Declining Civic Culture Follows Declining Education

An article by Jonathan Jacobs, director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics and chariman of the Department of Philosophy at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, recently published in the Wall Street Journal pointed out the need for an education system in the United States focusing on creating students who can think and express what they have learned. Mr. Jacobs points out that most high school students do not grasp the difference between saying something and being able to construct an argument or explanation substantiating their point of view. He believes this is a product of high school students facing few challenges and demands leaving them sorely unprepared for college studies and the workplace. The pressure to move students along in the education system has created grade inflation and students graduating high school with poor academic skills. Mr. Jacobs cites employers and college professors willing to attest to the fact, that many college graduates are unable to contrust a coherent paragaraph and lack knowledge of the  natural world and its cultures. Furthermore, having faced few demands in schools these young people can lack the patience to develop and master skills needed to succeed in life. Mr. Jacobs finishes his article stating that his biggest fear is that as the United States faces serious challenges in the future we will have a population ill equipped to deal with them due to an education system, that is not serious or challenging. His question is how do we develop future leaders when young people do not possess basic communication skills, know the difference between politicized views and theories based on facts or how our civic system works?

I know my answer to this was to homeschool my four children and if you are reading this blog you probably feel the same way. My foremost goal while homeschooling was not to just help my children acquire facts and data but to allow them the opportunity to develop as thinking and productive people in society. How can we do this when we do not allow our children to make decisions, help develop their studies and yes let them fail? In the course of living, we come to realize that failure does often hold the seeds of future opportunity and breeds strength of character. We need to help our children understand and embrace this as a part of learning and growing. I believe parents who are courageous and choose to homeschool their children value freedom of thought and purpose. Passing these values on to future generations is paramount to the continued success of our communities, workplaces and country. Therefore, when you are asked about your life as a homeschooling family share proudly your joys and challenges. Not every family in our country or world will choose to homeschool but they can realize the shortcomings of the education system and demand better for their children and our society.

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