So, there was this post a while back: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-winston/listen-up-department-of-education_b_5665174.html?&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000023. I do love a nice berating at the hands of someone who has not been in a classroom. This author asks why schools are not teaching "life skills" such as balancing checkbooks, doing laundry, and cooking and shopping. First, I do suspect there are some classes that do just this. I know I took Home Ec and learned to cook (though I was already cooking since I was the oldest in a single parent family). I knew how to do laundry already, too. Partly, that was because it was my Mom who made sure I know these survival skills, not just because she needed us to help since she worked outside of the house, but because she knew one day we would need to do these things for ourselves and our families.
And that I guess is why I ask this author: since when did schools have to take over Everything a kid ever needed to learn? And, more importantly, what do you think is the purpose of an education?
It is the same question I raise often. If education is simply teaching skills and facts, then surely we are doomed. Education did, indeed, give me skills and teach me facts. But more than that, education challenged me to think, to debate, to consider. It challenged me to read and to write and to reflect on both. It challenged me to see beyond myself and my neighborhood and family. It challenged me to assume responsibility and assert my independence.
I question those who insist the schools do it ALL and yet give them LESS and LESS with which to do it each year. It is time, I think, to answer the question is posed earlier: What is the purpose of education?