A traditional Amish parochial school consists of a one story building that can house children from 1st through 8th grade in one room. Usually children are split into two sections of the room depending on grade level. A regular day school starts at 8:30 am with a morning prayer, however religion is not directly taught in Amish schools, the church merely influences the school. After the morning prayer, the students and the teacher prepare for the day’s lesson and he or she may read aloud to the class.
The teachers are usually women between the ages of 18 and 22 years old, and she will also have only an 8th grade education. She is expected to have knowledge of all the subjects that she must teach. Subjects that the students learn are English, German, grammar, mathematics, and geography; the Amish refrain from teaching sex ed or science. At the end of a school day the students return home at 3:00 pm and they are rarely assigned homework.
Goals of an Education
During the 1950’s the Amish communities faced persecution in the U.S. for their view on education. The highest level of education is 8th grade and this contrasted with the U.S. law that a child must attend school until 15. In court, the Amish parents deemed that the state law violated their first amendment right to exercise their religion because their children are forced to go to school when it is deemed unnecessary for their way of life, and endangered their salvation. The Supreme court ruled in favor of the Amish education system in 1972 in the case Wisconsin v. Yoder.
For post-schooling, Amish men usually go back to work at the farm or gain apprenticeship as tradesmen. For Amish women, they are expected to go back to their mothers to work on housekeeping.
How do Amish schools compare to U.S. public schools
For public schools, the priority is educating most children for a future of attending college and getting a job. Unlike public schools, the Amish parochial schools provide children with the education they will need to prosper in an agricultural setting and do business with non-Amish people. Another difference is the subjects available, public schools teach a variety of subjects including science, sex ed, and arts, along with many other options. While the Amish refrain from the arts and subjects that cannot be applied to everyday, practical life.
A similarity between both types of schooling is that they prepare children for the future that their society believes is fulfilling. Some people may look down on their education system but they are sufficient without higher education because they provide for themselves. The Amish grow their own food, educate their children and support their elderly, all without government aid. Instead of taking pity on their way of life, one should look at how efficient and prosperous the Amish community is on their own and respect that.
- “Amish Education.” The Amish Village. Accessed May 09, 2017. http://www.amishvillage.com/amish-education/.
- “Amish Schools: education on a separate system.” Amish Heartland. Accessed May 09, 2017. http://www.amish-heartland.com/amish%20culture/2011/08/01/amish-schools-education-on-a-separate-system.
- “A Look At Amish Education.” Exploring Amish Country. Accessed May 09, 2017. http://www.exploring-amish-country.com/amish-education.html.
- “Education.” Amish America. Accessed May 09, 2017. http://amishamerica.com/education/.