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And the silver spoon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Things I regret about my education…

I’m starting an on again, off again, series on education. I want to start with things I regret and resent about my education and then move onto my educational philosophy. My regrets and resentments do not reflect my parents or individual teachers; they reflect a disagreement I have with an institution. This is not meant to be taken personally. This is a diary of a parent who wants to do better by her child, after all, that is the American Dream.

I regret not having a course in Western Civilization. When talking to people who did take such a course, I actually present myself as if I have had one, which is why some people may be surprised. Anything that I’ve picked up, I have done because I am interested in history, politics, and philosophy (yes, yes, also in math and chemistry and nutrition, but this is a post on Western Civ.).

How did this happen? Well, I’ll take 4/17ths of the responsibility. I had the opportunity in college (nope, wasn’t required in college) but didn’t. In high-school, there were two tracks, the honors track and the average students track. The general assumption was both tracks took the same courses, but that wasn’t the case. The honors students took American lit and history in 10th grade, Western Civ and Lit in 11th grade, and Brit lit and econ in 12th grade. Average students took general lit and American history in 10th grade; American lit and world history in 11th grade, and world lit and civics in 12th grade. As such, I was never required to take a course in Western Civ.

Now, in college, I certainly had the opportunity. I decided against it as I was very disappointed in the American History course I took in college, and I felt that, if I were truly interested, it was incumbent upon myself to explore the topic.

Philosophically, I think this is a problem because I believe it was my parents general assumption that *all* their daughters would receive a course in Western Civilization (one could say 2 out of 3 isn’t that bad, and better than the 90 or so out of 350 or so in each graduating class in our public school, but that’s the wrong way to look at things). However, it is the assumption of the educational establishment that if one grows up in a white, middle class home, one must receive indoctrination in Western Civilization from ones parents. Therefore, it is more important to teach kids that other cultures are just as good as the Western way of doing things. Personally, though I believe there is much to be learned from and about other cultures, I would rather live in a Western culture than, say, an Islamic culture. Because I would rather live in a Western culture, I do believe that the western way of living is superior and would defy any woman to demonstrate that Western culture is inferior.

At any rate, there is a lack of training in Western history and philosophy in our public school system. This is sad because when we lack training in our own culture, we fail to learn from the mistakes in our history. I’m not saying capitalism is the be all and end all best of economic philosophies, but the Nazis were socialists, Christians are persecuted in socialist China, and Communist Russia had some bad problems too, with regards to human rights. And I’m not implying that all socialists and all communists are bad people, rather these philosophies have led to horrific crimes against humanity and should be watched.

2 Comments:

  • At 4:31 PM , Blogger Henry Cate said...

    "And I’m not implying that all socialists and all communists are bad people, rather these philosophies have led to horrific crimes against humanity and should be watched."

    I think you are too kind. Death by Governmentt shows that the vast majority of people killed in the last hundred years have been killed by government.

     
  • At 6:21 PM , Blogger Liz said...

    As a Christian, I try to put the best light on things. Personally, I am not a socialist, but I have friends that I like very much who are. I'm starting to ponder the benefits of Chesterton's Distributivist philosophy, but I remain a charitable capitalist.

     

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