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Friday, March 24 - 2023 Week 12
A vision of your week flashing by in front of your eyes…
☀️A Twenty Year Vision
In her seminal essay, “The Lost Tools of Learning,” Dorothy Sayers concluded that “The sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves.” She wrote that 76 years ago, and if we've learned anything since then it sure isn’t obvious.
By “education” Sayers had in mind something similar to our K-12 schools. I virtually wasted my own K-12 years, but the intensity of my concern for education has exponentially grown since I graduated high school. Some readers of the Sun know this already (because they know me), but I've been investing in a local school as one of the founding board members and as a part-time teacher for the last eleven years. Ours is a member school in the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, which is nearing 500 member schools worldwide. The ACCS was founded to implement Sayer's insights and teach students to be lifelong learners.
The Sun posts about education issues somewhat regularly. We even started what was to be a series of posts about how to renew (or probably more like Gut & Rebuild) education in Marysville; maybe we'll be able to pick up that #2 pencil again. But I haven't written about our school in particular because the Sun is for the city. That said, our school experienced something last summar that has given me a statewide educational goal.
Our school doesn't take any money from the government. None. Not in any form. $0.00 from local, from state, or from federal sources. Our families pay tuition, which means they are paying for education twice, their tuition and their property taxes and excess levies which go to public schools. But our private school doesn't ask for or get anything from the state. That's on purpose. We are not impressed by their performance when it comes to schooling. We are not amenable to their anthropology and sociology. We are concerned with actual science, starting with XY and XX (let alone the immorality of making X-rated material part of the curriculum). We have high expectations and we work hard—board and teachers and students and parents—to make progress.
But in WA State parents cannot decide to make a school for themselves without the State Board of Education's permission. Getting “approved” is not just an intrusive and annoying process, it's not even due process. Regardless of what they claim, the state does not give parents rights to educate their own kids. When it comes to our educational lives, liberty, and property, the “our” in the first part of this sentence are families not the government. Yet the current law requires an annual certificate of compliance with the state’s standards.
Last summer the State Board of Education informed us that we must submit to their requirements. While researching our options of response, the best legal counsel we received was as follows: if we don't want the state's approval to operate as a private school, we need to change the law so that no private school in WA needs the state's approval.
So why not?
I've got a vision to get the law changed in 20 years. The timing is so that maybe I’ll get to see it in my lifetime, but the goal is for everyone’s benefit, including future generations.
Perhaps the thing going for us above all is that the government schools are atrocious. They're not safe. They're not successfully transferring learning, or the skills to learn how to learn. They'd be mad at Sayer’s mission of teaching “men” (how gender-insensitive!) how to learn, even though she was a woman.
That said, the Washington Education Association is the state's largest labor union and a powerful lobby in Olympia. They are committed to themselves, to their money. Poor test scores don’t discourage them but actually encourage them to ask for more money. They’ve learned that failure gets better financing.
It's going to be fun, right? Fun probably isn't the right word, but right is. It's also going to take some invested people. I figure we’ll need a new governor, a new set a judges at a variety of levels, and an entirely different set of legislators. We’ll probably need a Christian attorney who cares and who can help navigate the nitty-gritty. Come to think of it, it’ll probably take a whole team of them.
Is this the best way to bless Marysville? It’s only part of a larger project, but if we've learned anything, it sure won't hurt.
☀️Some Sooner Than Later
The Raggant Fiction Festival is tomorrow, March 25, with registration starting at 8:30am. Some walk-up tickets will be available to purchase, so get there early if you missed the online deadline.
Coffee Klatch with Mayor Nehring - Monday, April 10.
Marysville Presents: Growing Flowers in the Pacific Northwest - two different events, Sustainable Beekeeping on Tuesday, April 11, 6:30pm and the actual Growing Flowers on Tuesday, May 16, 6:30pm, both at the Marysville Opera House. See the Facebook event page for more info.
Not everything grows on trees, but maybe more things than you’d think.