We are living during an age in the West, perhaps in the whole world, wherein the prevailing view of all things could best be described as utilitarian. Modern Americans, in particular, have a way of reducing most everything down to its usefulness, its efficiency, and of course, its cost. Jobs go to the lowest bidder. We buy where we get the best deal. Our books are paperback no matter the genre, dime store romance or classic. Our buildings are metal, whether serving as an auto body shop or a church. After a few years of this kind of thinking, everything begins to look the same.
Well, maybe not everything, but I suggest the utilitarian lens through which we view the world has certainly clouded the way we think about education. The result is that we have come to the wrong view of education’s end. We have embraced the notion that education is something akin to job training. We no longer send our children to university to become educated, we send them to receive specialized training in a particular field that makes them marketable in that field when they graduate—to say it plainly, students at university often receive specialized training for high skill or high tech jobs, not a liberal education. Furthermore, this specialized job training begins as early as eighth grade in some modern education models.
The goal is a utilitarian one: get Junior on the right track to the highest paying job as quickly as possible.
Few people would argue against high paying jobs—I certainly won’t—but when a particular job becomes the end goal of education, then an education is exactly what Junior won’t get. If the idea is to make Junior marketable in the world of nuclear physicists, then Junior can’t be bothered with literature or music or art; his time must be spent getting ahead in math and science. By the same token, if the goal is to make Junior marketable as a writer, chances are good that Calculus and physics will be passed over for more creative writing classes. In both cases, a broad, liberal education will be sacrificed at the altar of getting useful training that puts Junior on the right track for his chosen field, a field likely chosen for its annual salary and picked out when Junior is thirteen or fourteen years old.
Not at Trinitas Christian School.
In the middle of August teachers will show up at Trinitas for our Faculty Forum. We will spend nearly three weeks planning and discussing and studying about how to give Trinitas students a broad, liberal education that changes them, transforms them. One of our main focuses will be figuring out how to let the things we teach mold and shape our students into the people God created them to be. Of course, we hope they all get great jobs some day, but landing a great, even a high paying job will be a hollow victory if they don’t understand the history of their people, the story of their God, the beauty of creation. The subjects and lessons we plan to teach our students are the kind that chip away at the rough edges, convict the soul, evoke confession, provoke change, and finally turnout young people after God’s own heart, young people who think God’s thoughts after Him.
Our aim is to help our students see that they must slow down and let the literature work on them, let it show them things about themselves that they couldn’t see by any other light. We hope to convince them to allow the beauty of art and music to mold and shape their souls. We must convince them to stop thinking that logic and geometry are skills to be acquired but that they are rather tools to sharpen their minds and help them see God’s world in a whole new light. The people our students become after all they study has changed them, well, that is the true end of education.