Saturday, April 12, 2008

Kids Are Smart; School Is Stupid

Luz and I subscribe to Life Learning Magazine, edited by Wendy Priesnitz. In her article, Challenging Assumptions In Education, she gives many reasons why public school is bad. In the Introduction, she tells us, "Schooling impedes learning and enslaves children." (how's that for starters...?)

She then lists several false assumptions that are made about government schools.
The main false assumptions she lists are these five:
1. Education is something that's done to you.
2. Knowledge belongs to a cult of experts (teachers); therefore, schools teach us to be emotionally and intellectually dependent, not independent or self-assured.
3. Others know best what children should learn. (Here, Priesnitz quotes Einstein: "It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.")
She adds another false assumption schools teach: Others know better than we do how we should spend our time. She recommends this: education must be organized around learning rather than around teaching.
4. Schools provide effective training. Simply not true; the experience is totally synthetic/artificial.
5. Schools have a noble purpose...such as, social justice, tolerance, democracy, equal opportunity, etc.

Priesnitz states: "The chief function of state-run education has never been to empower citizens...the purpose of schools has been, at its most benign, to imprint a social script or, at it worst, to achieve mass social control."

I have a few more ideas for the list:
* Public schools operate for the benefit of their employees, not the children or their families or society. The rules are made by the teacher unions; therefore, the schools need children; not the reverse.
* School does not prepare us for life, but only for more school. It is a culture unto itself.
* Schools operate on the principle that says, children's experiences, opinions, interests, and thoughts are of no value.
* Schools also try to convince us that parents are not capable of providing adequate instruction for their own children, even in basic skills.
* A resident of my town, Armand Fusco, a former superintendent of two districts, is author of the book, "School Corruption, Betrayal of Children and the Public Trust". In it, he says, "...Public school is a culture of corruption and deceit." The more I learn, the more I agree with him.


Sheri said...

And the more time I spend with my children in the real world, the more I agree too.

Public school benefits the administrators and those whose jobs depend on it, children's needs are at best secondary...if not further down on the list.

Thank you for your blog.

A Bishops Wife said...

I have never been more pleased with the education my kids have recieved, than when we began to home school. I was actually sick from the grief I was getting from the public school system.

When they began to pressure me about "Getting them on medicine", I took them to the doctor. He said nothing was wrong with them and I should home school them, as he and his wife did their children. He even called me at home himself to talk about it.

It took a year to follow his advice but we have now been home schooling since October of 2007.
My kids can do basic math now. They were in 4th grade and could not add or subtract. They had no independent study skills. Now they do!

I love this blog. Keep writing!

christinemm said...

Did you see this? You'd have something to say about it, I'm sure.

My father was over the other day and brought me a newspaper clipping he thought I'd like to see. It was a letter you wrote to the editor. LOL. I said, "I know Ned!" My father liked the piece too. It was titled something like Dept of Ed Dumbs Down the Education

Ned Vare said...

Yes, that was a letter I sent to the New Haven Register, published about April 5. It was in reference to their article about how the public schools cost the state many jobs as people leave the state for better schools and lower taxes elsewhere. Here's my letter:

To the editor:

Yes, the failing schools are responsible for CT's brain drain. Dumbing Down is not just a catchy phrase; it is the state policy, and it has come home to roost. Our children are not being educated by the public schools, and thus they are not being prepared for productive lives. Meanwhile, taxes are being raised while jobs are being lost to places with better education and lower taxes.

Despite claims from the CSDE (CT State Dep of Ed), Connecticut's public schools (including the so-called "good" schools) fail in every catagory. Just go to the website of the Fordham Foundation that grades the schools of every state. There you will find that CT's school system is among (if not) the worst in the country for basic skills of math and reading -- the foundations for all other learning.

This big betrayal of our state originates at the top. The CSDE is responsible for the poor quality of the programs and low ability of the teachers and administrators who work in the system. Therefore, the schools cannot improve by themselves because they are designed to fail. The other source of the disaster is the teacher unions that suck the academic life out of the schools by constantly seeking more money for less work for all employees.

We cannot expect the school system to improve because it is staffed -- from bottom to top -- with people so incompetent that they do not even notice their own failure, but for decades, they have called what they do, "successful."

It is no coincidence that homeschooling is growing in CT and in all other states. The schools are not educating; the parents are.

Thank you,
Ned Vare

Traceytreasure said...

I have to say that I love your blog! The first thing I learned in the Public School system is to cuss. Then came drugs, alcohol and sex. Yeah, I'm homeschooling my kids because I want them to learn the important things like Reading, Writing, Math, Science, History, Language Arts, Music, Sports, Art Etc. etc. I appreciate you and your blog! I added you to my favorites! Thanks!

Ruth D. said...

I would suggest that everyone on this blog watch the John Stossel piece on Stupid in America on our public schools. John is a conservative who advocates for school choice-- which is standard in all the countries who surpass us in every subject-- including developing nations!!! Someone ought to start a website to get our federal government to "deregulate" the public schools!! Email me if you'd like to see my daughters one and only assignment from 8th grade this year in history-- see if you don't agree that her teacher is on crack!! valueachild at gmail dot com.

cerena daft said...

I'm 15 and currently in 10th grade and school has just made my life hell. I've only started last week, but I have already become depressed and suicidal. It feels like prison and nobody around me seems to understand, so I'm glad that there are people somewhere who agree that school is torture and are letting the world know.

I find school unnecessary because I can get all the knowledge I want from people around me and the internet and places that are much warmer than the cinder block, window-less, sterile school I currently attend.

Bob said...

I am 12 and in 7th grade and I homeschool. I have been in public schools too and I think homeschooling is better than public school.

However, homeschooling is still making me feel depressed like public school. I don't care about the exports of Venezuela, nor do I care about the differences between Doric and Ionic columns. I like history, but I rarely get to study that-instead I get geography.

I was browsing the Web one day to see if anyone else felt like me, and I found this:

I'ts good and I like the ideas a lot.