Should schools teach your kids values?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by niuniu, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #1
    Was on the Visa forums this morning and a Russian guy had a Youtube video in his signature about children being taught about gay rights in America. The video has a bigoted title, but the documentary itself isn't.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16Ed1kb8B6U&feature=player_embedded

    I was personally fine with it. Even back when I was at school, in the early 90s, we had some awareness of equal rights. I think our generation really led the way with mainstream acceptance. But that was secondary school education, not primary school, and the reason I posted this was because about half way in, you see a kid misunderstand what it means to be open minded in part.

    The kid describes being open minded in the class in terms he can relate to, such as trying a vegetable. If you're open minded, you will try a new vegetable. That's what got me thinking. If I was teaching my kid, I'd be teaching him that being open minded is about acceptance amongst other things. Not about trying. I personally don't try every vegetable, or food. But I accept that other people may like other types of food. That's the analogy I'd want my kid informed with.

    These differences are subtle. But as a parent, you might take them seriously. What you reckon, are children too young to be educated on moral values? I was drilled with all sorts of religious beliefs at school every morning, but didn't mean I turned out religious. Same as kids now, just because they go to a school that informs them of gay rights, doesn't mean your kid will be gay if they don't want to be.
     
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #2
    Societies values should be taught in schools, including religion and social issues.
     
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #3
    I'm not sure there's ever a time when children are too young for moral education. Moral education is really a part of the growing up of every human child essentially from infancy. That doesn't mean children should be laden with guilt and self-hatred, but that's an error in the manner of teaching morals and not the concept of teaching morals.

    As for values in the schools, I guess I would ask, how it's possible to have children in school for 8 hours a day, for more than half a year, for more than a decade straight, and avoid any notion of values the whole time. There's hardly a waking moment outside of school when values do not enter into your life. I don't see how they can be kept out of school.

    I don't see why these parents are so scared... I mean, if gays are trulty so damaging to society, I'm sure their vile nature and their malevolent intentions will become clear to the children of these people in good time anyways.
     
  4. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #4
    This isn't about values. It's about information and helping kids understand other people, and it's very important. Kids need to know that even thought there may be people who are different form them, even people they may not like or agree with, that those people deserve the same rights and respect that they enjoy. Plus, any gay kids in the school need to feel they are worthwhile and valued. I would have loved it if this were possible when I was growing up. I would have not grown up thinking I was a bad person and hating myself, due to all the horrible things people would say. It took a lot to work through all that and get to a point where I love who I am. It's about time kids were informed on this issue.
     
  5. niuniu thread starter macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #5
    Yeah I think it's right to say you can't school anyone without values coming into it. Maybe a better question is to what extent should your kids be fed, and who chooses the content? Giving kids communion or taking kids on an equal rights celebration seems a bit heavy. You can teach them passively to treat each other equally without going all out.

    Are kids even aware that they're gay at such a young age? I don't remember anyone being gay until secondary school. I'm open to being convinced over time on the teaching them gay awareness at primary school issue, possibly, because it's real and may be something they call upon as they get older. But the religion thing I'm struggling with. You can teach kids a little Tai Chi in the mornings, give them a stretch and say some nice things about treating each other well, throw in some morality without the need for Gods that will burn you for all eternity if you don't eat his son's flesh. China for all it's problems does that nicely.
     
  6. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #6
    Schools should teach children proper social interaction. That includes, IMO, teaching them not to be mean to other people because they are a different race, gay, fat, tall, short, or are a different religion.

    Schools should NOT teach religion. Schools should teach the difference between right and wrong (in a social and legal context), but morals probably should be avoided as those are different from one religion to another.
     
  7. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    #7
    You seem to be assuming that acceptance and understanding will always be taught in schools. What if an extremely right wing government gets installed and children start being taught that gay people are evil and should be shunned and imprisoned? Or that there is no valid religion except Christianity? Would we still want moral values taught in schools then?
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #8
    No, I don't think that's what I'm assuming or saying. If we had a right-wing government (or a prevailing right wing public mentality), right-wing values would be taught in our schools. Some of them are now. I didn't say anything about what we "want" -- what I said is that I can't conceive of how a school can exist without it ending up teaching values of some kind to children.
     
  9. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #9
    I started elementary school in 1940; graduated from high school in 1951. There were some kids labelled "sissy" who were generally let alone. I don't recall any "gay" aspect to any conversation prior to around 7th or 8th grade. Kids mostly around 13 or 14 years old. The puberty thing, I guess.

    By and large, there was a lot of tolerance of differences. I was sort of a walking target for a while. I was a year younger, having skipped a grade; tall and skinny with glasses and I made straight As. I might as well been J. Cash's Boy Named Sue. :D I didn't like to fight, but I got pretty good at it. Once folks learned there wasn't any "quit" in me, all was well.

    So, one value I learned outside the home: Never quit.

