I remember when my husband and I were deciding on our daughter’s elementary school. Do we send her to the public school around the corner, the new charter school a few miles away, or the private school with the out-of-pocket tuition expenses? Do we homeschool? In deciding on the best match for their child, most parents wonder where she will best flourish, where he will feel that he belongs, and where she will shine rather than fall through the cracks of a large educational institution. Bobbi Cecio, long-time educator and co-founder of The Village Gate Children’s Academy in Encinitas, California, is passionate about the child-school match. In discussing education, she asks that we address our questions by exploring the basic purpose of education. She says, “What is the purpose of schooling and teaching? If we don’t know the answer to that and if we don’t know the mission and goals of schools, it’s not possible to even know if we’ve fulfilled the mission, reached the goals, or missed our target. Interestingly, with all the focus in recent years on accountability of schools, you don’t hear much public discussion about the fundamental purpose of schools.”
Bobbi continues, “I’ve found that two primary opposing views exist regarding the purpose of schools. Some believe that the primary purpose of schools should be to create workers who have skills and personal styles to fill and perform available jobs. Others believe schools should seek to develop active citizens, helping children develop their own capacity for personal achievement and contributing to society as an active citizen for democracy. Over time, the goals of public education have included preparation of children for citizenship, cultivation of a skilled workforce, the teaching of cultural literacy, the preparation of students for college, the development of critical thinking and to assist students in competing in the global marketplace.
What do you think is the purpose of your child’s education? What would you like it to be? How much of your vision is shared by the leadership at your child’s school?
I have heard many say that the purpose of school is to prepare our children for their future. If that’s truly the case, then I’m going to challenge that perspective and invite you to consider a few things.
Bobbi Cecio will be speaking in south Florida at the It Takes a Village Parenting Conference in Miramar on October 20. You can learn more about her philosophy on education and her school, The Village Gate Children’s Academy, at VillageGateAcademy.com.