Why School is Bad for Kids
by Rachel Grobstein
The following Op/Ed article appeared in the December, 1999 issue of The Spoke, the student newspaper of Conestoga High School in Berwyn Pennsylvania, and appears here by permission of Rachel Grobstein, who was a sophomore and Spoke Art Editor when the article appeared. The article orginally appeared both in print andon-line
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Once upon a time a child is born who, after spending many days blissfully watching how his fingers move and poking at the cat, enters the first year of what will be the focus of the next decade of his life: school.
And so, as he embarks upon his educational career, he learns many things.
First of all, he’s taught that there’s a difference between learning and living – as if learning is here in the school building, and living is outside, and there’s no correlation between the two.
As if what he did for the first five years of his life – like discovering language – wasn’t learning at all.
He learn that to be confused or wrong is a crime. The school wants Right Answers, and he learns countless ways to con the teacher into thinking he knows something he doesn’t; he learns to bluff and cheat.
He also learns to be lazy. Before school began he worked for hours and hours, with no thought of reward, to make sense of the world. But in school he learns that no one does anything they don’t have to and he learns to be bored.
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Because essentially, however grading may be justified or supplemented with explanations, it shows the student that what counts in the end is not whether he has learned the material and will apply it or use it to enrich his life, but that a high number will get him into a good college.
How do you truly measure what someone knows? In the words of Holt: “Let the child learn what every educated person must someday learn, how to measure his own understanding.”
What, after all, is the goal of education? Making honor role? Or making sense of the world?
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Silly writer! (Like the Trix commercial. Silly rabbit, Trix re for kids.) “Education” is for the teacher’s union and their politicians.
It has NOTHING to do with educating anyone. It’s sole purpose is to create a dumbed down population suitable to being led by the elite. (Where do the politicians send THEIR kids? The Kennedys, Kerrys, Bushes, and Obamas? Not to YOUR school! Last one to do that was Jimmy Carter and look where Amy is; as opposed to Carolyn Kennedy!)
No, the American education paradigm was Horace Mann lifting the Prussian model to create good soldiers (i.e., cannon fodder) and factory workers (i.e., “human resources”) that could be easily led “by their betters”. Argh!
In case anyone hasn’t noticed. It ain’t the 1800’s. We don’t need no “factory workers”. Never “needed” cannon fodder, but that’s another discussion.
The world has changed so why are we using an “education model” from the last century?
Simple. There is an incestuous relationship between politicians and the teachers’ union. Together they like the current system just fine. The Union gets fatter and the politicians keep getting reelected. Round and round it goes. Decade after decade.
Where does it stop?
When the parasite kills the host, of course. And, “we” are almost there.
In NJ for example, property taxes that fund the “education industry” are at the breaking point. In NJ, after being amused and trained from ages 3 to 22, functional illiterates pop out of the “daycare” (aka, public school system) and can’t find jobs.
Doesn’t anyone notice that this generation will be the first generation that will be worse off than their parents? (I’d say than their great grandparents. At least, those folks could grow their own food.) Does anyone see the key factor that Diamond points out as one of the factors in societal collapse? Have with our “education” system literally “sawed down the the last tree on Easter Island”?
We have a large population of “idiots” running around unemployable and thinking they actually know something. Ask them to make change or list to them attempt to articulate their frustration by writing something. Anything? Read their “totem poles” on MySpace, Facebook, or blogs. It’s sad.
They have been deluded into think that they are actually thinking.
So, one can’t just kvetch. One has to offer solutions.
(1) Stop paying for the “education” of others. Parents had ’em. They should pay to educate them. Sorry, but the only way to get a better educated population is to put the people in charge who will really care that it gets done. When people spend their own money, it is truly amazing how demanding they become.
(2) Parents need to realize that they and their children are being defrauded by “public education”. They need to be Hercules cleaning the Aegean stable getting what their children need to succeed.
(3) Children need to wise up that they are getting screwed. Instead of a tattoo, they need to “educate” themselves. And not about American Idol. or what the latest Hollywood harlot is doing. They need to learn that when ANY politician’s lips move, they are lying. And, they need to seek to educate themselves for the hard times ahead.
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