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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Columns

Education needs values for a better future


Values are necessary for a functioning society. By leaving the job to busy parents, we are failing our kids and their future. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar

A group of about 23 students gathers in a classroom, each with their own background, beliefs and cultural differences.

As class begins, the teacher will notice there are two different types of children: well-behaved students who do their work and students that disrupt the others who are working and even disregard those who are trying to keep them down.

More often than not, the children who are constantly distracting their fellow peers are the ones who are not receiving adequate teachings at home. I don’t necessarily mean education in terms of academics, but rather a type of education that is often overlooked: values.

Values are backbone of society

Our society runs on values to make sure nothing goes awry. Morals are the bottom line for all cultural beliefs and religions.

There should be a clarification, first. While values tend to bring about a religious connotation, I am strictly speaking about the kind of morals that would be taught at home to raise any decent human being. These values include but are not limited to: love, kindness, honesty, integrity, respect for other human beings, compassion, forgiveness and cooperation.

These ideas are not explicitly taught in school and are not guaranteed to be taught at home, either. Too often, parents are far too busy to teach their own child right or wrong, looking to schools to do the job.

Not to mention, most of a child’s life is spent in school surrounded by their peers.

Whose job is it?

Schools look to the child’s home to differentiate between right and wrong. The parents drop the kids off at school to “learn a thing or two.” So whose job is it?

In an ideal situation, the answer is both. Both the parents and the school should work together to communicate what exactly is going on when the child is either at home or at school learning.

But this is not a perfect world. For starters, education facilities have countless other kids to look after. Even if they were to teach an entire class about how to be kind, some parents may not be happy about where their tax money is going.

There is, however, nothing wrong with laying some foundation. Something very similar to The Golden Rule — treating others the way you want to be treated —  can be set as a middle ground. As overly simplistic as this rule is, it has already paved a great moral foundation for children.

Schools serve as far more than a glorified daycare that stuffs children’s brains with standardized testing. Schools are institutions to socialize children into society and offer a space to practice good citizenship with peers.

Research has shown the exact opposite effect. According to a study conducted in 2012, 57 percent of teens believe that people who are successful do anything it takes, even if it includes blurring the lines of integrity. An additional 24 percent of teenagers find it acceptable to intimidate and hit another person when he or she is angry.

Standardized testing conundrum

These numbers are so high because the results determine academic success. In other words, if the child does not pass these state exams, they can forget about graduating. Eighth graders alone spend about 25.3 hours a year preparing and taking a test designed to robotically evaluate students.

That is in the school alone. There also comes homework and after-school curriculum scheduled for the child.

On a day-to-day basis, students come across circumstances where decisions involving common sense, deductive reasoning and opinionated thinking come into play.

Real world consequences

In the adult world, the lack of values has grown to have more severe consequences. Remember those drivers and motorists that speed past and completely disregard the red light? Yep, those are a result of a lack of morals. Not so trivial now, is it?

Without values, we lack a type of discipline: a discipline that tells us not to clock someone for disagreeing with us or run a red light. As a nation, we are continuously falling behind in not only education standards but in ethics — a result of a lack of education in values.

Be it at home or the school, there has to be room for character development. While the other side of the argument urges morality to be strictly taught at home, the fact of the matter is some parents are far too busy to even look in their child’s direction.

Of course, there are parents that dedicate their time and take the responsibility upon themselves to incorporate basic rules for being a decent human being. To those parents, I say kudos. Keep up the good work.

To the parents who are too busy to give more than food, water and shelter — that new phone does not replace family time, by the way — without so much as sitting down for a good 45 minutes with your child, allow schools to step in.

Eventually, children will have to make decisions on their own. Decisions that will test their own principles. Principles that will not exist if they are taught not to cheat and not to steal.

Raising a child is a team effort. By allowing educational facilities to assist in common teachings, the student will be able to maximize their time in getting educated as well as keeping themselves out of trouble in the future.

Opinion columnist Kristin Chbeir is a psychology senior and can be reached at [email protected]

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