Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill
Tuesday, May 02, 2000
water. Their job is to recommend and to suggest. They are not asked to sit and think about education. Well, when you look at the membership, the composition, you know they are not really being constructed to do that. Why are we talking about decentralization? Why are we talking about restructuring? Why are we talking about education for the new millennium if we are creating structures that will not free up the creative imagination and thinking? Why are we not creating structures that will make use of the family of parents of the local community in fine tuning the educational provision in our schools?
Mr. President, there is massive—voluminous—literature which shows that the best educational systems draw upon parents, the village. I cannot remember where the quotation comes from, but, “it takes a village to educate a child.” It is not just the school or the computer. In this vein I am going to sound my warnings about distance education. If the Government believes that distance education is going to educate anybody it would be very sadly mistaken. Education comes out of a context of people interacting, and the education of the young, more than the education of the old, requires that context of people interacting, creating a situation where we encourage, monitor and celebrate the whole child, the whole development of the child as a person and where we guide and encourage him as a young mind into the acquisition and use of knowledge and thinking. We have that kind of responsibility, Mr. President, and at the younger levels we need a kind of community-based education that is going to be interested in the whole development of the child.
When I was growing up, if I went to school and stole somebody’s “dongs”, before I could reach home the message would have reached home because the “dongs” tree owner knew it was me, and the “dongs” tree owner knew my mother. By the time I reached home my mother would say, “You enjoyed your dongs?” I would know then that I was getting licks. You see, the gram is working. I suppose we cannot really have that again. But I believe we could use the local school boards and the partnership of parents, teachers and the community to try to recreate the idea of community around the school. So when we talk about local school boards we are not just talking about an administrative convenience, we are talking about something that can have an effect on the moral, social, psychological and cultural life of the nation.
So, Mr. President, in looking at the question of restructuring and decentralization, we have had a lot of discussion about something that is called REDS. I really do not like the abbreviation; Regional Educational Districts—REDS. I mean, an old commie like me should like it but I do not. At any rate, they are