Friday, June 25, 2010

The Case Against School

 Being unschooled is not the same as being uneducated.
By the time I finally retired in 1991, 1 had more than enough reason to think of our schools – with their long-term, cell-block-style, forced confinement of both students and teachers – as virtual factories of childishness. Yet I honestly could not see why they had to be that way. My own experience had revealed to me what many other teachers must learn along the way, too, yet keep to themselves for fear of reprisal: if we wanted to we could easily and inexpensively jettison the old, stupid structures and help kids take an education rather than merely receive a schooling. We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight – simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids to truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then.


Share

4 comments:

Coffee Catholic said...

This is exactly why we are homeschooling. The world will be our classroom ~ not a suffocating indoor cage full of desks.

Julygirl said...

Something is definitely wrong. Our young people are angry, frustrated and become disenfranchised from the rest of society. Many also suffer abuse of various forms, and not only from other students. A couple of my children took years to overcome their negative school experiences.

When I was in school I thought of it as a fun place to go to be with friends and learn interesting things along the way. Even though more money has been poured in, the quality has gone down. Federal Government efforts to improve the situation have failed, and I personally do not feel the Feds should play such an important role.

School systems are top-heavy with administrators whose salaries suck up resources. Also some teachers view it as a vocation, others as a job.

Home Schooling has become an answer for some families, but it is limited in many respects.

Donald said...

You are so right about schools. I just started reading a book by John Taylor Gatto (Weapons of Mass Instruction), who says the same as you do here.

I (a middle school teacher) have long realized the need for radical restructuring of schools, but the establishment, and all the "experts in the field" that I'm aware of, don't have much of a plan for this. There are hints and ideas here and there, but nothing on the scale which is needed to bring about substantive change and improvement.

Donald said...

Oops...I now see that the article you refer to is itself by Gatto. :)