Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut

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Honest Answers to Educating Our Children

  • Jim Townsley
  • Feb 20, 2008

Christmas lights, family gatherings and stores full of special gifts remind us the Christmas holidays are upon us.  Likewise, the special promises to educate our children and offer new school programs remind us the political season is fast approaching. Every congressional election is accompanied with assurances of candidates from both parties that they really understand education and that it is a high priority on their agenda. Yet, following every election it seems there are more questions than answers resulting in little, if any, progress. Solutions to our educational ills are often limited in scope and relegated to being cured by appropriating more money or implementing yet another experimental program.

Politicians do understand rightly that America has a problem in educating her children. Gang violence, drugs, unwed mothers barely old enough to attend high school, illiteracy and suicide are only a few of the common ills of our generation. In fact, some schools more resemble a prison than a happy and safe environment in which to learn. Whether in the big cities, the suburbs or the country, our youth are experiencing an eroding sense of true learning. Ineffective appropriations and programs are employed again and again with little or no help. Communities often become cenacle and are helplessly resigned to what seems certain failure.

Having been involved in education both publicly and privately for over thirty-two years, I have observed the successes and failures of our society. Leading our Christian school for twenty-two years, including the last four years as President of New England Baptist College, I have gained some measure of understanding in the matter of Education. Our Christian academy consistently tests in the top 95% nationally compared to public, private and Christian schools using the nationalized Stanford Achievement Test. Yet our cost to educate our students consistently is less than half the cost statewide to educate children. Achievement scores are not the only barometer. We often accept non-Baptist students; some of which are diagnosed with learning disabilities, poor performance or social problems. Though our school has not helped everyone, we have helped many. Often people ask, how do you do it?

Several years ago, I met with our State Commissioner of Education. During the course of our meeting, several issues were discussed, but one we discussed I found very revealing. Connecticut has no current State history book. Though our state has one of the richest histories in the country, we remain one of the few not teaching our children the principles that made this state great. I encouraged the commissioner to consider publishing such a book and requiring every student to take the course, but unfortunately nothing was done. When we ignore the successful principles of the past we allow ourselves to be guided by our changing culture. While some aspects of today's culture are to be admired, too many important aspects of the past are forgotten. We must never forget that America became great for a reason and not by accident.

This brief article will not allow me to elaborate upon this topic, but the home is by far the strongest dynamic in the educational process. We cannot expect teachers to counteract in thirty hours a week what has been established during the other one hundred and thirty-eight hours. What young man today is being taught the responsibilities of being a good husband, and a young girl on being a good wife? Purity, loyalty, kindness and responsibility are only a few of the virtues often extinct in the minds of our youth.

Classrooms will always teach English and math, but who will teach young lives the importance of the family, patriotism, hard work, honesty, sacrifice and discipline? We must recognize the importance of the old virtues and find ways in which to teach them.