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By Adrian Cruce

Amish Education in Wisconsin

An Amish education is based upon the fundamental beliefs of the religion practiced by the community and requires a fundamental structure of structure and learning. An Amish school usually consists of eight years at a small one-room schoolhouse being administered by a teacher with only an eighth grade education himself. On the face of it, that seems like a woefully insufficient and unfair means to prepare young Amish kids for a typical adult life in the community, like presented on Amish schoolhouse, as successful members of society. But is it?

The fact is, that an Amish school can provide a great deal of benefits to your child through the ages, and that these benefits extend beyond the classroom. For instance, consider that the most successful teachers are not simply teachers. Rather, they are leaders and mentors who can take an active role in the lives of their students and shape those lives for the better through the preservation and sharing of the tradition handed down from generation to generation. In addition, an active and influential teacher can motivate other Amish individuals to become more involved in their communities.

Consider also that an active community school teacher has the opportunity to witness the effects of racism and sexism on other students and in his own classroom. The former becomes a vital resource for the latter. Further, the Old Order Amish schools encourage creativity and individuality above all else. This means that you may teach an important part of the curriculum, but if that curriculum merely reflects what you already know or does not include the contributions of other cultures, then that knowledge is truly dead – it has been absorbed into the Amish culture by the mere act of teaching. The Old Order Amish education system honors the individual’s right to be different and to pursue a religious path which may not be correlated with mainstream America. Thus, when a teacher such as this provides training to others in an all-important subject like religion, the impact is far reaching.

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In fact, I think it is pretty safe to say that any teacher who seeks to instruct young adults in anything other than the average public education system will find that they are quickly ousted from the position. This is because there are very few subjects on which the Old Order Amish schools can not teach their students. (In fact, the only subjects that the average public school cannot teach are those which the Amish sponsor themselves to teach.) Therefore, when the teacher attempts to teach another form of education, namely, the Christian way of life or some other non-ampersweet method, the teacher is likely to be quickly dismissed, just as Dr. Snopes would have us believe.

What is even more ironic is that the very opposite occurs with the Amish schools. Non-Christians, especially those from non-English speaking countries are welcome to teach in the Amish schools. Indeed, there is a thriving international curriculum with classes for each major religion available. Thus, if you are not a Christian, but wish to teach in an Amish school, your chances of being immediately dismissed are very low. On the other hand, if you are a Christian and wish to teach in an Amish school, you are sure to be welcomed and rewarded. Therefore, those who claim that there is no difference between the Amish schools and the public schools are simply misinformed and have obviously never taught one single non-Christian people in their life.

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The fact of the matter is that the Amish schools do much better than the public schools, both in terms of academic achievement and performance on the academic test scores that are provided by the Department of Education. Furthermore, during the last ten years or so, the number of black and Hispanic students in the Milwaukee public schools has increased dramatically. This has led many to believe that the racial integration of the amish communities in Wisconsin is nothing more than a myth. Therefore, while it is certainly true that there are no public schools in Wisconsin that allow non-Christians to attend, the fact of the matter is that the Wisconsin public schools are among the best in the nation, as far as academic achievement is concerned