Always Too Little, Too Late: The Plight of Modern Education

Education1-200x300 Always Too Little, Too Late: The Plight of Modern Education

“If the child is not given a moral formation, anything the school offers is often too little, too late.”

The real education of the child begins very early in the child’s development. New research is finding that firm foundations set early are the best guarantee that children will experience success later in life.

Liberal educators really do not want to hear such truths. They would prefer to parrot over and over again the mantras of modern education. These include the idea that the mere application of teaching methods will resolve all problems in learning. More government programs are all that is needed to make sure no child is left behind. A common core of learned information will ensure child will be career and college ready.

However, such mantras have consistently failed to understand the nature of the child. This mechanistic approach to education that stresses method over character does not deliver good results. It is not only what is taught, but how the child is prepared for the lessons of life that makes a difference. If the child is not given this essential moral formation early in life, anything the school can offer is often too little, too late.

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It used to be that only religious leaders and educators insisted upon a strong moral formation early in life. The scientific establishment now is adding its voice. As the understanding of the human mind expands, scientists are finding that the child’s development begins at ever-earlier ages.

“Virtually every aspect of human development,” affirms a major study by the National Academy of Sciences, “from the brain’s evolving circuitry to the child’s capacity for empathy, is affected by the environments and experiences that are encountered in a cumulative fashion, beginning in the prenatal period and extending throughout the early childhood years.”

The child’s first school is not kindergarten but begins in the womb and later is found in the experience and interaction with the infant environment. The young child’s brain is biologically set up to absorb influences from surroundings. The child is especially attuned to connecting with mature adults found especially in parents. Early neuro-biological development associated with the child’s ability to absorb influences is foundational and powerfully influences later life.

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These skills are also extremely agile early in childhood, which facilitates the learning process enormously. As the child ages, however, such abilities lessen and the brain finds it more difficult to change. It would make sense to facilitate the child’s development early in life since it is much more efficient and cost-effective than in later years.

Of course, the logical conclusion of such findings should lead educators to try to visualize the ideal conditions under which the very young child can capitalize on this amazing aptitude to learn. It would indeed be much easier to start early than arrive late in the education process.



It does not take a rocket scientist or a neuroscientist to come to the obvious conclusion that the traditional family is the ideal and most natural institution that fosters the best possible development of the child. The family provides the earliest possible instruction and surroundings that favor the proper formation of the infant and later the child. The father and mother are the perfect caring adults for interaction with the child to aid in the proper development of the child’s brain and thinking processes.

The perfect educational program should be the greatest possible promotion of the family, especially as found in the Christian family. Such a program would buttress the high standards of morality that keep families together. There should be a general discouragement and condemnation of immorality, promiscuity and perversity that are harmful to the formation of healthy families. Teachers should support the protection of the womb, that first “kindergarten” that is threatened by abortion. In this way, children will already enter schools with the best possible elements for a good education. They will leave predisposed to form their own families oriented toward the good of their children and not personal gratification.

Until this is done, the education establishment is doomed to provide too little, too late. Modern educators will address at great cost to the taxpayer only the effects of broken families and shattered lives. There is neither program nor budget sufficient to deal with this crisis since they will never look at the causes.

They will not dare look at the cause because such a courageous attitude would entail fighting against the predominate culture that glorifies violence, sexuality and immorality. Not even science, long idolized by the education establishment, is enough to convince them to change. Indeed, the growing evidence is there for all who want to see. The problem is that so many do not want to see…

  • Cole

    Interesting read, but I feel like the focus of this should be on the family providing this education, not the education establishment. The education establishment should be there to support and supplement the family learning environment. It does seem like in someways it is serving to bring it down. But in a lot of cases, the family environment is broken, and kids are not given that foundation upon which they can learn.

  • truth shall prevail

    Thank you Mr. Horvath for voicing the truth.

    Christian culture has long recognized that it does not take a rocket scientist or a neuroscientist to come to the obvious conclusion that the traditional family is the ideal and most natural institution that fosters the best possible development of the child… and now science now also affirms the above:
    (“Virtually every aspect of human development,” affirms a major study by the National Academy of Sciences, “from the brain’s evolving circuitry to the child’s capacity for empathy, is affected by the environments and experiences that are encountered in a cumulative fashion, beginning in the prenatal period and extending throughout the early childhood years.” )

    and yes: “The perfect educational program should be the greatest possible promotion of the family, especially as found in the Christian family. Such a program would buttress the high standards of morality that keep families together. There should be a general discouragement and condemnation of immorality, promiscuity and perversity that are harmful to the formation of healthy families… and – all through history – children who learn self-discipline, delayed gratification are the ONLY ones who are capable of constructive and mighty achievements for mankind.

    This is why we must push back the new PC demands by organisations for “freedom from religion” and expose for the evil lies they promote.

  • Fernanda

    You would find the educational principles of Maria Montessori very relevant here. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (see cgsusa.org) is the Montessori based application for religious education of children. More and more parishes are offering it. I see this methodology as offering hope for children right now who come from broken and dysfunctional families to get a taste of a more orderly communal life rooted in Catholic liturgy, Scripture, and meaningful work. As messed up as many families are, some of them still insist on sending their children to religious education classes in order to get initiation sacraments, so there is a real opportunity for parishes to reach these families and their children this way.