Montgomery County School Administrators almost made the right decision by striking the names of religious holidays from the school calendar but then, at the same time, they made no decision at all. They failed to make the point that school is a place of education, not religious observance which they could have done by eliminating at least some of these holidays from the school calendar. As important as the trappings and beliefs surrounding religious observance are to some families and individuals, certainly even the most devoutly religious parent recognizes on some level (but most likely will not admit) that religion and the days off school that people believe are ‘required’ for religious observances do nothing to improve the quality of a child’s education and, in fact, are distractions that interrupt the learning process. The time and place for religious indoctrination of children is when school is not in session, and in the home or in a religious center.’ There are lots of hours outside school and some of those can certainly be spent carrying out religious ritual.
Is it possible that Christian parents think that increasing their child’s wealth of knowledge and critical thinking abilities will in any way interfere with their understanding and observance of their parent’s religion? Organized religion should readjust it’s priorities by realizing that their holidays would not be harmed in the slightest by rearranging worship services so they don’t conflict with school time or study time.
Quality of Education Measured in OECD countries
There are 34 countries (including the United States) that belong to the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). This is an organization of developed countries committed to democracy, the market economy and the education of youth. Every three years, as part of their Educational tracking, students are tested, worldwide, for their academic abilities in three areas: Reading, Mathematics and Science. Until the last few years American students ranked about “average” (about 17th out of the 34 countries) in all three academic areas. A country as wealthy and powerful as the United States being just “Average” among these 34 developed countries in the field of education does not bode well for our countries future and should be considered scandalous, but as bad as it was, it got worse. In Mathematics, the United States has, in the most recent testing, now plunged into 25th place. Understanding that one fact alone should encourage all intelligent Americans who care about their children’s future, without regard to their religion, to demand more classroom time, higher educational standards and less time away from school.
The OECD’s Secretary-General, Angel Gurría, during the OECD launch in Washington D.C. made the unarguable points: “With high levels of youth unemployment, rising inequality and a pressing need to boost growth in many countries, it’s more urgent than ever that young people learn the skills they need to succeed. In a global economy, competitiveness and future job prospects will depend on what people can do with what they know. Young people are the future, so every country must do everything it can to improve its education system and the prospects of future generations.” He made this statement several years ago and things haven’t changed much, at least in American education, since then.
According to the OCED , “Shanghai-China, and Singapore are top in maths, with students in Shanghai scoring the equivalent of nearly three years of schooling above most OECD countries. Hong Kong-China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Macao-China, Japan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the Netherlands were also in the group of top-performing countries.” What’s different between them and us? You can bet that the children in those countries spend more time in the classroom than they do in their churches or athletic fields, perhaps more importantly, you can bet that bringing home a marginal or failing grade would have more severe repercussions for those students than it does for most of ours.
Religious Conservatives are labeling what happened in the Montgomery schools as a “War on Religion”! The fact of the matter is that Montgomery was engaged in a battle, in a war but it’s a war on education that is in progress as well as a war between religions. What choice did the Montgomery County School Administrators have? They are already sacrificing their ability to provide a quality education to their children to: parents that are seemingly more interested in religious holidays than they are in their children’s education; parents who just don’t care and to those Liberal activists who value “fairness” far more than quality education and political correctnessness more than logic and truth.
Huffington Post Religion: US Falls in Education Rankings.
TheAtlantic.com: American schools vs the world, Expensive, Unequal, Bad at math