Times have Changed
In the 1828 edition of Noah Webster's An American Dictionary of the English Language, the definition for Education reads as this:
Education, n. (L. educatio) The bringing up, as of a child; instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of the youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.
In the 1983 edition of Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary Unabridged Edition, the definition for Education reads as follows:
Education, n. (L. educatio, from educare, to educate)
1. the process of training and developing the knowledge, skill, mind, charatcter, etc. especially by formal schooling; teaching; training
2. knowledge, ability, etc thus developed,
3. (a) formal schooling;
The word education has gone through a metamorphosis in society today. In one century, the simple definition of the word has changed immensely. American society has devalued the importance of parents' roles and capability to "educate" their children and view the current model of education as the "only way" to educate a child. However, scores of people walk away from modern education every day. Private school enrollments are increasing every year, charter schools are popping up all over the country and homeschooling is becoming more and more a viable alternative to modern education. Why are people rejecting modern education so in the last 2 decades?
The following quote has been taken from 'Anyone Can Homeschool'.
Samuel Peavey, Ed. explained the situation this way when testifying before the Iowa State Board of Education on home education:
The renaissance of family-centered schooling is the natural outcome of a number of forces converging in a fateful era. Not the least of all these forces is the well-documented fact that both the American home and the American school have reached the lowest level of mediocrity in our history. The homeschool is a pointed effort to salvage and safeguard values that once under girded schools as well as homes. Home education is a rejection of the trend toward almost total institutionalization of child rearing. It is a reaction to a decline in scholarship and character in the classroom. It is a testimony of faith in the family -- a faith that is almost lost.
As a side note to this quote, specifically referring to total institutionalizing of child rearing, my 16 year old daughter is a junior in highschool. This last year she had braces on and I needed to sign her out of school periodically to go to the orthodontist. In order for her to "not" have an unexcused absence, I needed to obtain a doctor signed note "proving" she was actually in fact at the orthodontist's office. Although obtaining a note is easy, this requirement undermines my authority to parent my child and is totally offensive. A friend of mine recently lost her mother. She took her daughter out of school to attend her grandmother's funeral. The school marked it down as an "unexcused" absence and would not allow the child to attend the school dance the following evening. Again, this practice sends a clear message that we as parents are not capable of making appropriate decisions for our children without school approval and going against their "rules" will not go unpunished whether wrong or right. My husband and I planned a vacation last year to Florida. We had planned this vacation 2 years previously and knew the children would be out of school for Spring break. Unfortunately due to snow days, the district took the spring break away. If I took my children out of school that week despite the fact there was school, they would have received 0's on all missed work and would not be allowed to make up homework assignments. They would however, be allowed to make up tests but would receive a full grade below their actual score. We were able to reschedule our trip but that is not the point. Shortly thereafter my 16 year old went on a 4 day trip to Virginia with the highschool marching band. That was excused and she was able to make up homework and tests at her convenience with full scores being applied. So because the school approved the trip, the absence was then okay.
In recent years children have endured intrusive surveys from school officials on matters that should be taught from a parent. They have systematically been forced to answer questions on home life under the guise of anonymous surveys which should never take place. Parents have stood up against the Boards of Education all over the country (quite often in my state as it is on the news quite a bit) at the fact that their 7 and 8 year old children have been asked to answer questions on whether or not they have ever drank alcohol, done drugs and other such inappropriate questions.
Who is the "school system" (modern education) to decide that we, as parents, are not allowed to take our children out of school for whatever given reason? Why is it a "professional", such as a doctor, can approve my child's need to be out of school for a few hours, and I as a "parent" cannot? How is it the school deems it acceptable appropriate to ask children, sometimes extremely young, questions of an inappropriate nature?
Modern Education in American society today has forgotten the importance of the "family" and the importance of parental influence on a child.