We drift further toward the thundering falls ahead.
I still remember way back when I was a little Bach, sitting in Algebra with my little fellow scholars, being assigned our textbooks on the first day of the new school year. Algebra had just been invented. I was so proud of myself for having mastered multiplication, long division, as well as selected word problems. Indeed, I knew just how to figure when two trains would collide if they left separate cities at different times and at different speeds, and I was excited to advance into something a bit more complex. I had heard tell of variables and inequalities, and I was ready to go. What excitement for further learning was stirred in me that day! I sat patiently while the students’ names were called. I couldn’t wait to take my new-for-me book home and wrap it in drab, brown paper from a grocery bag I would mangle just for that purpose. (See, earth lovers, I do recycle). I noticed, however, that the teacher would whisper something in each student’s ear after handing the book out. I watched in curiosity as each student would then return to his seat, kinda red-faced, almost shameful. Perhaps, I thought, the problems were so difficult that the teacher felt the need to warn each child that he or she might not be up to the task, that failure might be an option, even a probability. Not for me! My excitement grew. I would be up to the challenge, teacher. I will not doubt. I will not disappoint.
Finally… “John Wilson Bach!” I went forward, hands eager to open the pages of years of accumulated collective math knowledge. I couldn’t wait to add my name to the inside cover listing of “Those who mastered Algebra, or at least tried.” When I got to the front of the room, the teacher handed me the book. My hands were almost shaking. As I turned to return to my seat, he said, “Just a minute, kid. Come ‘ere.” He motioned me to the side of his chair in order to whisper into my ear. I was ready for the warning. Regardless of his challenge, I knew I was up to the task of this difficult learning.
“John Wilson, this textbook is for responsible use only.” I nodded my head. “You are not, by school policy, to use this book inappropriately in any way.” I nodded again. “Now, the Algebra problems are on pages 1 – 125, and again on pages 150 – 200.” My brow furrowed as I continued nodding. “Those are the only pages you are to look at or visit, do you understand?” I looked at him, confused. “John Wilson, ignore the pictures of naked women and people having sex that are on pages 125 – 150. It’s against school policy.” With that, he waved me back to my chair. I was dumbfounded. I felt the shame in my face as I walked to my chair.
Of course this never happened, but it is happening virtually in today’s classrooms. Schools have rushed into the whirlpool of technology, putting as many gadgets into the hands of their students as possible. Forget classical education. Ignore the trivium. No, we are advanced, and everything that must be learned should be learned in electronic pixels and pulses. I think it makes the schools feel good that something is being done to stem the dumbing down of our populace, but what is being done is accomplishing nothing.
I am speaking specifically of putting the Internet, unfettered, into the hands of our youngsters. Many schools, especially in smaller districts, have what is called a “one to one” program, where each student, each child, is handed a computer and pretty much told to have his or her way with it. We have bought into the false idea that the ultimate goal must be to teach kids technology, technology, and more technology. Now, let’s think about this. What skills are learned on computers that are worth the lost purity of our youngsters? What skills can’t be taught the tried and true way? We are way past sanity here.
I say kids learn technology by default. Teach them good keyboarding skills and then close the laptops. Shut off the Internet. Make the kids open books and read. Make them write. Make them write coherently with well-structured sentences and cogent and logical thought processes. Make them figure out, with nothing more than paper and pencil, when two fictional trains will collide.
Schools brag that they install filters on their computers. Whoopee!! There are filters on cigarettes. Smoke still gets through. There are filters on furnaces. Air gets through. You think a kid in his open-minded prime can’t get around a filter to look at… well, whatever? It is hardwired into a boy to look at nudity, if he can get to it, and our schools are handing these boys the tools with which they will founder. I know culturally that the horse is out of the barn. Gone are the days when dirty old men had to go somewhere and trouble themselves to make a purchase to placate their most base urges. Now, everything is a click or two away.
Our young boys shouldn’t be given up to these stupid progressive educational trends. Our schools can adopt a little common sense and stop being complicit in getting porn into the hands of their students. It is destructive to put too much into the hands of the young too soon. America has lost her way. We have turned against our Creator, against the one true God we recognized at our founding. We have sewn to the modern Baal and we are reaping a bitter harvest. Yet, most of us sit and stew about the insignificant. We tell ourselves, “We are making progress, and we will be fine,” and yet we wonder at our dropping test scores.
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