Wednesday, April 21, 2010

School is bad for kids - it is time for new ideas

The Today Show on NBC is missing an important story that they constantly fail to see. This happened 3 times in the 7-8 am slot yesterday and then again today.

Yesterday they discussed kid's texting behavior, the killing of a school principal, and 2 kids being burned or otherwise badly harmed in Florida by kids at their school. Today they reported on a teen suicide caused by bullying at a school in Massachusetts.

The real story here is that the school experience is getting worse all the time and that the government wants to fix it by more testing rather than by realizing that school itself is a failed idea. Kids have no business being shut up in a world of hundreds of other kids whom they don't know. They don't learn much because they are way more concerned with the social standards that have been set by other kids, and they spend most of their time worrying about being accepted, liked, or being in with the "in crowd."

It is time to understand that school is a very bad idea. We are smart enough to be able to figure out a replacement for school that does not endanger children and actually helps them learn skills that will matter to them later in life.

Let's start that dialogue. Let's stop allowing others to torture our children.


  1. John HOLT once stated that if aliens wanted to destroy mankind all they had to do is install our school-system. It's been 30 years and we can see that the "aliens" have been victorious. School is an absurdity and if we are to believe John Taylor GATTO (cf Dumbing us down) the system has been installed on purpose in order to handical children's minds and to produce little robots for the factory. Alvin TOFFLER called it the school factory with the primary goals of punctuality, discipline and the ability to obey commands without thinking. GATTO shows, that it is the systems the Prussions (in my country, sad to say) had first develop to "make" good soldiers and then used to "make" good law-abilding citizens in the newly enlargened cities. Then Americans copied it, consciously killing the excellent ways the protestants hat developed, producing very able curious readers into what we know now: consumers, passively "consuming" everything incl. "media"...
    School allowed only enough "reading" for workers to sort boxes, some of which are to go to San Francisco vs. New York, but not enough reading ability to read books which make you think.
    It has taken me 55 years of research and 40 years of doing workshops and publishing to have developed a number of techniques, "tricks", non-learning learning strategies etc. (against those dumbing-mechanisms) and to have found: The number of teachers interested is less than 25%, parents have "delegated" education which is now to be "consumed" by their children. They are more concerned with work-problems and even students older than 12 are so used to the prison-routine of unthinking "schoolwork" that it's even difficult to get them out of their deadening daily routines.
    GATTO also said to throw out all people who do not teach, because their job is to PREVENT learning. We could change teachers much mor easily if the system would not punish attempts at freeing the mind of the children.
    The situation is serious and every person, who can fight against this inhuman system which makes victims out of kids and then pronounces them guilty because supposedly their de-motivatin is the CAUSE when, all along, it has been the RESULT of the system. Education needs to be privatized so that measurable success will become the yardstick of what is possible. Some few examples of "new" methods have shown time and again what is POSSIBLE if enough adults will accept responsibility toward the future generations of our society. So, what can you do?

    1. Research and find out what IS possible!
    2. Go tell it on the "mountain" (talk about it constantly)
    3. Blog about it
    4. Go into Talk-Shows (regional) and talk about it

    As a PARENTS:
    1. play learning games at home
    2. go and FIND OUT about things together
    3. read the autobiographical books of Richard FEYNMAN (nobel laureate physic) and understand his idea of learning that his FATHER taught him.
    4. read John Taylor GATTO and make sure your kid(s) have plenty of time/opportunity to GROW UP.

    As a TEACHER:
    Think about your role in this crazy system. If you are afraid to change things, find another job. Everybody who willingly sustains this sick system is guilty of creating mentally handycapped future citizens! Go into education of adults (ebening schools, company-intern seminars etc.) where many things have already changed and where no one will try to force you to do things which will hurt your paying customers! Some teachers have returned to schools afterwards, looking for schools which have begun the necessary process of REFORMATION.

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  3. Thank you for validating my choice not to send my child to a facility I also consider an instrument of torture. Although many people close their ears when we speak this truth, it is important to continue to do so. I also appreciate your reminder that humans are smart enough to develop better systems to nurture our children and create a future worth living. It is often difficult to keep our focus on people's potential for creativity and innovation when facing institutional inertia on a daily basis. Thanks again for your thoughts.

  4. These situations are sad indeed. My concern is whether "we" are indeed smart enough to do what needs to be done. It seems that many of "us" do not want to change, to expand our points of view, but would rather stay entrenched in our biases and old thinking patterns. And then how do we start the dialogue? How can we enlarge the diaglogue to engage people so that they can and will join the conversation? How do we avoid the talk show "sound byte discussions" and generate real and valid arguments and dialogue?

  5. I agree with you that school is a bad idea. I'm currently in grad school now, and looking back to just a few years ago, I realize that out of my 12 years of education, basically all but the last 2 years or so were essentially wasted.

    I saw you at the CGIU conference just 2 weeks ago, in that first education session, and though I'm not sure I agreed with your mode of delivering your message, I agreed with its content. I feel the schools are bad places both in terms of education as well as morally.

    I was wondering what you think of homeschooling and socializing kids. What kinds of activities or venues would you recommend for parents who want to raise kids who are able to function well in society with all groups of people?

  6. I understand that traditional school may not be an optimal educational situation.

    I just wanted to point out that the social world of a school actually _can_ be a valuable experience for life. Meeting friends they might not met otherwise, learning how social factors works in practice and so on.

    However, it might not be a good thing in all cases, it doesn't work for every one with problems like bullying etc. And as you say it does not necessarily help teaching and learning.