You Got the Analogy Right, But You Came to the Wrong Conclusion

 

Some lefty media person decided to chime in on the Terry McAuliffe gaffe by using a simple analogy. You remember: McAuliffe said that parents should not tell teachers what to teach. The commentator smugly said that teachers were professionals like surgeons and, therefore, parents should not tell teachers what to teach. After all, you would not tell a surgeon how to do surgery. You would leave it up to him or her.

After thinking about this for almost two seconds, I realized that he was partly right. We should treat teachers like surgeons — in a different way. A surgeon may recommend a certain kind of surgery, and you may say “Yes” or “No” to that. But the surgeon does not operate without your permission or perform surgery different from what you want. Of course, that is not really telling him how to do the surgery. It is telling him what surgery he is allowed to perform on you.

In the same way, parents do not tell teachers how to teach but what they may and should teach their children. Most parents want the basics like English, math, and other academic subjects to be taught. That is not what the debate is about. But most parents also do not want their children taught things contrary to their values and beliefs. That is not the role of the teacher or school system to decide. The parents have a right to teach their children moral values.

Sixty years ago, this was not a problem. There was a moral consensus in this country — churches, schools, and parents all taught the same things. We now have a country that is divided on moral issues. Now the LGBTQXYX agenda is often taught along with various forms of critical race theory. How did this happen? It happened because parents trusted the school systems. They might even get involved with the teachers, and they would see what a nice person the teacher was and how hard it is to teach. They are generally hardworking people wanting to help our kids. It’s hard not to want to support them.

But now parents are waking up to the fact that their values are being undermined by these nice people. They mean well. We cannot, however, let our children be subject to these ungodly things. We must resist. We must protect our children. We must do what we have to do to give our children the education they deserve and not be subject to some left-wing agenda.

Many of us left the public school system a long time ago. After our older daughter went through kindergarten in a public school, we decided to homeschool and then get her into a Christian school where my wife was her teacher. Our younger daughter graduated from that Christian high school in 2003. Both of our daughters went to Christian colleges with scholarships to help them. They are now married and have children of their own. Now it is their turn to decide how to educate their children.

If I had my way, we would phase out the public school system and privatize the whole thing with tax credits or vouchers to parents. I want the government out of education. I want parents back in charge.

Published in Education
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  1. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Well put, Brian. As a homeschooling parent whose youngest three ended up in a small Catholic high school, I couldn’t agree more. Small private schools of modest means offer parents an opportunity to know the teachers and to be involved in their children’s schooling, something much harder to achieve at large public schools.

    Wresting control of primary and secondary education away from the state and the unions is, I think, crucial to restoring anything approaching traditional American values.

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  2. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Kind of a brilliant post.

    • #2
  3. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

     

     

     

    Brian Scarborough: The commentator smugly said that teachers were professionals like surgeons and, therefore, parents should not tell teachers what to teach. After all, you would not tell a surgeon how to do surgery. You would leave it up to him or her. 

    Teachers may be “professionals”, but they are not like surgeons.

    The truth of the matter is that many parents are qualified to teach their children, some are not.  Just because a teacher is a professional doesn’t mean they have the same level of expertise as a surgeon.  In my twelve years of public schooling, I only had four teachers who I would describe as exceptional.  The rest were good to mediocre.

    But I agree that the misleading part is the commentator trying to equate how to teach vs. what to teach.  Parents are mostly concerned about what is being taught their children.  However, they do get involved in the how if the students are not learning . . .

     

    • #3
  4. Cosmik Phred Member
    Cosmik Phred
    @CosmikPhred

    My late father’s contention was that the wheels started coming off education when teaching ceased being a calling and became a profession.  He and other parents fought – to no avail – to get a teacher removed from my elementary school “so he couldn’t ruin more kids.”  And this was back in the 70s.  The union’s fortifications had already been erected.

    The other tipping point was when the PhDs and EdDs arrived to make things “better.”

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  5. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    A bigger point is we do not know how to teach people to be effective teachers-the knowledge doesn’t exist. We do know how to teach anatomy & surgical techniques. Teachers have little training that actually enhances the skills necessary to teach- most have to learn on the job. If we knew how to teach effective teaching skills we would be much, much better off. As it is, teachers colleges are constantly adopting new fads ( “new math”, whole language etc) b/c they do not know what to teach.

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  6. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    MiMac (View Comment):

    A bigger point is we do not know how to teach people to be effective teachers-the knowledge doesn’t exist. We do know how to teach anatomy & surgical techniques. Teachers have little training that actually enhances the skills necessary to teach- most have to learn on the job. If we knew how to teach effective teaching skills we would be much, much better off. As it is, teachers colleges are constantly adopting new fads ( “new math”, whole language etc) b/c they do not know what to teach.

    They reject the old, tried-and-true teaching methods because they are old and boring. Much more fun to be a daring creative intellectual by inventing new theories of how children learn and how best to teach them.

    • #6
  7. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Brian Scarborough: But now parents are waking up to the fact that their values are being undermined by these nice people. They mean well.

    As they pave the road to Hell.

    • #7
  8. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Brian Scarborough: But the surgeon does not operate without your permission or perform surgery different from what you want.

    Here is another incarnation of that dishonest analogy. From the New Yorker, unsurprisingly:

    • #8
  9. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Brian Scarborough: But the surgeon does not operate without your permission or perform surgery different from what you want.

    Here is another incarnation of that dishonest analogy. From the New Yorker, unsurprisingly:

    Me: I’m spending a week with my friends in LA!

    Pilot: No, you’re helping with the sugar cane harvest in Cuba. Good exercise and good political education, comrade.

     

    • #9
  10. Roderic Reagan
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    Brian Scarborough: I want the government out of education. I want parents back in charge.

    Amen to that.  

    Everything we don’t like about all sorts of areas of our lives — education, medicine, air travel, automobiles, roads, bridges, insurance, finances, etc., — is due to the way the government runs and regulates them.  

    • #10