Who Says… It Takes Twelve Years?

Part of the series Who says…
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2014-12-08.

A good education should not be measured by the time spent in school but by what has been learned.

Building on a foundation that God is, that He created the universe and that He ultimately is responsible for our children’s being, should provide ample substance upon which to build our faith. This lengthy series will identify the secular thinking that has eroded that faith.

Bible Reference: 2 Tim. 2:15

In spite of the fact that I have spent my entire life in “school”, either as a student, teacher or administrator, I have always been perplexed by this question. There is obviously no scriptural reference we can cite to help us, yet every school, regardless of the philosophical or methodological foundation, has adopted twelve years as the length of time it takes to gain a basic academic education, whatever that means!

What has been accepted as normal, was not always this way. When schools first started, they were mostly attached to the church and involved learning to read using the scriptures on Sunday before the service, which eventually evolved to become modern day Sunday school. When the Jesuits created formal schools during the reformation, they would take post puberty, illiterate children and bring them to university, college or seminary in under three years. What makes this even more incredible in light of modern day “grade school” was that these students were taught to read and write, not just their native language but Latin, Hebrew and Greek as well. In addition to this, they were also taught literature, mathematics, logic, philosophy and more, before advancing to “post-secondary” specialization, all at a level that we would probably consider university graduate work today!

We do not have to go back that far to see that a twelve year basic training was not always the expectation. A hundred and fifty years ago, a student could learn to read at sixteen and still be a lawyer by twenty. In fact, it was not until the establishment of the compulsory schools that a time frame was established for learning the basics. At first it was only a few years. By the mid-twentieth century, a level 8 education was considered very high. I am personally in possession of a Junior High School Diploma, a certificate that entitled me to go to work as I had attained an acceptable level of basic training at grade 9. I chose to continue my education but several of my peers went on to farm, work or business after reaching this level.

So, who says that we need twelve years before we are considered sufficiently trained to go out into the world? I suspect that there may be two reasons and increased time for more rigorous academics is obviously not one of the reasons! Most likely, modern day, publicly trained parents accept and appreciate the baby sitting service provided by the institution who allows parents to pursue careers and other “meaningful” activities while the school works in the lives of the children to establish man as his own god. The second reason is the longer the time provided, the more effective the indoctrination, not to mention the fact that each year a child attends school results in substantial income for that school. Home educators take note. It does not take twelve years to get a good education, nor does it require six hours a day. Prepare your children to learn about the realities of life as life progresses. The basics are, after all just the basics, but it takes a lifetime to learn what life has to offer.

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