Our children do not belong to the state or to state-schools. They were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They belong to God and they are entrusted to parents for nurture and admonition and that is an order that may not be subverted without the gravest consequences.
Christina Wyman has published an OpEd on NBCnews.com in which she argues that parents who insist on influencing the education of their children do not understand how education actually works. She observes that the latest crisis, focused on the schools in Loudon County, VA, is nothing new. “Parents,” she writes “have always tried to interfere with curricula…” Please note her choice of verb: “interfere.” It means “take part or intervene in an activity without invitation or necessity” (New Oxford American Dictionary). She argues that parents who think that they have a right to have a say in how their children are educated fail to understand how education works. “It’s sort of like entering a surgical unit thinking you can interfere with an operation simply because the patient is your child.” Education, she claims, is a “science,” something that can be done only by highly trained specialists. The author herself has an earned PhD in curricular studies. She observes that 36 states require teachers to earn a master’s degree. She concludes,
The future of our country and world are sitting in today’s K-12 classrooms, and those children will eventually become adults in a world requiring their empathy, passion, intelligence and engagement. Parental interference in school curricula is poised to accomplish the exact opposite. Shielding students from real-world issues and diverse perspectives will create bubbles that will render their children ill-prepared to navigate society, particularly when they are called upon to contribute and think critically.
That schools ought to be helping students face the real world and to think critically is just the thing but she begs the question by assuming that post-modern schools are doing those things.
First, we should rather doubt her self-serving analogy between a typical “college of education” within, e.g., a land-grant university and the medical school on the same campus. Teachers College is not medical school and teachers are not surgeons. The comparison is risible but that she had the gall to attempt it tells us much about the inflated sense of the profession that has developed in recent decades. Please do not misunderstand. Teachers do valuable work but teaching children to finger-paint and supervising nap time or the correct way to eat Graham Crackers (such were the rigors of Kindergarten in 1966) was hardly open-heart surgery. Even the most demanding High School physics course is no match for even an average pre-med organic chemistry course let alone a medical school program.
More basically Wyman misunderstands the order of nature here. Teachers and schools work for parents and not the reverse. By law school teachers and administrators are empowered to act in loco parentis (in place of the parent). The original authority, however, belongs to the parents. To review some basic biology, when a man and a woman love each other they marry and, in time, in the providence of God, they produce a child. The school did not produce or nurse the child. Indeed, a school does not even see the child until age 4 or 5. Parents temporarily loan their children to the school each day to the end that the child should learn to read, write, calculate, think well, and express himself well. The school’s authority is derived, secondary, and temporary. Your child’s teacher (master’s degree) is expensive hired help and clearly, judging by Wyman’s OpEd, they need to be reminded of their place.