Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Students on Wall Street

It is funny to me how often the wheel is reinvented, especially in education.

In an effort to undo the last 50 years of poor educational practices, society is turning again to the family's role to look for ideas. Take a look at this example from the blog post "Securitizing Teens":
What’s the best way to pay teachers based on performance? One Planet Money listener suggests tying teacher pay to their students’ future earnings, turning the students into “investments.” The scheme is reminiscent of Monetizing Emma, a play that recently ran in New York, about a future when Wall Street traders invest in smart schoolkids in return for a substantial share of their future earnings. Naturally, in this system, some children would be seen as “too bright to fail.”
Students are an investment, no quotation marks needed. But parents used to be recognized as the primary investors. They didn't do it to get their children's future earnings, although they did hope their children would care for them in their old age. They did it in relationship, with more at stake than X dollars in Y years.

You parents know how much you still invest in your children's education: time, money, career, sweat, tears, space, carpet cleaner...the list could go on.

What the institutions don't understand is that, at least for Christian parents, our return on investment is not based on our children's income. It's much bigger than that. When we invest in our children's lives (and their education in the process), our final shares are in the Kingdom:
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."
That's why, unlike purely financial investors, we're okay when we have a bad day, and our students fail, and we fail. We know God trusts us to raise tiny babies into eternal heirs reigning with His Son, and we know He will not abandon us to complete the task alone.

So we can giggle with our investments over past and future mistakes, and then sit back down and try again.

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