Online education ain't all it's cracked-up to be, is it? It's a fact that it is now possible to find online practically anything you want to know or anything you want to learn. There are courses available for a fee and courses available for free, and others that have indirect costs, but practically all information and learning is available. However, just because it's available, that doesn't mean that anything is learned or that education is taking place.
The primary purpose of our schools, both public and private, is to teach the basic facts required, and provide the tools necessary, to be a successful adult in our society. Plus, there are many very important lessons about life, social interaction and adulthood that are taught and learned in our schools, both inside and outside of the classroom, by both teachers and fellow students, that cannot be learned online. From my writing, people might think that I am anti-schools and education, but exactly the opposite is the case.
What I am opposed to is schools that are run by incompetents, fleshed-out by instructors who are counting time and don't want to be there. I am opposed to schools filled with nonsense and often harmful propaganda imposed by teachers' unions, and by the overblown and overpaid hierarchy of the state and the federal governments, circling and looming over the entire thing like vultures.
What I am in favor of is schools that teach basic courses in math and science. Schools that teach government, and both complete world history and complete American history, warts and all. Schools that teach civics, and have requirements in the liberal arts. Schools that teach the English language, but not just the English language. Schools that aren't continually imposing social policies in the classroom and on campus that violate the constitutional rights of students and parents by knowingly and intentionally discriminating.
But, what I want doesn't really matter all that much. What does matter is that I am free to say what I think, and be responsible for what I say. And theoretically, without fear of someone setting my house on fire or taking a shot at me. What does matter is when a lot of little people like me decide they have had enough of how something is being done, and decide to do something about it. Now that everyone has gotten a look at how much online learning can and can't do, it is time for us as a city, county and state to decide going forward what we want from our public schools. Are they to be a propaganda arm of the unions? Are they to be a place where we teach despair and hatred of our country?
Or, are our schools to be places where we send our children to learn why Western civilization has been so successful and why it is worth preserving? Teach about the mistakes we've made in the past so we don't make them again. Online education can't do that. If we want our schools to teach our students to love this country and desire to preserve it for their own children and grandchildren, then we have to take more than just a casual interest in what our schools are doing now. We have to decide what will be taught and what will not taught, and not allow teaching to be done by people with an agenda of "fundamentally changing our country." And, if the public schools cannot or will not change, then we need to marginalize them in favor of charter schools.
Dr. Jonathan C. Jobe, of Crescent Valley, is a retired educator and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.