1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Animus Against Totality

The Agnostic Teacher

I teach at a public high school. Every year we get some lecture about the separation of church and state, viz., Christmas. This year was particularly onerous: "Keep your beliefs to yourself" we were told. In other words, share your lives with these kids but only up to the point where God, the Mystery, the Infinite enters in. Whether or not this adminstrator's interpretation of church-state jurisprudence would stand up to legal scrutiny (I think not), her remarks do reflect the mentality of so-called public educators: Ignore religion, politics or anything else that might be controversial. Ah, but then, what is left to talk about? Sports, perhaps?

A School That Educates the Whole Person

Thus is it reasonable to begin a public charter school that takes the humanity of the students seriously -- when our understanding of their humanity includes a religious dimension?

-Can we even help students to ask the right kinds of questions when "practical atheism" holds sway over the "public" education machine?

-Is the price of public funding the suppression of fundamental questions such as What is the meaning of everything? Who or what will answer my need to totality? How can I find happiness?

-If we can ask the questions, are we still constrained by an inability to propose certain answers as helpful, true or meaningful?

-If we can ask all the right questions but not give coherent or meaningful answers, are we not simply setting up the students for a sceptical outlook on life? (The teacher is always an authority of some stripe, so a teacher that says "I dunno" to meaningful questions is a weak, pathetic figure)

All of this takes us back to a question raised by a previous post, The Freedom to Educate : Is the price of freedom to educate charging parents tuition? Or can some via media be found?

2 comments:

Freder1ck said...

And parents pay tuition to send their kids to public school - at least the ones who own their homes do...

PostPaganBaby said...

Yes, and if only these parents demanded the same of their schools as they did of their doctors or police or Starbucks! The "hidden" way schools are paid for seems to encourage disinterest in quality and scope of the education "product" (yuck, what a terrible word!)