by Sarah Dalbey
Teachers are busy preparing their classrooms for the coming school year starting in August.
When I was in college, The McDonaldization of Society, a book by American sociologist George Ritzer, was a staple addition to most Sociology classes. In simple terms, it compared our societal organizations and institutions (our new economic and social order) to fast-food restaurant chains and the model with which they operated.
Ritzer identified the four aspects of this model as: efficiency, calculability, predictability and standardization, and control. Efficiency by minimizing a task to its simplest form to reduce the amount of time it takes; calculability by focusing on the quantity produced instead of the quality; predictability and standardization by offering a consistent, cookie-cutter product that defines society's experience; and control by ensuring that workers all operate the same way, much like a robot or the use of technology to replace human error. On the outside, this looks great - standardize the process and you'll get the same product every time.
Ritzer said this model spread throughout our society and influenced all aspects of our life, from the way business models were created to the way we view government and education. It seemed like a natural conclusion to assume that if you standardize education, you would produce the same type of citizen every time.
But those who have studied logic, a foundational subject at CLA and in Classical Christian Education, would recognize this as a False Premise, or an incorrect assumption that forms the basis of an argument and renders it logically unsound. Why? Because the assumption is that all 'ingredients,' so to speak, to make that product (or in this case, a student into a successful citizen) are the same. Anyone that has ever worked with a human being immediately knows that, though we may be similar, none of us are the same. Not one of us has the same fingerprint - not even those born with a twin!
God said that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that he knitted us together in our mothers' wombs, and that he knows how many hairs there are on our head. We are all unique and special to the Father, and we all have educational strengths that govern our own ways of learning to make information make sense to us as we learn (check out Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences). For example, someone who has strength in the spoken word might approach a math problem differently than someone who is mechanically minded.
This means we can never have the same outcome because the ingredients can never be exactly the same.
It appears to me that the standardization of education (standardized tests, common core, etc.) has attempted to take a short cut to the top where young minds are concerned. Differentiated learning is not enough to bridge the gap that this educational model creates.
The Classical Christian Education that Christ's Legacy Academy offers cuts no corners. We work hard to make sure that every stage of brain development is utilized to its fullest and our students graduate as some of the brightest, highest performing young adults in the next steps of their lives. They leave knowing that their worth is not in how they perform, but in their status as children of God. We teach subjects like Latin and Logic and Rhetoric (subjects no longer offered in most schools) to help students think for themselves and recognize fallacies and arguments built on false assumptions. In turn, they learn how to deconstruct those arguments and present the facts eloquently and clearly. We teach them to think for themselves with God's Word as their cornerstone of Truth, allowing them to see all subjects through a Biblical Worldview.
There are no shortcuts to raising well balanced, educated citizens that stand out from the crowd. If you're not willing to offer a 'McDonaldized' education to your children, please contact us and come take a tour. You'll see the difference!