    As far as values, I've always figured that kids oughta be raised to not lie, cheat nor steal. Leave other folks alone, except as to being polite and courteous--but always stand up for your own rights as long as you realize that your rights stop before the other guy's nose.

    Sure, be tolerant of others. Life is a two-way street; you want others to be tolerant of you.
     
  10. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #10
    Why? Religion is a big part of world culture.
     
  11. niuniu thread starter macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #11
    There are a lot of things that are a part of world culture that could be taught instead. Religion is divisive and controversial. Let them choose it as a secondary school subject along with history etc
     
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #12
    I don't know that you can really understand much of anything about human history without understanding the basic frameworks of past and present religions, though? There's a difference between making it a priority in education to understand how religious people view the world (in general and in specific cases) and serving children communion wafers. The latter, to me, is hardly necessary, but the absence of the former has perilous consequences for us as a world.
     
  13. niuniu thread starter macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #13
    Yep, if religion is taught in a purely historical context that would be great, like you say, it would be challenge to remove it from any education. In the UK at least, it still reeks of indoctrination - prayer and hymns are sang in the morning (worship) in many schools. We definitely have some dogma that goes unchallenged too, not because it's scientifically sound, but because the Bible said so.
     
  14. No1451 macrumors 6502

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    #14
    I don't think so, the curriculum should be pure facts untainted by opinion or conjecture. Teach kids the facts and let them take away from that what they will.

    @Mcrain: yes they absolutely should be taught ABOUT religion, it has played such a huge part in the development of our world that to leave it out is to deny them an important piece of the puzzle.
     
  15. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #15
    Well said, and I agree.
     
  16. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #16
    Small point, but I think an important one: the reality is your kid might be gay even if he doesn't want to be. Not wanting to be something you can't help being is a massive source of internal torment for a lot of people. To that extent schools have an obligation not to reinforce the cultural attitudes that generate that personal conflict.

    I have a little trouble with the language "teach your kids values." Short of tolerating child abuse, teaching kids values is almost exclusively the job of the parent, even in specific cases where I must express that conclusion through clenched teeth.

    The public school's role is to be more value-neutral. Their domain is not values, but behaviors. Any behavior that disrupts the educational process for any student should be subject to sanction. Unfortunately neutrality always looks like opposition to the motivated bigot, who reliably believes that to restrict him from abusing the target of his bigotry is to infringe on his rights. See the Virginia thread for a prime example.

    It's a two-way street. Homophobic kids should be strictly restrained from victimizing gay kids, but on the other hand openly gay kids should likewise be prevented from antagonizing the homophobic kids. Unfortunately this results in a gray area because the homophobic kids often feel antagonized by the fact that the gay kids simply exist, and vice versa. You can see the same dynamic in all sorts of racism and religious intolerance as well.

    The result is an unavoidable role for the school as cultural mediator, and school staff being human like anybody, it's easy if not inevitable for personal value judgments to creep in, resulting in sometimes legitimate charges of biased treatment, in either direction.

    In my most idealistic mode, I think the solution there is a system of impartial review and appeal that takes a maximally harmonious and effective educational experience as its guiding star, which accepts the cultural stumbling blocks as the normal state of affairs rather than an anomaly that can be eradicated. The other side, and the much harder one, is getting students and their parents to accept the educational goal as ultimate and to cooperate instead of falling immediately into the paranoid style when the school doesn't unequivocally take up their own side's banner. Sometimes the neutral path will mean telling Johnny not to flirt with Billy, or Billy not to recite Leviticus at Johnny, which may seem an unfair restriction on the self-expression of both at the time, but the kids aren't there to fight a culture war. They're there to get an education.
     
  17. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

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    #17
    Perhaps anything involving the nuances of any culture should be an elective course in secondary education. And priority in that last 4 years of school should focus on work ethics rather than personal ones--teach kids how to get and keep a job, consider a profession, begin learning a vocation, fine tune those basic communications skills, learn how to apply the arithmetic appropriately to their interests, develop good health, and learn not to be wasteful.

    It is fine to teach the history and civics, but better to save that for the electives. We are falling short on the production of efficient drones, we are trying too hard to produce artificial intellectuals resulting in the common attitude that everyone is special. Like it or not we need the drones, we need those that don't give a **** about the cultural history of a society, and more about the money. The biggest problem involves the concept of expecting everything for nothing and confusing rights for privileges.
     
  18. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #18
    True, that probably does happen in religious schools. I was thinking about looking at religion from a secular perspective.
     
  19. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #19
    The kids should be made aware of the world around them, there shouldn't be any moral value courses though, thats what parents are for.
     
  20. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

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    #20
    Meanwhile many of those parents are busy lobbying politicians to teach those morals in the school building rather than actually doing the job themselves. It's a twisted kind of laziness and logic when a parent puts twice the effort into bugging legislators than they would need to use just to talk to their own damn kids.
     

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