomy 6, who will "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength"--and---teach that "diligently to your children, and talk with them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up."

So the question becomes, "How can we best obey" in writing God's "Words" on "the doorpost of our house and at the gates?"

How can you best "bind God's Truth as a sign on your hand" and as "frontlets between your eyes?"

One thing teacher Soskil has right: "America is burning." And "this is a time for reflection."

Webster wrote, "The Bible was America's basic textbook in all fields."

Why would biblical influence not still be the basis for the best education in all fields?

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.