I was visiting Gayle, who had this post on another movement by the Christian right decrying the decline of government schools (valid points) and advocating an exodus (wow, the shock or lack thereof (i.e., the homeschooling movement's roots)) from them. Standard conservative talking point, more or less, with the comment section reflecting thus.
Then I went over to see Satyavati's esoteric discussion of addiction and mental issues. A lot of things I already knew, and a couple of things that were new bits of info. But what I took out of it is that people tend to see people as groups of disabilities and mental issues rather than as people with specific issues to work around.
Then, of course, with education and my glorious days building up a reservoir of hate that should have turned me satanist while languishing in the misguided and inflexible bosom of a Catholic school that was where the reject teachers from the government schools ended up, I have a good insight into what a school can do wrong in trying to educate.
Oh, and then there's that youngling of mine that's sitting on the edge of the autistic spectrum. The funny thing is, he's so much like me that it makes me question his diagnosis, despite having viewed the same criteria and having come to the same conclusion.
Wow, that's a lot of exposition just to get to the point. So here's the bullet points:
- Christians bail because government schools suck.
- People tend to pigeonhole people into mental issues.
- My Catholic school years sucked.
- And my boy is autistic, but reminds me of me (and I'm not).
4. Control - Since the spawning of the travesty we call the Department of Education, the federal government has done more to standardize, equalize, and sanitize education in the country. And between teacher's unions (who became less a trade union (promotes excellence (good)) and more of a labor union (promotes workers (bad))) and the political composition of the educators that educate the teaching class. And the people who have lost control are the teachers on the ground, and the local school systems, as they are increasingly forced to teach a multitude of children at the same age and highly varying intelligences to just pass some test sent down by some bureaucrat who came up with a list of skills that children should "know" at a certain age; and the parents themselves lose most as they have been partially forced and strongly coerced by so much of our society to chuck their kids into the cookie cutter for 15-16 years (with preschool now). The answer is to reverse this asinine trend.
L. Conformity - A related point to the shift in control is that when you create templates based on simply how many years it's been since a kid plopped out of his mama, you ignore everything that makes an individual an individual individual. Instead, its the cookie cutter on Oxy-crack acid (Wow, what a high!!!)trying to churn out the most "equal" group of automatons ever pissed out of a hot dog factory (of the pre-standards days *bark*). Different speeds of learning are ignored (that was me), different ways (me), different foci (me, again). And while there will be a certain segment that will easily conform, and a small number that will excel regardless, there will be many that get their real education after spending years the hell away from the school system. I think my kids will probably learm more of history and science here at home from the TV (as I usually have History, Discovery, TLC, or NGC on the tube) than at school. And about thinking and politics, they're going to have years of their daddy's funny, relevant, and sometimes obscene blogs to read. And if you're worried about the words, they'd learn them in school anyway, or while listening to me while I listened to the Obama-McCain debates. So the answer is expanded choices and methods for education.
666. Morality - As differentiated from teaching religion, or prayer in schools, or any of the usual left-right screaming points, there used to be a time where there was an unwritten list of things that kids knew were wrong, and things they would generally NEVER do in school. Somewhere, we lost that, to the point where teachers, out of control of their jobs and forced to chuck the unformed mindmasses into government Jell-o molds are more focused on restraining chaos than inspiring children to learn. I think even those of you that count yourselves in the atheist camp wouldn't object to the non-God parts of the Ten commandments being applied, at least in principle if not in specific wording. While the focus on conformity is not good, there does have to be some teaching of basic civil morality; in how we relate to and respect one another, in how we preserve and defend our rights, and in how we respect and better ourselves.
*#@. Money - John Adams, in drafting the constitution for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, added a section that made it the purpose of the state government to promote the
betterment of all citizens through education, from a public education to higher learning. Sometime later, someone came to the conclusion that the best way to do this is to keep pouring money into the schools. And the results, if you look at education today, is that the more that is spent per child, the crappier their education will be. I'm just wondering why we have to keep creating new history books when all you need is a current events section. Why do you need new math books at all? And if you have well-behaved students that are focused on the task at hand, do you need armed guards and a fucking metal detector? And don't get me started on the costs of the college years. Just a thought: If a school system is spending $10,000 per student (nice round number), don't you think they could get the teacher/student ratio down to somewhere around 5-1 and cut the school day, school building, transportation, administration, school nurse, school lunch, and the football team (KIDDING!!!) and get a better education than they are now? Or just as well, those people who don't have children don't have to pony up to send kids to school who are just going to languish in the system long enough to get some tats, a gun, and the grapefruits to rob those people?
So here's where I leave it, until I get an inspiration to expand on the prior pointage. As usual I need to sleep, and I don't want to have to get a 4-year-old out of bed and on the bus in under 20 minutes (like I did Tuesday morning). So talk amongst yourselves.
- Extra Credit - I'd heard Neal Boortz talk a bout a book called "The Underground History of American Education." So in preparation for this post, I did some searching, and it appears the whole book is online. I've read just a little bit so far, but the points I've made definitely get covered in here. Plus it's a free read for cheap bastards. That's me!!!