Education was a recurring theme for me for awhile. I took the liberty of collecting some correspondence below. Hopefully it stimulates some thoughts for everyone who reads it.
Mr Bungle said:
Our daughter, Jessi, is 14. She is, frankly, a square peg–we have raised her so on purpose. She is artistically expressive, a thoughtful and interesting person, an active scuba diver with her sights on becoming a Marine Biologist, and a pretty damn cool kid.
She identifies most with a quasi-punk ethic. She likes taking responsibility for the kind of image she presents.
She saved up for and bought a longish velvet coat, which she loves and wears a great deal of the time. I had clothing affectations myself as a kid: pretty much everyone goes through this.
However, the school identified it as a “red flag”. We got a letter home, concerned that Jessi might have “body image issues” and hides her body under the coat.
This is an amazing bit of bureaucratic euphemism, subtle in all but it’s capacity to immediately marginalize Jessi’s “behavior” into the most potentially negative context.
The communication is tainted with everything from allusions to “normality” to the hiding of abuse evidence.
And it’s not as if “body image issues” isn’t in the fucking job description for 14-year-old females?
Keep one thing in mind: the current schooling model is based on the model produced by the Prussians after they got their asses kicked by Napoleon.
They determined that they lost because the army was too undisciplined and wouldn’t follow orders. It was further presumed that this came as a function of “individuality,” which seemed to be strangely based in “long form thinking and introspection”.
Apparently, these are all bad things, if you want: – Good soldiers for the armies – Good workers for the mines – Good clerks for the government
And, that, by the way, is a direct quote from the presumed goals of the Prussian Model.
The Prussian Model was propagated across the US by Carnegie, on his “library donation” tour (more government control of access to information).
The Prussian Model has other features we ape: short classes interspersed with loud ringing bells. Pack politics as fear conditioning: learn how to fear failure! Don’t you dare be different! Don’t you dare act up! Keep with the pack!
Art lasts 45 minutes! It doesn’t matter if you think you’re done, you’re done for now! Go listen to some context-free and heavily propagandized American History!
Is it really any wonder we have such poor civic involvement these days? Is it any wonder that our best universities are continuing to grind down their standards (as if they ever really had any: damn expensive flacks)? Are we really surprised when young adults don’t vote?
Of course they don’t vote: they’re convinced they don’t have a voice. They’ve just spent since their preschool years learning that their internal agenda is wrong, that they must pursue the government school’s agenda, err, curriculum.
Excellent training for spending most of one’s adult life in a chair, in a cube, following someone else’s agenda for 10-12 hours a day for yuppie food stamps.
Ach: your points are so much more eloquent, by being both surreal and wacky: high score for plausibility! And keep at it: pound the typer, beat it. Take it down.
Wow. Thanks. Delighted to find a partner in crime. Its funny, I came here tonight because of an experience I had today (which I?ve had many times actually) that really knocked me out of kilter and that relates to this whole education thing ? more so just the general marshmellow-brain programming we receive from all corners of reality these days.
Yes, I?m hip to the Prussian history of our public education system. Pretty frightening business. Its amazing that the damn school system just rolls on and on and on with practically no one challenging its fundamental tenets e.g. people need to be dumber for their own good. But perhaps I speak in haste.
There HAS been, as of late, an unprecedented exodus out of the public schools. There are roughly 2 millions kids being homeschooled today ? 20 years ago there were like TWO, and I was one of them!! A great many of these kids were pulled out because of the Jesus thing (left libertarians like me hate admitting to this) but many were pulled out simply because its becoming increasingly obvious that these places are screwing our kids up 3 ways to hell and back and not even teaching them good grammar in the process.
