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Our Inadequate, Simplistic, and Anachronistic National Philosophy of K-12 Education

February 18, 2018

This article is correct to identify, and call out, national problems in relation taking care of the mental and emotional health of our students. But these deficiencies have arisen due to a generally inadequate national philosophy of education.

Let’s do away with the simplistic, anachronistic stance that schools are a place where only the “Three Rs” are studied and vocations are determined. If we’re going to go in reverse regarding our national philosophy of education, then go to John Dewey. Dewey helps us remember that schools fulfill, in reality and every day, multiple social functions.

Schools are the place where democratic culture is inculcated, the oppressed are lifted up, equality is pushed, and people are encouraged to flourish in all areas of life. Yes, vocations and academic basics are also learned along the way. But health–mental and physical—are promoted. As noted in the article, this expansive view of one our most crucial national institutions requires adequate staffing in the areas of psychology, counseling, social work, and nursing.

Finally, given these expansive needs and expectations, let’s give teachers the support and respect they’re due. They are on the front line in helping our schools see which needs are necessary for particular students. Teachers perform crucial pre-diagnostic work for society and parents. Respect for teachers means firm middle-class salaries, constant professional development, and never-ending political support. – TL

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