Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Cluelessness Crisis

I came across two very interesting articles from National Catholic Register. They are part of a series on education in the United States.

The Cluelessness Crisis Part 1: The 5 Essentials of Education

"Today, many simple jobs require university or college education, and increasingly young people are not ready to set out on their own, start a family or begin a career until they are 24 or 25. Among the university-educated, it is not uncommon to find people in their 30s who are still unmarried, childless and waiting to “start” their lives.

Most people tacitly assume that the proliferation of formal education is a sign of social advance. Democratic theorists have always agreed that a working democracy requires an educated adult population, which is why the universal franchise and universal schooling appear at a similar time in the writings of social philosophers. It is less than useless, however, to have a heavily schooled population if students emerge from 13 or more years of school without an education."

Company Kids: The Cluelessness Crisis Part 2

"Prior to large-scale public schooling in America, there were community schools.

These were funded and built by the communities that they served; the teachers had to meet the approval of the parents whose children were placed in their care, and parents were free to remove their children from school at any time. There were also the parochial schools, governed by churches and under the authority of the local bishops. Fortunate parents are still able to send their children to such institutions today.

The shift from the community school to the government school board involved a massive campaign — one that received most of its funding and impetus from wealthy men, such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. This took place at the beginning of the 20th century, during a time when rampant scientific optimism promised an earthly utopia based on scientific reasoning and social engineering.

Utopian thinkers from Plato onward have seen schooling as a necessary foundation for their dreams of social reconstruction. They have, nearly without exception, also agreed on several dubious premises: that most people cannot be trained to be good unless they are lied to and deliberately misinformed, that the breakdown of children into intellectual or social classes is necessary to a smoothly functioning society, and that the good of the individual ought to be subordinated to the good of the state. People are seen as fulfilling a social function rather than as complete persons."

John Taylor Gatto has been saying exactly the same for years. The only exception is the author of these articles has forgotten the other educational alternative: homeschooling. I would hope she includes this option in her future articles.

Public schooling is not designed to form an educated populace; it is designed to bring those children under the control of their local district, which is a branch of government. I've had people accuse me of engaging in separatism, due to our homeschooling. Yes, I don't want my child to learn the way her peers are learning. I want her to be an educated individual who is able to think for herself and outside the box. Don't all children deserve to learn?

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