This article was sent to me by a reader. Very insightful and provocative. I hope it sparks some debate.
Church Schools, School Boards, Teachers, Parents, Students Need for Better Knowledge And Understanding of Objectives, Principles, Learning Styles, State Law, Biblical Principles, Health and Life Concerns
Over the years the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite has drawn a line in the sand and made a corporate decision to have their own schools to teach their children the necessary skills for preparing to live in the world around us and be productive citizens. This has been a worthy and beneficial program at least to some degree.
It is however becoming more apparent that there are some serious deficits in the process. For one thing there is a serious lack of teacher training that is creating situations where children are being abused or their learning is becoming deficient because the teacher does not have the necessary knowledge to help that particular child. School boards are mostly made up of younger parents who do not have the wisdom and are also parents with children in the classroom and are taking the side of the child and causing detrimental problems when they do have a good teacher that would be well worth keeping and paying a living wage to.
There is also the problem of the church not actually abiding by the laws of the states in regards to the schools and the age that children are required by law to go to school. It is wrongly assumed that because the Amish won a dispensation on their religion that the Holdemans can run their schools on the coat tails of that ruling. This is a false and dangerous assumption. One state in particular told a school board that the state considered their schools to simply be a daycare, not a legitimate school at all. They were simply overlooking it for now.
On the basis of the One True Church belief, the church schools have become the One True School and thus the only way to have an education and there is a false premise that the church school education is superior to all others. This mentality is portrayed loud and clear across the conference and to those that they meet. While I can truly say that I enjoy the programs that the children put on and they do a wonderful job of creating near perfection in their performances, sometimes I wonder how much of those programs anyone ever takes the time to process that they have crossed the lines of performing and entertaining that is held as sin. And the pride in the schools is also something that is no longer kept at a low key.
There is a peer pressure that the parents are dealing with in excruciating levels that is barely acknowledged as each child strives to be like their friends and have the same level of clothing, belongings, or whatever else it entails. There is a seclusion in the process that precludes the children being able to befriend a new comer into their midst because (you) are not like us.
Over the years I have observed a lot of things that are backfiring in the process. Children who never get to go out to recess for months because of the way they process their work. Families who go to family funerals who cannot even concentrate on the funeral and being with family because the children have to take all their schoolwork with them and finish every last page because the teacher does not know how to figure the grades for a student who is missing a paper. It never occurs to the teachers or boards for that matter, that missing 3 days of school is not the end of the world and will not have a significant effect on that year’s lessons.
Teachers who think that every child should and must get 99-100 on each and every paper no matter what and who or how they can accomplish it, without the understanding that there will always be a learning curve and no one is so perfect as to be able to do so. That is why the grade system of A B C D and F was created as well as the 0-100. Some excellent curriculums are being used but some places simply do not recognize that before 3rd or 4th grade average students are simply not equipped to teach themselves or even comprehend all the directions to do the work on their own for a curriculum like CLE. This still needs to be taught in a regular class manner or with more instructions for many students.
Teachers who give a 3rd grader 500 sentences to write and demand them in 5 days, when the sentence takes an entire sheet of paper and is actually a paragraph and 30 minutes to write 1 time and expects a child who also has work to do at home to do it all out of school. Students placed in storage rooms in the school basement for punishment at a very young age when there is no one else on that floor and the room has no windows and locking the door. Teachers hitting the backs of the hands of small students with rules on edge as hard as they can and telling parents that they did so, not understanding that they are doing permanent damage to that child’s nerves and tendons and they could actually break fingers doing so. Teachers sending children outside to run around the school without coats on in 0* weather and then getting upset when the students get sick and cannot come to school for a week.
Teachers who have obvious pets and obvious most hated students so much so that 10 years later everyone in the class can still tell you who a particular teacher hated with a passion.
Parents who are on the school board, having students that are being rebellious both at school and at home, not recognizing that their child is coming home complaining about the teacher on a regular basis because they are simply being rebellious children and the parents taking the situation out on the teacher, who in reality was doing a good job. Many good teachers who have taught a number of years have quit because they are quite overcome with the parent situation and many others who started teaching when they are older and have more life experience have quit because they say that is the most stressful part of the job.
There is not a good recognition of respect of elders as there was years ago and it is more evident in the church than I think is generally recognized. When I was growing up all of our neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. and all relatives were Aunt, Uncle and so on. But, when I joined the church at a young age, that was no longer the case. All adults were called by their first names as I had no relatives there at that time.
Due to the striving to give a high school education by the time they finish 8th grade and abide by state rules regarding number of days, the school days are long and arduous. Many schools go from 8:30 to 3:30 or longer every day. But no one takes into account that everyone does not live just 5 minutes from school. Some of those parents are driving 30 or more minutes one way, every day, twice a day, making that child’s school day even longer. Discipline issues are cropping up and parents are being told that they are supposed to be teaching their children at home. However no one is actually looking at how much time that child is actually spending with its parents at home.
Suppose the day starts at 7 am for the child to be able to get to school on time. During that first hour all time is spent getting clean, dressed, eating breakfast, packing lunches and driving to school. Then school ends and the process reverses with mom stopping to run some errands yet on the way home, supper, clean up and go to bed to start the day over tomorrow. Often there is church in the evening, making the time at home a bare minimum. Then there is Sunday, church, maybe spending the day with another family, church again in the evening and Monday the process is started all over again.
They go from the school environment then into youth age where a job takes them from home and every church meeting, and youth meeting takes full priority over any family plans or life and they wonder why no one has their priorities in the right place.
The Bible clearly states that parents are responsible for training their children in the way they should go and they will not depart from it. However a system has been created by the church and society that precludes the parents barely having time with their children to do the job they were given. Then they stand back and judge each other on the basis of their parenting failures and wonder where the other guy went wrong because his youth is struggling.
The children are spending much of their time in the supervision of youth without good biblical training who have spent their lives away from their parents and the cycle continues to repeat itself. There is a question of needing more and competent teachers and they wonder why they aren’t finding them. They have not created a system that is in reality creating competence. It is seriously lacking in basic knowledge on human relationship and spiritual soundness. Those with real life experience are not being used because they are not looked at as the IN folks who everyone thinks is cool.
I think there is nothing wrong with the Church having their own school but I definitely think that there is some merit in the Church taking up some serious study as to how to improve upon the process both in the Church, the School and the Home. Because from what I am observing it is becoming apparent all over that there is a problem that is not going to go away any time soon without being addressed