Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your hear and with all your sould and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hears. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 2 outlines the benefits of seeking wisdom.
In education, our first goal ought to be the fear of the Lord. Seeking God first, we fit the world to that framework. The scriptures are not the only thing we study. But fitting the two together, we get a more complete picture of God. Knowledge cannot be idolized, as it is in some academic institutions. We also seek to instill wisdom, which grows with knowledge and understanding, with light shed from the scriptures. Those three, fear of God, knowledge, and wisdom, will build the learner. We start with a bit of awe of God, add knowledge, gain wisdom, and we'll end up with more awe of God. It will spiral, and it's an endless cycle. This is the cycle of learning.
I believe that in heaven, it will be like going to school every day with the best teacher in the universe. We'll have eternity to pursue fear of God, knowledge, and wisdom, and we'll frequently be in the concert hall, giving praise to God for His mighty works and thanking Him for being pleased to share His company with us.
How does this suggest we ought to run K-12 education?
First, parents are the primary educators. Their power in this needs to be recognized, understood, cultivated, promoted, and utilized! The focus of the field of education ought to be on the parents, NOT THE KIDS! Get the parents up to speed, and the kids will be just fine.
Second, the focus of society should be on the kids. I've written that there is NO economic reason to have kids any more. A hundred years ago, a large family was an asset. Kids were needed to help run the farm or the business, and it was up to the kids to take care of their aging parents. Today, we have a fairy tale belief that kids should be allowed 16 - 18 years of educational play, it's illegal to put children to work, and that somehow with proper education that they'll know how to show up to work on time, put in eight hours, and do their best work. That costs money! Children aren't required to take care of their aging parents because parents are supposed to have a retirement account to take care of that. If nothing else, there will be social security. (More folks my age believe in visitors from outer space than the likelihood there will be any social security remaining when we get there.)
This isn't bad news for kids. We now can have kids because we just want them. We are at a place right now where we should be able to cultivate every good thing in a child. We have the resources to give them everything they need, except..... time. We're in such pursuit of those resources and maintenance of our possessions that we have forgotten why we're doing this.
Rocket science is great stuff. Cloning tissues and stem cell research will promises to save us from everything except the common cold. All this knowledge, and no fear of the Lord or wisdom, and what do we have? Pursuit of material possessions and knowledge are our idols, and our future is in daycare.
So let's slow down some. We know enough to give everyone on the planet hot running water and a refrigerated drink. The moon and the outer planets can wait. Put the kids first. Run your business and bring your kids. If things don't move any faster than the little ones, then so be it.
Put schools where the parents are, right inside their work place, where parents can see what's going on and provide the object lesson for math and English. Let the kids get their work ethic from their parents, helping out with the business as it is appropriate for them. There will be much more 1:1 contact between adults and kids.
There are a few places we don't want kids. Kids should probably not be around health care, law enforcement and other emergency services. But kids should be allowed to try dangerous things. Gever Tully runs The Tinkering School. See his video about that:
Third, find time to discuss, discuss, discuss with kids, all of them. The communications skills they learn, the insight they get from other adults, the wisdom that will grow from these discussions will glue together their fear of God and knowledge. Turn off the TV! Get into their faces and help them find out who they are, which is more important than imprinting yourself upon them. You probably can't do that, anyway, because it wasn't you who made that child.
Recognize and cultivate the power of parents. Cultivate the parents. Slow down. Talk.