Dave Scotese — The compulsory public schooling system of educating children has been open to criticism for years. Delinquency, crime, and failure to develop intellectually are way too obvious companions of this system of education to call it satisfactory. Hence the question: what does our current schooling system make of a child?
Public school homogenizes students so that they are more alike. It pasteurizes them so that they lack all the elements that endanger an authority structure. It classifies them, generally into a failure track, a middle track, and an elite track. These tracks are more representative of pliability than actual ability, so that the least pliable students, regardless of their innate wits, motivation, and creativity, will get onto the failure track, hate school, and generally leave it to become “criminals”. Often, these dropouts start off with pretty good morals, not generally violating other people until they recognize that their moral behavior doesn’t benefit them when they get caught for victimless “crime” like possession or sale of marijuana.
The most pliable students will be molded into tomorrow’s leaders, given perks (see my discussion of the Student Body Association here), and generally held up as a good example for others to follow. The middle track is for those not extreme enough to be useful in the sick game. While this is a very cynical description of what our public school system has turned into, it is a natural result of the goals handed down to local school boards by intelligent men who wished to control society. In her book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt chronicles the development of this horror.
The important question many have been debating in various forums is that of the biggest problem with this kind of education system. The answer, to be concise, is the degradation of the natural human tendency to explore and learn. A close second is the degradation of relationships within a family. Many students see their parents less than they see the teachers at their school. That is one reason why an increasing number of people are now opting for homeschooling. Homeschooling is a better option, though it maintains the paradigm that human beings learn best when they are taught. On the contrary, human beings learn better when they are not taught, until and unless they explicitly request a lesson in something, as children do when they respond to every answer with “Why?” In his many books, John Holt has explained these characteristics of the learning human being.
All kinds of schooling tend to replace the innate motivation to learn with an expectation of being spoon-fed knowledge and the rebellion that naturally follows being forced to go at a speed and in a direction other than one’s own. Spoon-feeding results in weaker jaws and poor coordination. It also atrophies the learner’s innate tendency to seek the knowledge that will most improve his life, or, to extend the analogy, it atrophies the tendency to choose the foods that contain the most needed nutrients.
Now imagine a situation where a child’s parents or guardians decide not to educate their kid via formal schooling but train them in a profession while allowing them general knowledge and essentials of social life and interaction in society. A child in that situation is blessed with a foundation for knowledge. Whatever the profession, it exists because other people are willing to work in order to be served by that profession. This is generally the reason parents train their child to help – to maximize their value to their community. This is a solid foundation. Parents in America have been taught to delay the maturation of their children. Suze Orman has explained the dangers of an allowance that requires nothing but the normal responsibilities of living. They should be watching their parents undertake enjoyable work, earn from it, and then enjoy the rewards, and thus be inspired to identify and pursue their own enjoyable work.
This begs for an alternative policy to this compulsory schooling which is sorting humans into strata that produce class struggle and unfulfilled lives. Rather than have a policy in order to control the education of children, however, it would be best for society to respect parents and expect and trust them to raise their own children. Certainly, there will be bad parents who fail in this responsibility. Whether or not school does any good in such cases is very questionable. Such a large portion of society spends several hours a day with the children and the parents separated from each other that there’s no way to determine how much stronger family bonds would be if they were left intact through the school years. Upon reflection, most people realize that a lot of their youth was spent struggling either in cooperation or rebellion with school instead of bonding with friends and family. What have we missed? We have no way of knowing.