Dr. Ed Young - A Broken School
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Our schools are broken! Open your Bibles, if you would. The Book of Judges, Chapter Number 2. I'll read Verse 8. "Then Joshua, the Son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110". Verse 10: "All that generation also were gathered to their fathers, and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor the work, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel". Verse 11: "Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served other Baals". The middle of Verse 12: "Followed other gods..." Verse 14: "The anger of the Lord turned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them".
There arose another generation that knew not the Lord and what He had done for Israel. What happened to those people? They went into the Promised Land. They just got busy! They were building houses, and businesses, and working in agriculture, and arts, and skills, and they were so involved, and Joshua died, and Caleb died, and all that generation died, and now there arose another generation that did not know the Lord; how His hand had been upon Israel, and the miracles that had taken place, and the blessings He had given to the people, and there arose another generation did not know the Lord, or the things He had done for Israel! What happened to these people? They forgot to teach their kids! They forgot to teach their kids! And then they did evil in the sight of the Lord.
Then they bowed down to other gods, and then they were plundered by the plunderers who plundered them! They were exploited. My thesis! There has arisen another generation that knows not the Lord, and does not know what the Lord God has done for America! And the reason we are there at this moment is, we have not, and we are not teaching our kids! The night before the Normandy invasion, a young soldier from East Texas was a part of a dance, and a party, and a meal given by English people, Englishmen, English men and women. And they had a date for all the young soldiers! And so this young, English girl met this young, American soldier, and they had a good time together, and following the meal, he had to go back to his barracks. They'd never met before, and she reaches out a hand to thank him-enjoyed being with him. He reaches out a hand to respond, and then suddenly, he reaches over and kisses her! She drops back!
She said "What was that about"? And he said "I'm shipping out in the morning. I don't know if I'll be killed or not. I don't know if I'll come back". And he says "I'm 19 years old, and I've never kissed a girl before"! He said "I just thought it's a time for boldness"! Our broken schools. It's a time for boldness! What is wrong with public education? I've been talking to some people, and I've asked them to tell me! And the answers are exceedingly interesting! Some people have told me, "I'll tell you exactly what's wrong with public education! It is money! The schools don't have enough money" and we hear that all the time!
Let me tell you, statistics do not bear that out! Money is not the answer. In the past three decades, we have doubled what we spend in public education, and that is in real dollars; and we see no, we have seen no measurable improvement in education. Now let me assure you, I am for, big time, teachers being paid according to merit and ability, and we should have many teachers in secondary education, all the way through, who are superior, and they need the average starting place in Texas is $40,000.00. They need to look to $100,000.00, a $100,000.00 plus when they do a super job with our kids! They should be on the level of doctors, and lawyers, and others!
So, let me be very clear about that; but that's not the primary problem, because those men and women who are in education now have an overwhelming sense of call to what they do, and a passion for what they do, or they would not stay there! And so, people have the idea that money is the answer to improving public education. That simply is not true! We are spending right now, on an average in the United States, $250,000.00 a year, per classroom, and that's about, with $10,000.00 per child. We're spending more money than any other developed nation probably in the world, and we're not seeing our kids get the education that they need and they deserve! So money is not the answer!
Number two, others people think it's methods! "Well, it's how we teach"! In the Orient, they primarily teach by lecture. Here, we try to teach with responsiveness. And certainly we can improve our methods, and we have the means to do that in modern America to do it! For example, all of us learn differently! Some of us learn linguistically! Words, and phrases, and letters. You know, we sort of put that together, and we learn that way. And we, the ultimate example of that, I guess, would be Walt Whitman! My goodness, what a word smith he was!
So some people learn like that. Some people learn mathematically! And we use the left side of our brain. We think logically, or scientifically, in the physical world. We learn in that way, mathematically! That would be the ultimate! Would be, what? Albert Einstein, I guess! Others of us would learn through, through music! For example, I learned the Books of the Bible by singing them! "Genesis, Exodus, Le...." And sometimes, now, after all these years, though I think I know them, I get to a part, and I go "Hhm, hhm, hhm"! To see if I got it right! You know, that's the way I learn! So people learn in different ways! Some people learn spatially! And, and they can see in, in dimensions, and they see shapes, and forms, and colors, and all kind of rhy...
This would be Frank Lord Wright who's a great architect! He would learn like that! Uh, some of us learn, you heard, someone maybe majoring in kinesiology! You say "What in the world is that"? That, that is someone who learns with, with the body! I know a story of a, of a young lady who was having a difficult time early in her education of learning the alphabet. And finally, she got way behind! Everybody said "Oh, she's dumb! She's dumb as a stump! She can't learn the alphabet"! And then they were spelling. She couldn't spell! They were writing words, and sentences! She couldn't do it, and so she was totally depressed and despondent, until one teacher noticed how she walked, with rhythm and with athleticism, you know, with, with all the poise there, and said "You know, she may be a kinetic learner".
