The Value(s) of Education

With the value of education and training in today’s highly competitive, technological world, more and more parents are searching for ways to educate their children in creatively holistic ways.

Despite the rise of charter and magnet schools where students pursue their passions in thematic curriculums and because many public schools rarely provide personalized instruction, there is a cry for life skills and more values. Because receiving a good education is more than academic preparedness, parents and students are really examining educational options like never before.

If he were alive today, 19th century’s Mark Twain would be encouraged to see an educational movement that is beginning to take hold and gain universal acceptance momentum in America in the 21st century. Twain once said that he never let schooling (form education) get in the way of his learning. Today more than ever parents and students are heeding his educational approach and philosophy. With only near 50 percent of America’s high school graduates attending college in 2005, there are still many students who aren’t receiving the education they need.

While school administrators are feeling the pinch and the pressure to improve standards and elevate performance scores to qualify for government assistance as well as regional prestige, standardized scores sometimes become more important than personal growth and improvement. Frequently students who excel or who have special needs attract most of the personal attention in classes. Those students who are average performers are often short-changed and over-looked.

As a teacher, administrator and tutor for 34 years, I have learned that school in America is more about business (busy-ness) and standards than it is about stimulating creativity and meaningful learning. School is frequently more about control and compliance than it is about fun and curiosity.

· Grades don’t measure what you learned;
· Grades don’t even say how smart you are
· Test scores such as the SAT or ACT don’t test your creativity or your intelligence
· School doesn’t teach you to learn; they teach you to perform and comform
· Schools don’t teach you life skills or relationship skills?
· Most schools don’t encourage parent involvement
· Most schools don’t reward
· Schools rarely teach “hands on” relevant activities

Most parents remember a time when they were students preparing for the test by only taking the PSAT and SAT. Twenty to thirty years ago there was no thought about receiving outside assistance. At that time schools were supposed to prepare students for the college entrance experience. Today, although many public, private, schools across the country are improving student performances, there has been an increase in the number of other educational options that challenge the traditional ways students are learning.

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