I’ve been thinking about education over the last few days. Here in Carlisle, there is a pretty important school board election that will determine the direction of where the district goes going forward. Will we continue on the same path, which has produced a pretty good school district and school system (all you have to do is check the rankings — Here’s a resource that offers the rankings.)? Or will we decide to change paths where our main concern becomes whatever the current culture war issue happens to be? That’s not an exaggeration — that what the two opposing teams of candidates are offering. Each of these teams won a primary and will face each other in the fall where voters will decide which direction to go.
And so, I’ve been thinking about what education is all about. Here’s what I’ve come up with.
Some claim that education is about getting a job. Getting a job is part of education, but it is not the primary reason for education, nor should it ever be the primary reason. Even if a person doesn’t need to work, education will serve them well in life, because education is more than just getting a job.
If all education is about is checking off requirements and then getting a job, then we are looking at education as a transaction — I do this, and in return I get this. Frankly, that would be a waste, a missed opportunity for education to be more fully what it has always been about.
Education is about the betterment of a person. It’s about forming a person into a responsible citizen where they live their life. Education is about growth of a person. It’s about raising questions and doing critical thinking. It’s about becoming more fully who you were made to be and who you are called to be. Education is about bettering life.
Education is not about memorizing facts and figures — that’s just memorization. Education isn’t about being able to recite something word for word. Education isn’t about data, facts, figures, information. All of that doesn’t require education. Those can be tools to assist in the educational process of course. But really, education is about teaching people how to use all of that. In a sense, education is about growing wisdom and thinking and discernment. In sum, education is about being human.
When all we see education being about is getting a job, then students are likely to think that they can stop learning when they graduate. They’ve completed the task. The checkmarks are done. But learning never ends…