And so this teacher went and said "I want you to go home tonight, and I want you to spell out the alphabet with your body"! Ya'll remember "Y, M, C.A."! Let's everybody do that! Would you? You need to learn that! Here we go, together! "Y, M., C., A."! Not many athletes here, obviously! So she went home and learned out to spell like that, came back the next day and showed her teacher and said "Look, it's easy"! And she went through the alphabet! A few days later, she was putting words together, and she was writing. She had demonstrated for her class. Her class applauded her! And she became very gifted linguistically, because that's how she learned! A lot of people of us, we were written off in certain areas, say "Boy, I can't learn that"! They never tuned in on how we learn!
So now in modern education, we can do that with computers and other things that we'll refer to later on; but methods is not really the answer though, to improving education. It's not just the method! Money's not the answer, the methods not the answer! Measurement! Other people say "Well, way we measure how smart our kids are, how much they develop, it is flawed". I don't think that's the problem. Some people say it's parents and kids, and certainly, parents are not as involved as they used to be! We have so many single parents who hardly have the time to give, and this is a challenge that we have today! But that's not the total problem! We, we have uh-some others say it's unions! You know, teacher unions! And we have four teacher unions in Texas. Two of them are, I think effective in ret, in representing the teachers. Two of them, I think, are over the top!
This is just my subjective opinion! And unions have, generally across America, held back some change, needed change in education. They've kept ineffective teachers teaching, when they should have been fired and dismissed, and gone to another profession. So that is a part of the problem, but it's not the total problem! The other problem, and by the way, this is what you've said to me as I've asked you! "What, what we need is more computers! That, that, that will solve everything in the world"!
Well, four years ago, we had one computer for every twelve kids; now we have one out of four. This is nationally, and in Texas, we probably have a better ratio than that! But the problem isn't with computers! So we have to look and study public education to get to the root of the problem, because the bottom line is, our schools are broken, and we're not educating our kids the way they need to be educated, and the way they deserve to be educated! So let's look at broken schools, and a brief history! First of all, let's look at old America! How did public education begin? It began with a law passed in Massachusetts, there we are, back again! A law passed in Massachusetts in 1647, called "The Old Deluder Satan Law". Did you get that? The Old Deluder Satan Law.
The Puritans said the kids could not develop, and could not resist the temptation of the Devil until they could read the Bible! And so, they passed public education and made it compulsory that if a family of fifty people were together, you had to have a teacher. If you had a hundred families together, you had to have a school where all the kids were taught, primarily, how to read so they could read the Bible and grow up in the fear and admonition of the Lord Jesus Christ! That's how public education began. It went through the other, other colonies, and it spread all over that world, even before we were officially a nation. And in the process of this, one man came to the surface, by the name of Noah Webster. Ever heard of Webster's Dictionary? Noah Webster was a God-fearing, brilliant man, and he took the spelling of some words, the way the English would spell them, and said "That's not how we're going to spell them in America"!
And so, he took those words. He wrote that dictionary, and he set, and he set the framework for the building of a public school system under God! And we see this developing... You look at some of our major colleges and universities-Harvard, and Princeton, and Yale, and William and Mary, and an endless list! They were started by God-fearing Christian men and women who wanted to teach their children the Word of God and give them a thorough education so their lives would count in this world! That's the documents of these institutions, which by and large today have become secularized! So let's let... that is old America! That is Noah Webster, who is called by many, "America's School Master". An educational system under God! That's the old way! But in 1960's, you have a new America of education, and this new America was radically different from the old America.
And you have the philosopher of this new American style of education was a man by the name of John Dewey. He was a philosopher, and I want you to look and see Dewey's philosophy of education, which is the basic philosophy of education in America today! This is it! It came from Dewey! Listen to it! "The state and it's perpetuation is the highest goal of education". Let that sink in. "The future of the state is in the child. Therefore, the child, at the age of education, belongs to the state. The state can take control of educational choice from the parents and the home. The state will determine the agenda of education based on its pragmatic needs".
Now, from Noah Webster, to John Dewey, Noah Webster built education on principle, moral ethics, Biblical foundation. John Dewey based education on pragmatism! "Will it work? Will it help? Can you see it? Can you measure it"? And therefore, we have the old education in America, the new education in America; and you see as they have tested kids, beginning in the early 90's, there's been a decline in overall knowledge and education under this new system called "New American Education".
Now, let's look at public education, K-12 from a distance. Okay? Let's look at it, at it from a distance. Let's look at it through a telescope, a broad, general sweep of public education! Recently in 2007, there was a study of 30 developed nations and how their kids are doing as far as education is concerned. The United States finished 24th in math, out of 30 nations, and 25th in science. We recently had a contest, equal contest between Belgium and the United States. The Belgium students on this test scored 76 percent; we scored 43%. And you look at it across the boards-anyone who says "Well, our educational system is superior to anyone in the world"!
