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Sunday, April 30, 2006

From Education to Edumacation: The Kids Are Not Alright!! (pt.2)


*This is a long clip (approx. 40 mins.), but it is well worth it. You may not be able to watch it all in on sitting, but it's not goin' anywhere anytime soon. So, feel free to watch it in smaller portions.

As we can see from this Stossel Report, while parents have failed at home, the schools have failed to educate the children also.

In the 1920's, presbyterian minister and educator J. Gresham Machen was a staunch opponent of the notion of a federally funded department of education. As I watched this special I couldn't help but feel as if the ghost of Machen was walking on the screen. I have included some excerpts below from his writing and testimonies before congress as a supplement to the video clip. It is scary to see how prophetic he was in seeing the consequences of the idea of a federal department of education--a "lowest common denominator of learning":

"But in recent years we have got far beyond all such elementary considerations as that; modern pedagogy has emancipated us, whether we be in the pulpit or in the professor's chair or in the pew, from anything so irksome as earnest labour in the aquisition of knowledge. It never seems to occur to many modern teachers that the primary business of the teacher is to study the subject that he is going to teach. Instead of studying the subject that he is going to teach, he studies "education"; a knowledge of the methodology of teaching takes the place of a knowledge of the particular branch of literature, history, or science to which a man has devoted his life.

It is obvious, I think, that there has been a moral decline; but what is not always observed is that there is also today a most astonishing and most lamentable intellectual decline. Poetry is silent; art is imitative or else bizarre; and if you examine the products of present-day education you will have to search far before you find a really well-stocked mind.

I have observed this in general: that when people talk about uniformity in education what they are really producing is not something that is uniformly high, but something that is uniformly low; they are producing a kind of education which reduces all to a dead level, which fails to understand the man who loves the high things that most of his fellowmen do not love.

As a matter of fact, federal departments are not efficient, but probably the most inefficient things on the face of this planet...Efficiency in a good cause is good, but I am opposed to federal efficiency in this sphere because the result of it is a thing that I regard as bad--namely, slavery.

But let us be perfectly clear about one thing: If liberty is not maintained with regard to education, there is no use trying to maintain it in any other sphere. If you give the bureaucrats the children, you might just as well give them everything else." - J. Gresham Machen (OPC minister, Founder/Professor - Westminster Theological Seminary)

"Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught." - Luke 1:1-4 (ESV)

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." - 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

"Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." - James 3:1 (ESV)

Soli Deo Gloria,


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