Assembly Line Education

Photo: imaginima/iStock

Once upon a time, cars were owned by the wealthy elite. They were tediously built by hand one at a time and therefore expensive. Henry Ford envisioned cars built for everyone, not just the rich. In doing so, he streamlined the process and made car manufacturing much more efficient and cost effective. The result is a greater number of more affordable cars, but not necessarily better quality. Rolls Royce still believes in slow steady craftsmanship, where artisans are still used for the details. These cars are few and far between and generally relegated to the wealthy elite due to their price tag. 

Once upon a time, a family’s wealth and social status determined the amount and quality of education their children received. Fewer opportunities to attend school, lack of access to qualified teachers, and greater responsibilities at home prevented children from acquiring the education necessary to progress to the next level in society. In the 20th century, the American public education system began to streamline the process, make school more accessible, and “free” to all students. The result is more affordable, some say efficient, education but not necessarily better quality. 

Schools that use the classical education model still believe in the steady cultivation of wisdom, virtue, beauty, and truth. Highly trained teachers implement the model in a very intentional way in order to prepare students, not for jobs, but for life. For now, many classical education academies are relegated to the wealthy elite because they often involve tuition. It is time to change that. 

In America, we do not believe that you are confined to the economic situation you may have been born into. We believe that this is the land of opportunity and we even provide resources for those who want to be agents of their own uplift. One of those major resources should be a quality k-12 education that includes strong literacy and numeracy skills. As a country, we are failing this generation in that area. Instead of quality, we are offering efficiency and we are not even doing that very well. We are providing families with an assembly line education experience that lacks authenticity and craftsmanship. They deserve more. 

It is time that we take a step back, look at what has worked in the past and what has not and make necessary changes moving forward. That might mean going back to some of the “old ways” of teaching or at least offering that as a viable option for the families who desire it. America is a melting pot, but we are all still unique individuals and our children should have access to the learning environment that best fits their unique needs. It is time for real school choice in every state and district so parents, not the government, can make this important decision for their children.

Beanie Geoghegan
Beanie Geoghegan is the Chapter Lead for No Left Turn in Education KY. She is a former teacher and reading interventionist and is the mother of four grown readers, writers, and independent thinkers.