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by Cheryl Lacey, ©2020
(Sep. 2, 2020) — From the moment we become parents, the full responsibility of raising our children rests squarely on our shoulders. Parenting is no easy task; neither is the task of navigating the many services that help us raise our children. Whatever your personal circumstances, though, you have a voice. You can choose your general practitioner, your private health care provider, your specialist, and infant health service. You decide on your playgroup, your babysitter, and childcare centre. Navigating and selecting services becomes a major part of your responsibility as a parent. You are the decision maker.
But then, one day, our children commence compulsory schooling. We hand them over to individuals we know very little about. And the older our children get, the less we are likely to know about the various teachers they have.
But it hasn’t always been this way.
Long before schools were established, wealthy parents sought tutors to build knowledge, positive judgement and wisdom in their children. Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC), regarded as the world’s first private tutor, was a master at this, and developed trusting relationships – first with parents and then with his students. An invitation to tutor a child was an invitation to nurture ethical citizenship in the next generation. It was considered a great honour.
For centuries, parents have carefully chosen highly regarded individuals – including people of faith, philosophers, and the well-educated –to contribute to the education of their children. Today, although some parents still invest in subject-specific tutors, compulsory schooling has replaced the parent as the direct employer, and the teacher has replaced the carefully chosen tutor.
Everyone teaches. Some are paid to do so. In terms of teaching faith, relationships, politics and sexuality, however, is it the role of paid teachers? Or to encourage this content? To what extent are parents relinquishing their role in this important aspect of their children’s education?
Compulsory schooling shouldn’t change parents’ fundamental role as the prime educators of their children.
No more threats President Trump! Turn off the tap that flows tax-payer funds to union hip pockets via America’s children. Families will stand beside you. Turn it off!
Rational Education Strategist
189 Queen St
Marching Schools Forward: Discussions on the Direction of Australian Education
(now available at Connor Court Publishing)