Often many of the parents (and students) involved eventually end up learning about the whole Mann/Carnegie gig and get even MORE pissed than they were before they extracted their kids out of the local zombie factory. A little non-linear progression analysis indicates that, at the current growth rate of the home school movement, approximately half of all school aged children will be ?schooled? at home with their parents and their siblings (where they belong) in about 12 years. This could spell wholesale disaster for the status quo of the corporate/government nightmare we?re living in. Of course this whole phenomena could taper off tomorrow and we?ll never see more than the 2 million we have now, but I don?t think so. Its just raining too darn hard.
You?d find good company with a man named Gatto. He?s more or less the leading edge of the anti-public education revolution. Look him up on the Internet and check out his books if you feel the need for some real heavy weight comradery (sp) or just enjoy spooking yourself out (like I do) on how evil things really are.
Your daughter sounds terrific. She reminds me of my ex-girlfriends daughter ? sounds exactly like her. Is she still in public school? Have any alternative plans? I can help direct you to various resources should you decide to take the plunge and get her out of there. I?m all over the net on this sh*t ? have been for a long time. There?s plenty of smart people out there that can talk to you about this stuff, but you?ll be hard pressed to find someone that has as much raw hatred surrounding this issue as I do. I lose sleep over this crap, I?m not kidding. I don’t even have children.
I almost went into the whole psychology of the sub-humans that interpret your daughter?s velvet coat as a dangerous red flag, but then realized that this would be like looking at a turd with a microscope. (Besides, I need to conserve my energy for my next satirical piece which will be a thorough , top to bottom spoof on Zero Tolerance policies.) Just get your loved one away from those deranged idiots if you can. That?s all that really matters. Nature?s gonna take care of the rest of this for us, I think (with a little help from Gatto, public school enemy number 1). In the mean time, I love rantin? about it with ya. Go for it!. Pick a bone. Any bone. You da man.
So here’s my latest “issue”…
I’m going to stop doing daycare soon, and I got a part time job for the time being.? The problem is, Drew’s gotten used to having me at home all the time.? She’s having fits when I drop her at preschool 1 day a week, and she’s making Scott completely crazy.? I think she’s trying to convince me that she is definitely not benefiting from preschool and things should go back the way they were, but all it’s really doing is convincing me that she needs more socialization to prepare her for kindergarten in a year.? Can you imagine being home with your mommy all the time, then all of a sudden you’re forced to co-exist with THIRTY other 5-year-olds with only two adults around?? I think she needs to be a little more able to problem solve and resolve conflicts on her own before being thrown into
that.? So, even though it’s going to be rough in the short-term, I think she’ll benefit more from preschool in the long
Okay, now I’ve convinced myself.? Thoughts?
On the one hand, I agree with you. If she’s gonna live in the world, she
needs to be familiar with it. Also she shouldn’t be allowed to feel like
pitching a fit is the best way to solve a problem.
On the other hand, throwing a fit might be the best way for her to tell you
that she’s feeling dehumanized in an industrial childcare setting.
Pre-schools are designed to prepare kids for public school, which many agree
is a Bad Thing.
When I went to Amma the week before last, I rode up with four other people.
One was an older mom, another her 22-year-old home-schooled daughter,
another a woman who is considering home schooling for her teen, and the last
a home-schooled child of ten. The discussions about home schooling were
really interesting, particularly in the sense that allowing people to find
their own way of learning is a legitimate and human way of looking at things
that so many of us have forgotten.
Judy and I both found ourselves asking very public school questions like
“what exactly is your schedule like?” and “how many hours do you spend doing
A or B?” while the home-schooled girls found the questions to be very rigid
and compartmentalized. Speaking with people who are 22 and 10 about their
home schooling experience was really an eye-opener for me because of the
types of questions I found myself asking. I feel it’s quite possible that
these “problem solving” and “social” skills we’re all supposed to develop in
public school are actually nothing more than ‘the ability to shut up and put
up with intolerable conditions because we’re forced to.’ I can’t express how
different the thinking was between people who went to public school and the
people who had an option not to… it was profound in terms of how we all
approached a topic, even in random car-ride conversations.
