Monday, February 17, 2014

Does Production Match the Purpose? The Food and Education Industries

Too Close to See the Problem?

A person residing and working in a smog-filled city, probably doesn’t recognize the danger and harm being inhaled daily from his polluted surroundings. He is so deeply entrenched that there is no opportunity for perspective within the conditions. He doesn’t gain true reflection and perspective until he spends a long weekend at his countryside cottage amidst the pure, clean surroundings, infused with a natural floral fragrance.

After participating in parent-teacher conferences, contributing and listening to the concerns and priorities of all involved, I can’t help but think that the entire system is covered in pollution. We were obviously consumed by the educational smog as words like, "test scores, data, and common core standards" were repeatedly hacked from our mouths. The dialogue was clouded with the theme of WHAT students are thinking and learning. As we continue to sit in the fog we no longer notice the flaws in our purpose for teaching and learning.
Over at the countryside cottage, free from the suffocation, we consider the best methods for teaching children HOW to think and HOW to apply.

Education and Food: My two favorite things (when done right)!

I think there is a legitimate analogy to be made between our culture’s food industry and our process of education. (This idea has quite possibly resulted from me watching too many food documentaries).
            In both cases the healthy, organic alternative is an option, though this path is distant and often obstructed. While mass production and sheer numbers can be appropriate objectives, I’m not so sure we want that driving these vital areas of our lives.
In order to eat smart and healthy, a
consumer must be resourceful, committed and informed. I would say the same attributes are important when consuming an education. What do you value as an educational consumer? I’m concerned that our children are becoming obese on a hunger for extrinsic motivators, chasing a number, and competition.
Let me introduce you to an educator’s pesticides and hormones. Things like “data-driven instruction” and “adequate yearly progress” have disconnected the relationship between teacher and student,  just as the industrial farming processes are unnatural and inorganic.

We can earnestly evaluate food or education by asking the following questions:
Are these products being made in a selfish manner, or is the process pure, genuine and selfless? Does the producer cherish the wellness of the consumer?
God uses Paul and Jesus to express His strong feelings about selfish teachers. Paul in           1 Timothy 3-11, and Jesus in Matthew 23 both condemn these teachers that exert self-interest and base their instruction on measurable outcomes.