Not K through 12! It simply cannot be verified! Now you look at some of the problems! Uh, for example, Detroit, Michigan! They had in the ghetto area of that city, graduation rate from K-12 was under 40%. And so a philanthropist there, Robert Thompson-he said "I will give 200 million dollars to start fifteen charter schools in the ghetto of Detroit". The legislature approved it; the government signed it. But when he started to start those charter schools, I can tell you, the teacher's unions, those who sell the textbooks, and the bureaucracy in government that is behind this; they fought him every step of the way, and called him racist because he happened to be a Caucasian who was reaching out to help the African-American students in the ghetto of Detroit, and he had to withdraw that 200 million dollar gift and not build those 15 charter schools because of pressure that came to bear against him, and therefore, the educational level there since then has continued to be right at the bottom!
In New York City, they have a room there called "the rubber room" in which teachers, who somehow were not qualified to teach-they still have contracts. You can't dismiss them, and they spend every day in the rubber room, doing whatever they want-watching television, playing cards, reading books, doing whatever they want, and they draw the salary! One quick illustration there in New York City-there was a man who was, who admittedly was guilty of sexual indiscretion with a student. They tried to fire him! They have spent over $350,000.00 in legal fees. He is still being paid, and he is still there at the place! You have this in different areas all over the country today! The bureaucracy, the power, you just have a tough time firing a teacher who is not functioning!
And this is a part of our problem. It's not our total problem; but you look at the broad perspective of education through that telescope. Healing broken schools, because there has arisen another generation that does not know the Lord, and is not equipped to live in the 21st Century because we have not taught them effectively, and with responsibility, and with accountability. Where do you start? My suggestions are not exhaustive, but I think I would start with "We the people taking back our public educational system"! We the people! And for openers, I would completely eliminate the Department of Education in Washington, D.C.! They have a budget of 56 billion dollars! It's called "a discretionary budget".
We send our tax money up there; they get 56 billion dollars. They pay 8% of the cost in the average pubic school system, but it takes 50% of the cost to just administer that which they have given us with all the paperwork involved, and they're trying to dictate as to how, and when, and where we teach our kids! Why don't they let us keep that tax money that we send up there, and we could use it ourselves with local funds, and state funds, because we the people, and the parents, and the teachers involved are better able to do the job! I would make every principle of every school function like an NFL owner! NFL owns football teams. I'd say a principle, "Here's your school"!
The superintendent would be the commissioner of the league, and that principle would have the ability to build that school up where it has integrity and quality teaching, and you would see a whole new regime as far as curriculum, its activities, everything's going on... So we the people! It's not going to come from the inside of the educational system, I'll tell you that! We've had long enough, haven't we? It's gonna come from the outside when we the people take back public school education, first thing! Second thing that I would do is to take a thorough look at the curricula, the curriculums of every individual school. We can personalize it! We can meet the needs of how these kids learn! A lot of kids go out of school and say "Boy, I'm dumb"! And they're not dumb! They have brilliance in certain area!
A member of my family struggled all the way through school. This person never finished college! Struggled, and struggled, and struggled! We said "Boy, he's just not gifted as the rest of our family"! Recently, within the last 3 or 4 months, he took an I.Q. test and scored over 140! See, they never figured it out in schools, so we have to look at our curricula as to how we teach our kids, and draw it out of them! We can personalize that through computers and a lot of methodology, and that can be done, right now in the 21st Century with relatively ease! The third thing I would do, I would give choice and vouchers to every parent so a kid can go to school wherever they want to go to school! Choice! You can go anywhere your son or daughter wants to go! They can choose if they can be admitted! Vouchers! This means they would get $5,000.00 to $10,000.00. They can go to any kind of school.
What happens when we have choice and vouchers? Schools have different kinds of personalities! Schools are competitive, not just athletically and academically; but they are competitive for kids! That brings the quality up! The problem with public education simply said in one word is the word "monopoly"! A monopoly does not work anywhere! Remember, we had only one phone company? We had those old, ugly phones! We had high phone bills. Now we got a lot of 'em! What's happening? Monopoly! If you had only one place to eat in all of a 100 mile area, then we have to worry about the quality of food! That'd be the only place we could eat! Monopolies will kill anything! You drive out competition, and when you have a public monopoly, that's the deadliest thing of all when it's underwritten by your tax money and mine!
This will break the monopoly, and all of a sudden, you would have a school that may not have a football team! They'd emphasize the arts! You may not have a school.... You'd have schools that develop personality, and uniqueness, and we'd be able to choose what best fits our kids! Boy, it would change! You would put the free enterprise system in the marketplace! It would be fabulous! And for want of a better word, every school will, will sort of be like these specialized schools that we see! Boy, it would change the quality of education! We the people can speak. We can take back our public educational system. Ladies and gentlemen, in the name of the Lord God Almighty, it's a time for boldness!