I think we’ve all been told our whole lives that there are these “skills”
we’re supposed to develop but perhaps it’s all bullshit just to make us put
up with the public school machine. I know that I didn’t learn how to think
until I’d been out of high school for several *years*. And I’m speaking here
strictly about the intellectual level, and haven’t even begun to acknowledge
the subtler aspects of human existence: most of us had our hearts *stomped*
by the public school machine. They tell us that kids just scream to get
attention… and when did that become a bad thing? How long has it been a
problem that our kids scream to get attention?* What’s wrong with getting
attention? We’ve been brainwashed to think it’s aberrant.
[*I read recently in a baby book at Joy’s house that children who are picked
up when they cry for the first few months of life tend to be more stable than
the Western kids who are ignored more often for the sake of teaching them
individuality. Western kids cry more and longer than kids who are nurtured
more! Seems like they develop a sense of security when their parents nurture
them, so they don’t have to feel afraid when they’re a few months older!]
Drew might be finding the public environment to be harsh and non-nurturing.
Kids are pretty good at telling us how the world really is. She’s young
enough that she hasn’t learned not to feel her feelings. Maybe she really
hates the pre-school, maybe it’s too soul-numbing for her.
Or, she might just be being obnoxious. I can’t tell, but I bet you already
know and just haven’t uncovered it yet. Aren’t moms supposed to have radar
for that kind of thing? 😉
In this town, there are more private schools per capita than I’ve ever seen
anywhere else. Everybody’s a meditator and pride themselves on their refined
feeling levels. They can’t stand to send their kids to public school so they
open their own little schools. There’s even one in a house Brett and I used
to live in, a little independent pre-school. They have a very loose schedule
and do cool stuff like go to the library and the park. The group is about
six girls and from what I’ve heard it’s affordable. A friend of ours works
part-time in another little home-school environment where they teach all the
grades together and they use the home-school books in addition to their own
specialized curriculum that the students create themselves.
The woman I rode to Amma with said most of her kids (she has five) did some
home schooling and some public schooling, depending on their needs. None of
them had any problem passing the competencies, and her son actually went to
a public high school voluntarily when he discovered he wanted to learn more
science and needed use of their equipment. She felt that home schooling
encouraged her kids to think and process as complete people instead of
automatons. She even said it often takes *a year or more* for a kid to
decompress from public school and start to want learn on their own.
If you feel like Drew really means what she seems to have to say, and isn’t
just testing you, maybe you could check out your local home schooling groups
and see what’s around that might be a workable alternative to the public
I’m guessing that sending a kid to school is often an economic decision for
people. And I don’t know (if I had a kid) if we could afford to have me at
home all the time. But I do know I’d be looking for some kind of alternative
to public school if I had an even remotely sensitive or interesting child. I
think there are a lot of home schoolers out there who take other children in
(independent schools), and you’re in a pretty crunchy state so you might
find one nearby. Or you might consider starting your own, as it can’t be
that far a reach from what you’ve been doing with the day care action.
The Colorado group has a site at http://members.aol.com/Treonelain/. There’s
a ton of info on the web for home schoolers.
And here’s a quote I found (snatched from http://learninfreedom.org/,
actually) for you to ruminate upon:
“A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be
exactly like one another: and as the mould in which it casts them is that
which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a
monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing
generation in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a
despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the
body.” – John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.
I hope some of this helps. Sorry it’s so long. My goal was to provide you with some stuff to
think about, at least.
Lots of love,
Really good points about homeschooling vs public schools!? I forget to listen to the heart side of things sometimes; Colorado may be a crunchy state, but believe me, Fort Collins is pretty conservative.? I’ve been so overexposed to so-called “normal” people and so underexposed to “real” people for long enough that it just doesn’t occur to me to meditate on the problem and come up with a solution that feels right instead of just making intellectual sense.
Thanks for the “boot to the head”!!!