Does it make sense…
…to teach six different subjects a day, only devoting an hour at most to a topic?
…to divide school into segments and never relate the connection to each other?
…to interrupt work on the hour with bells, always quitting a task in the middle? No matter if you were in the middle of work, you have to stop and move on to the next subject.
…to teach almost entirely out of context? To learn almost exclusively from a book without really experiencing anything?
…to group kids into a class by age? Will kids ever grow up to work with people of exactly the same age as them? Have you ever lived a day outside of school where you only interacted with people of your own age?
…to measure everything on a scale of 0-100? Life doesn’t work that way. It isn’t bowling, where the best you can do is 300. Everything isn’t black and white.
…to require teachers to go through additional schooling to become certified? Is it not possible to learn something from someone who isn’t certified?
…to not teach kids how to cook? You can whine about how sugary drinks should be removed from schools and how cafeterias should have healthier options, but that won’t solve anything. You’re still teaching kids to be dependent.
…to attempt to develop interest in a subject by mandatory reading?
…to not teach initiative? That everything in school depends on the teacher assigning a project, task, or homework. To become dependent on being taught. If someone tells you exactly what to do every day, odds are they will eventually find someone to do it cheaper. But school conditions people to wait for someone else to tell them exactly what to do everyday. This is why we have a forever recession.
…to never show kids what it’s like in the real world? To never have them shadow different people in different industries.
…to measure knowledge with a multiple choice test? Professor Fredrick J. Kelly, inventor of the multiple choice test, rejected the use of the multiple choice test on mass scale, “This is a test of lower order thinking for the lower orders.”
…to measure the worth of a student based on grades or GPA? Most recent presidents and vice presidents have mediocre grades at best and there are enough dropouts who are millionaires to consider otherwise. No one has ever asked me for my GPA. If GPA matters, why aren’t teachers required to disclose their GPA to parents?
…to force memorization? Any fact can be found with a quick Google search. In high school I memorized Martin Luther King’s entire “I Have a Dream” speech to move my grade from a “B” to an “A.” Was that a good use of time? I can’t recite the first paragraph of that speech now.
Before I go further, don’t confuse school with education. The purpose of school, for most parents, is to provide an education. That is rarely the result.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe the result of school is an education.
The best definition that I’ve read of what education is, comes from John Taylor Gatto:
Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important: how to live and how to die.
The problem with school is that it doesn’t make sense. If things don’t get better, they get worse. School isn’t getting better. It’s not an issue just concerning funding, classroom size, or updated textbooks. It’s a system whose purpose isn’t education.
If the purpose of school is to create an individual who is prepared for the challenges of life, confident in their ability to provide value to others, and eager to continue educating themselves, nothing about school makes sense.
If the purpose of school is to create compliant workers who are easy to manage, don’t take initiative, are dependent on others to tell them what to do next, then school makes perfect sense and the system is doing a fantastic job.
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